Drew Gneiser has been a friend of The Social Lights for quite a while, so we were thrilled to welcome him to our team as Senior Community Manager this November! Read on to learn about what makes Drew tick.
Q: Tell us about yourself (in 3 sentences or less)!
A: Hello! I’m Drew. I like learning, reading, and meeting new people in new places.
Q: What are your favorite brands to follow on social (and why)?
A: Tacos 4 Life is a restaurant with 3 locations in Arkansas. A portion of every taco sold helps feed a child in poverty. Their social is witty, personal, and just look at those taco pictures.
Kid President is known for a couple big viral videos, but there’s more here to love. The KP team regularly releases videos and posts pictures driving at a message of treating people right and making the world more awesome. Brad (the guy who writes and produces KP) is brilliant with words.
Honest Tea does a great job engaging their audience and running campaigns worth talking about.
Q: Why did you choose social as your career path?
A: I didn’t consciously pursue a career in social media at first. In college, I had a radio show for new music. Our broadcast strength was very weak, but I realized I could promote our internet stream to reach further than just our campus. I began using early social media – message boards, Facebook groups, and even MySpace pages – to target fans of the music I was playing. It worked well. I gained listeners from around the country, crashed our server, and once was threatened by Sony Records with a lawsuit. (I received an advanced copy of a new album on the label and had their permission to play it. Turns out they had second thoughts once they saw the attention the radio show was attracting.)
After college, I did lots of social media work with brands, bands, individuals, and nonprofits. For me, it’s never really been about the social media platforms themselves. I’m more interested in connecting like-minded people and telling stories about a product, cause, or service they love. Social media is an amazing tool for this.
Q: Where do you find creative inspiration?
A: Since creativity is usually about connecting previously unrelated ideas, I like to get inspiration from a variety of places. My list includes: Seth Godin, Calvin and Hobbes, Kid President, Kurt Vonnegut books, time travel movies, live and recorded music, and of course, CreativeMornings, which is a free monthly event I help organize. I also love getting coffee and dreaming with friends and strangers.
Q: How did you get involved with CreativeMornings? What is your current role?
A: In early 2014, I was invited by a friend to attend a CreativeMornings/Minneapolis event, but couldn’t go. The friend was volunteering with the team. The next month she emailed me when their speaker fell through – would I consider filling the spot? The previous month’s speaker was Brother Ali, the hip-hop artist from Minneapolis (no pressure). I agreed and gave a talk on our responsibility and joy in sharing all the things we’ve learned. Soon after my talk I was roped into doing social media with the group. Today, my role includes creating connections in Minneapolis – St Paul, helping the team secure speakers and venues, and running social media at events.
Q: How does your team choose speakers each month?
A: We believe everyone is creative and has something to share. This means a variety of speakers from different disciplines (not just designers, but entrepreneurs, musicians, CEOs, event producers, and world-champion log rollers). When planning our events, there are several factors we consider when picking the speaker. A different chapter of CreativeMornings – we have 130 chapters worldwide – picks a global theme each month (examples: Work, Time, Ink). We look for someone who matches the theme. Another factor is variety. We try to vary gender, race, age, and how well-known the speaker is in our community. It’s not a perfect science, but we do our best to highlight everything that makes MSP awesome.
Q: What’s next for CreativeMornings?
A: We’ve got some cool things in the works for 2016. We’ll be trying some new venues. We’re excited to be working with Mia (Minneapolis Institute of Art) again for several events. We want to continue providing an amazing free event that inspires creativity and feels like a big hug. To find out what we’re up to, sign up for speaker announcements here.