Interview: Chris Smith Talks Media

Chris Smith, founder of The Curaytor and host of the #Watercooler Podcast, is no stranger to social media, with more than 38,000 followers on Twitter and more than 40,000 on Facebook.

We decided to give him a shout and ask him for his thoughts on social media for today’s savvy real estate agent. In this exclusive interview with writer and content producer Denise K. James, he talks about everything from his love of Twitter to his favorite business books and why print is still awesome. Oh, and if you aren’t on social media? You’d better be in middle school (his words, not ours). #justsaying.

Listen to the interview here:

And read the interview between Chris and Denise below: 

Chris: I've been teaching this stuff since 2008 or 2009. So just the question [of whether to be on social media] at this point, to me, is like, "Wow, is that really still a question?" If someone is just getting started on social media in 2019, it should be because their parents just let them because they're 12.

Denise: Right.

Chris: That's the only reason. So, I understand that the question sometimes is asked, but man, if you're telling me I gotta convince someone that they should use it, they're already lost. They're absolutely screwed if someone on planet Earth still needs to be convinced that it matters, right now.

Denise: Right.

Chris: The whole world changed. It changed the government. It changed the election. It changed the way that we think of our fellow citizens. It changed the way the presidency is run.

Denise: Well, yeah.

Chris: I don't really think that anyone should have to convince anyone anymore. If somebody right now needs me to tell them that this stuff matters and that they should take it serious, I don't know that it's going to help for one more person to tell them that.

Denise: Right, no. And I totally get that. I guess my point would be, what about people who feel discouraged by the fact that it is a behemoth and it changes everything and, like you said, nobody cares whether they get on it or not? You know what I mean? It's like the opposite of egomania. You know?

Chris: Yeah. I would say people were intimidated by cars when they used to ride horses. And I would say that my dad was intimidated by things like cell phones. And things like paying bills on the internet. And he was wrong about all of that, so I'm pretty sure he's not going to be right about Facebook.

Denise: Right.

Chris: But I think we're just so far into this now.

Denise: Right.

Chris: This isn't about whether you're actually going to be a good Realtor or not. This is about whether or not you're going to see your grandkids grow up or not.

Denise: What do you mean by that statement?

Chris: Well, when you take pictures, do you text them to your family? Or do you post them on social media?

Denise: Well, I don't have a husband and kids. So, I put them on social media, for sure.

Chris: Yeah, well, I have a wife and kids, and I put them on social media, too.

Denise: Yeah.

Chris: I'm not texting them to grandpa.

Denise: Right, right. Because grandpa sees them on social media.

Chris: Amen.

Denise: OK.

Denise: Yeah, definitely. You said you teach some of the differences between Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and I didn't know if you wanted to say anything else about that. You said Twitter is where you learn and become a thought leader, and I thought that was really interesting.

Chris: Yes.

Denise: So, you would say Twitter is more intellectual than Facebook and Instagram?

Chris: Well, obviously that depends on who you follow. So we have to be really careful.

Denise: That's true.

Chris: Twitter is more for journalists. Twitter is more for bloggers. Twitter is more for politicians. Twitter is more for thought leaders and athletes and celebrities to be able to go direct to consumer. So, for me, you can't ... I definitely learn from Facebook groups, but you're not going to see a lot of articles on Insta.

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Denise: Right.

Chris: So, for me, at least for the way that I have built Twitter and they way I've taught people to use it, I'm just telling them you gotta set it up to learn. Twitter, if you build it the right way, it's the best newspaper in the world.

Denise: Yup.

Chris: I use it as a combination of news, media, journalists, bloggers, venture capitalists, thought leaders, top agents. My feed, and I put a lot of work into it, of course...

Denise: Yeah. And I always liked Twitter just because I'm a writer and I feel like I can just let my one-liners fly on Twitter in a way that they just kinda ... It's a good home for them. So, that's interesting. And then one thing that I did want to ask you about is where you said your advice would be to use the one for business that you find yourself using the most without being prodded. So, do you mean between Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, a business owner should spend the most time on whichever one comes most naturally to them? Which one they enjoy the most?

Chris: Yeah. You have to cross segment that with if their audience is there, too. But what I'm getting at is, you just said you like Twitter.

Denise: Right.

Chris: You just said you like it more. You use it for one-liners. You didn't take a class on it. You didn't go to a session at NAR where they told you it was going to help you become the best journalist. You just like it.

Denise: Right, that's right.

Chris: So, for me, that matters. Because half of the challenge is just logging in everyday, and being part of the ecosystem, and being a part of the conversation. So if you naturally don't find yourself logging into Linkedin every day, like I don't ... You know what I mean?

