Alejandro Reyes was in his element. Dressed in a black hoodie with his signature spiked pompadour, Reyes was glad handing, chatting and welcoming guests at his Sacramento influencer gathering. The diverse crowd that shuffled into Society Church, former home of the B Street Theater, to hear Reyes speak about building a brand for yourself and your business were glad to see him back in town.
About a decade ago, Reyes became the biggest social media influencer in Sacramento. A lot of people like to toss around that title today. You see it on their LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook profiles. Social Media Expert. Communications Specialist. Brand Manager. Everyone claims to know what they're doing but Reyes is truly the expert. Sacramento Magazine called him one of 15 people to watch and called him a "social media guru."
When Twitter and Facebook arrived on the scene, we were all learning together in this brand new world of social media. Alejandro got the idea to bring people together on the journey. He created the Tweetup, a monthly networking event that brought together people of all different businesses and industries with the one common thread of being on Twitter together. I looked forward to it each month.
Alejandro was the ringleader and reason for its success. Each month the Tweetup would be held at different Sacramento restaurants (although we had a fun Christmas gathering cruising the Sacramento River on the Hornblower.) Not only did I get to check out different restaurants, but I met people from PR, sports, news, business, the entertainment industry, etc. I never would have met. I made friends, connections and sources there that I maintain to this day. That's what Alejandro did well. It was not just about building his brand, which he did, but it was just as important to him to connect people. That was part of his key message at the influencer event. He wanted the people there to be successful at what they did. He urged them to be authentic and be personal. Don't be afraid to be truthful in their postings.
"The problem with social media is that people are so freakin' fake....so they become fake in real life," Alejandro said.
He now lives in Seattle with his wife, Sarah, a nurse, and their two adorable daughters. Their family has a successful You Tube channel with more than 35,000 subscribers that has partnered with such big businesses as Target and Kohl's. Reyes is co-founder and CEO of Digital Napkin. He worked for a startup and took them from a $10 million dollar company to $100 million in two years through his digital strategy.
Paul Hosley, PIO West Sacramento; Reyes; Judy Farah
During his presentation, Reyes strongly recommended using video to tell your story and had some great tips. Introduce yourself and your topic within the first eight seconds! Share some personal stories. Be authentic. He became passionate when he talked about a survey that shows 90 percent of people are unhappy in their jobs. He urged the audience to pursue their passions, saying we all have God-given talents most of us have yet to use.
"Your gift is not for you. It's to serve other people," Alejandro said. "Now is the time to go out there and do that thing you love."