Meet the MD: Rene Looper of Tuminds Social Media

Rene Looper, founder of Tuminds Social Media, was a very early adopter of technology and has definitely used this to his advantage in his current enterprise. But he was entrepreneurial even before that, having set up a hotel in the 90s. He talks to us about his life as a leader, his experiences in his native Holland and what social media means to him.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

I’m the founder and Managing Director of Tuminds Social Media Ltd. We specialise in helping companies see the business potential of social media. Most of my time is taken up giving talks, presentations and masterclasses on social media for some of Scotland’s biggest companies and public organisations.

I also occasionally work abroad. I was in Malta recently giving a talk to local businesses about the wonders of Twitter!


What is it the company does?

Our company has been training marketing professionals on the effective use of social media since 2006. We specialist in social media time management, strategy, policy and support. Basically we advise businesses on how to make better use of social media marketing, how to develop engaging content, how to share it via the various platforms and measure success.


What do you believe makesa great leader?

A great leader is someone who enjoys being around enthusiastic people, someone who inspirers others by leading by example and is honest and authentic in what they do. Leadership is a skill you cannot fake, it comes naturally. This is also of great importance in the social media industry. Twitter accounts that are authentic and inspiring get the most engagement and interaction.


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

Social media is a rapidly changing industry, so you are always having to invest time and money into new products and services. New social media tools are launched almost every day, which can help businesses manage, monitor and measure their digital presence and reputation more efficiently, but require time to understand and utilise effectively.

It’s crucial in every industry to keep on top of things but in the social media industry, opportunities come and go quickly and it is always a challenge to keep ahead of the curve. However, this is the kind of a challenge we relish at Tuminds!


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

A variety of things. Walking, soaking in the bath for a few hours, going out for a meal and a drink with my wife. But whatever I do, the mobile is always within reach! I’ve missed a few great opportunities by not being “online” at the right moment, so you can never really switch off in this game.


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I obviously never had it in my mind to become a social media trainer and coach, pre-social media era. I always wanted to run my own business though. When I was 19 I signed up for the school of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam, Holland which gave me the confidence to start thinking about setting up my own business. I worked in the retail sector for 14 years which was a great learning experience and then set up my own hotel business in 1999. I founded Tuminds in 2006 and have never looked back.


Any pet hates in the workplace?

I don’t have any pet hates in the office really. If something starts to irritate me or any team member we tend to make a joke about it which usually helps. A bit of humour goes a long way in making the working environment a good place to be!


Where do you see the company in five years time?

In five yearsI see Tuminds as one of Scotland’s leading ‘one stop shops’ for Digital Training, with a strong team that can deliver quality digital training sessions face to face and online. Online learning provides a great opportunity for social media trainers such as ourselves.  

At the moment we are travelling all over Scotland and the UK which has obvious time and cost implications. There is nothing that can replace face to face contact, however online training does enable professionals to learn any time they want, where they want it, making social media learning more accessible for some businesses. It also means I can be anywhere to!  


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Just go for it. There will be good and bad times but don’t let that stop you. Learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes. At some point you will be celebrating quite a bit!


Where did you start your career?

I started my career in Holland working as an Assistant Manager in a major department store in Amsterdam. We had 50 staff members, mainly female, which was an interesting experience having just come fresh from school.  The retail sector proved to be a great learning experience for me – it is a place that teaches you how to effectively communicate with customers, colleagues and management, which is a skill for life.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far.

1983 – 1985 College for Entrepreneurs, Amsterdam

1985 – 1999 Manager of HEMA department stores in Holland. Responsible for sales and recruitment.

1999 – 2006 founded my first business! Emigrated from Holland to Forres, near Inverness and founded the Four Star Cluny Bank Hotel.

2006- present my second venture - Tuminds Social Media