Denise: I actually love Linkedin, too.

Chris: That's what I'm saying. I don't use it. I hate it. I never log in. It's useless to me. 100% useless. So because of that, for me, why would I even spend any time coming up with a strategy for my business there? I don't even like using it.

Denise: Yeah. That makes sense.

Chris: But Instagram, I use Instagram all the time, whether business was involved or not. I just like it. I use it. That's a better medium for me. I use YouTube every day. I love YouTube. I use Facebook every day. I read emails every day. I love emails. You see what I'm saying?

Denise: Yup.

Chris: So if I'm going to turn the corner and say, "Maybe I should start doing this stuff. Maybe I should try to be a little more strategic. Maybe I could leverage some of these new platforms to help my business." My point is very simple. You're going to have the best success with the ones that you use the most. So, if you naturally use these things every day without being prodded, then if you do ads, or if you try to get business, you'll have way more success because you'll at least be on there every day.

Denise: Right. It's kind of like what people say about picking a career that you love.

Chris: Exactly. Love your job? You don't work. So if you love Twitter, it doesn't feel like work. I was doing a class the other day at a conference in Orlando, and there was a really nice lady from RPR. She was up before me. And she was great. She was very nice, and she was doing her class, and she was explaining how RPR reports work. And she was explaining them and explaining how to explain them, and explaining how to create them. Quite frankly, it was just boring as hell.

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Denise: Yeah, long.

Chris: It was just boring. So I was up after her, and I was doing a class about Instagram. And I was teaching people how to do stories and add stickers and polls and countdowns, and as I was on stage I just saw, and I said it, I kind of got a good laugh. I said, "Guys, I'm not asking you to do an RPR report, for God's sake."

Denise: Right.

Chris: I'm just asking you to use Instagram. This isn't work.

Denise: Right, it's fun. Exactly ... I posted a story today about the cold brew that I was drinking and I was like, "Look, everybody, I'm drinking this organic cold brew and it's really good. Or whatever. So, yeah. And then the last thing that you touched on was about how you don't suggest, necessarily, that a business owner use one of those softwares that posts for them. You think that they should actually put the blood, sweat, and tears into posting, and I'm sure you're one of those people that doesn't use the same content on Twitter, Insta, and Facebook. They all get their own thing? Would you say that?

Chris: Sometimes. Sometimes.

Denise: OK.

Chris: Sometimes, you create great stuff. You can post it anywhere you want.

Denise: Yeah.

Chris: You remember that video of Dwayne Wade? Did you see that recently, the Budweiser commercial?

Denise: Yeah, I think so.

Chris: Where these people whose family members had been murdered, they gave him their jersey, just like all the players gave the jersey?

Denise: Yup.

Chris: Do you think it really matters if that's on Twitter or YouTube?

Denise: No, yeah.

Chris: It's a good share.

Denise: I see your point. So, if it's good, then put it everywhere.

Chris: If it's good, you put it everywhere, but then, of course, there is native stuff, too. I'm not saying everything goes everywhere, but I think people overthink that. So if somebody thinks [inaudible] is the secret sauce, they've never actually played the game. That's for sure.

Denise: Yeah.

Chris: If somebody thinks that an app that schedules posts ... Most people can't even think of what to say right now. Are they going to really schedule 30 more for later this week? It's just a joke.

Denise: I completely agree. I had a boss, years ago, who was always like, "Oh, Denise, you need to schedule everything that you're going to say on these different social media platforms." And I just never liked doing it that way. I always liked to just do it in the moment because I'm a writer and ... Actually, I have something to say every two minutes, literally.

Chris: Exactly. Yeah. There's a time to post stuff. If you're a real business and you have real content, and you have a big team, and you're sharing stuff on every social network, and you want to get the timing right as far as when the most people are logged on and stuff, or you want to get the most out of ... If you tweet something right now, a month from now, you could tweet it again. So there's definitely some times where scheduling stuff makes sense, cross posting stuff makes sense, but not the way people hope or think about it. It's funny, because at this point, pretty much all the social networks actually have the ability to post stuff later anyway.

Denise: Yeah.

Chris: So you used to have to use an app, or whatever, to post it on Facebook later at night or something, but now you can pretty much Insta, Facebook, I'm not even sure about Twitter. I know you can schedule tweets with certain tools. But, I think there was a bigger need for that back in the day ... And also when people were first starting to use social media, I do think it was a little bit more of indication mindset. Something real estate agents understand.

Denise: Yup.

Chris: Put it in the email and have it go everything. And so I think that's how people tried to use social media at first. I did. I think a lot of people did. It was your Facebook page update, was your tweet, and was your Instagram post. And just as the social networks have matured, and as the people using them settled into best practices,

Denise: Well...

Chris: — or Sprout Social, probably those advanced posting tools, they're really built for enterprise or agency. Not really built for a Realtor.

Denise: Yeah, and it doesn't really negate the mental work. You still have to come up with original content, don't you? You can't just ... I don't know a lot about HootSuite or any of those, but you still have to do the intellectual work.

Chris: Yeah. Here's the way I teach it, and I'll wrap it up with this. This is the way I think about it. The C is the most important letter in this process, which is creating. So the thing is, you have a world full of people that like to consume content, pretending that all of a sudden, they like to create content. It's just not true. Some people are creative by nature.

Denise: That's an awesome point.

Chris: And some people are driven by attention by nature. I am.

Denise: Right.

Chris: I'm very creative and I love attention.

Denise: Right. And would you consider yourself a real, for lack of a better way to put it, a real intellectual, in your off time? Do you read?

Chris: No.

Denise: OK.

Chris: I read a buttload of stuff about marketing and sales, and business.

Denise: OK.

Chris: But I would say my co-founder, and my wife, and my son ... Those people come to mind immediately as more intellectual than me. I think I'm a little bit more blue collar.

Denise: Gotcha. OK. Fair enough.

Chris: So it was hard for me. I'm not the best writer of all time. I made a lot of mistakes. I've gotten better.

Denise: OK.

Chris: And the books that I love are way more like a textbook. So, Inbound Marketing from the Hub Spot Founders, that's one of my favorite books. Rework, from the guys that created Basecamp. That's one of my favorite books. There's one called The Method Method, which is how that company Method Soap got started. I love that book, which is very practical. So I guess I find myself gravitating toward the kind of stuff I write. And I guess the reason I feel comfortable being an author, even though I'm not an intellectual, is I'm teaching sales and marketing, and the only people that would consider sales and marketing intellectual are sales and marketing people.

Denise: That is a great point. Yeah. I agree with you, totally. Yeah. So, you're an intellectual in your industry?

Chris: Yeah. Listen, I get what's happening in the world, and in business, and with marketing and sales. I'm really ahead of most people on that.

Denise: Yeah, you're plugged in. Absolutely.

Denise: Do you still think that print is king, so to speak? I'm just curious. Do you still think that print is ... Even though we have Amazon and even though we have CreateSpace, and all that jazz ... Do you still think that print carries a certain clout to it? I'm just curious.

Chris: A print book?

Denise: Yes. Or print magazine.

Chris: Absolutely. Yeah, I think that print is better than ever.

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Denise: OK, OK.

Chris: I'm more proud of being on the cover of my hometown newspaper than I am of being in Inked.

Denise: Yeah.

Chris: The actual paper. And I would say having a physical book, and having a printed book, it's crazy. It's almost like what's old is new again.

Denise: Absolutely. Like record players.

Chris: Yeah. That's a good example, too. It's kind of fun to put on a record now.

Chris: All my numbers are Audible, so I think audio is actually the more interesting subtype of book, by far. My Audible sales and my Audible reviews, and the number of people that actually listen to the book on Audible and reach out to me, it's unbelievable. It's like crazy. I think I have about 1000 reviews on Audible and I have 250 on Amazon. And I tried to get the Amazon ones. I didn't even try to get the Audible ones. And when my book first came out, I sold a boatload of copies, and everybody said they loved it, but nobody read it. People don't read business books. They put out a study by Amazon, and it takes people 33 weeks to read a business book, on average, vs. about six days to read a fiction book.

Denise: Right, because it's not a page turner.

Chris: Yeah, it's not a page turner. And so, that's where I think audio is enormous for the business genre, so you can kind of listen to the book and then occasionally, you might want to pause it and take a note, or grab a copy, but for me, audio is just crazy interesting and I'm actually doing my second Audible book right now with Audible that's going to be an Audible original.

Denise: OK.

Chris: So, I'm all in on audio. And then as an author, you actually make money. But on Audible, you get 50% of the sale because there's no cost of shipping. There's no cost of printing. So, the royalties, in my opinion, are really cool through Audible. If you do self-publish a print copy, then of course, you can make money if you're smart about it. But $1.20 a book is not very exciting.

Denise: Right, right.

Chris: For the hard copy.

Denise: For sure.

Chris: Well, keep in touch. Thank you so much.

Denise: Absolutely. Thank you, Chris.

Chris: No problem. Bye.

Denise: Bye bye.

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