When introducing Mari Smith, you need to take a big breath. She’s the “Queen of Facebook,” Forbes’ Top Social Media Power In uencer (currently #4 of 100), one of the world’s undisputed Facebook marketing experts, and a regular contributor to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Fortune, Chicago Tribune, and Success Magazine.
Mari is not only super smart - she’s an extremely generous thought leader. We sat down with her for a master class in achieving your goals, in which she also shared new publishing secrets for Facebook and the exact tactics she uses every day to build her global brand.
THE ONE THING THAT LED TO MARI'S SUCCESS
Ten years ago, Mari first discovered Facebook. She saw the potential of the platform for business, and every day since, she has been publishing content and teaching people how to use Facebook.
This strategic focus has never shifted. “Every year, I choose a one-word theme that kind of governs my personal and business life. I’ve done that for like nine or ten years. When I first decided to build my business as a Facebook marketing expert, I decided my word for that year would be FOCUS. And the acronym for FOCUS is: follow one course until successful. This has made all the difference and has been something I’ve followed and believed in.”
Mari has been talking and writing about Facebook for over a decade. We asked if she was ever tempted to expand to channels like Snapchat. “My passion has never wavered for Facebook. There’s still a lot to teach and new ways for marketers to use Facebook to reach customers. My passion hasn’t gone away.”
“Go broader at first. For example, a Facebook Live strategist is putting the cart before the horse. What does Facebook Live get businesses? Why do they need it? I think it would be better to position as a business development specialist and Facebook Live is one of the vehicles that you use to find new customers.”
HOW TO FIND YOUR FOCUS
“People want to hire a specialist,” says Mari. “I never went to college. I started as an unknown consultant. But what’s enabled me to build a global following, write best-selling books, and speak around the world is staying focused.”
Mari has built her global business by being known as the go-to expert for all things Facebook marketing. She was hired by Facebook to run live training events for small businesses across the United States. She built custom social marketing training programs for the global tness brand Beachbody. Forbes called her “the preeminent Facebook expert,” noting “Even Facebook asks for her help.”
According to Mari, the key to building authority online is to go an inch wide and a mile deep. “This goes for bigger companies too,” she says. “You’ve got to know your lane and to not get too diversified. If I look at your bio—your Twitter bio in particular, because it’s short—I can tell if you’re a specialist or if you’re spread thin and trying to do too many things,”
Whether buying a piece of electronic equipment or hiring a new marketing agency, people want to buy from specialists. But Mari believes that people should be careful about going too niche in their services or products, as this restricts the size of the market.
“I just kind of smile behind the scenes, but everybody is now a Facebook Live strategist,” explains Mari. “And no offense, right, because there’s a place for everybody. I’m not being judgemental but I swear I see people that have 20 fans on their page and they’re getting maybe 100 views on their videos, and they’re Facebook Live strategists for hire. I’m sorry, but that’s just too far.”
We asked Mari what her 80/20 principle for content creation was. If she only had an hour a week to dedicate to content, what would she focus on? “For me, it would be Facebook Live or creating a video. I might spend an hour walking through a new trend or offering my perspective on a new Facebook feature. This plays to my strengths and I know it works for my brand.”
HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE YOUR CONTENT
Social channels are crowded with helpful videos and blog posts. For Mari, creating helpful content or being a “thought leader” isn’t enough. You need to differentiate your content.
Mari sees herself as a filter for her audience. She does the work of understanding complex developments (such as Facebook’s algorithmic shifts) or listening to Facebook earnings calls to predict future changes to the platform—and translates that into simple and actionable steps for her audience.
“I try to make it always have a bit of me. That’s where the differentiation comes in. People need guidance. Having a perspective on things and a strong voice—this is much more effective than researching information and turning it into an article. I never publish anything on my page that doesn’t have some kind of comment, or opinion, or angle.”
TIME BLOCKING AND PRACTISING SELF-CARE
As Mari has a relentless travel and client schedule, time blocking is key to her success.
“My team knows that they shouldn’t book me for anything in the morning. I also like to keep Friday free for focused working sessions. My Google calendar tracks all this and I guard against being too reactive.”
Mari prebooks time in her calendar to review major events such as Facebook’s yearly developer conference or to watch live earning calls from Facebook. This is when she gathers insights for new material to talk about and build into conference presentations.
But while Mari stays strict with her schedule, she also warns against doing too much. “Pay attention to your body. It will tell you when you’re doing too much. Take an afternoon off. Don’t ignore these signals. You’ll do more in the long run if you practice self-care and have fun along the way.”
HOW TO GROW YOUR FOLLOWERS - IN ONE HOUR A WEEK
“Find your unicorn content,” says Mari. “This is the content that you’ve discovered really works. A big mistake is that people have a hit. But then they move on to the next idea. Once you find a piece of unicorn content, you need to put it to work. Update it. Refresh it. Do a yearly revision. Do a video version.”
According to Mari, the concept of unicorn content was introduced by Larry Kim, the founder of paid search marketing platform Wordstream. This content isn’t visible at first. It might take you twenty blog posts to find it.
But once you do, you’ve discovered something that will resonate again and again with audiences.
“It’s about knowing your strengths as well,” says Mari. “I’ve written books. And I write blog posts. But what I really like and what really works for my brand is presenting— speaking at conferences, creating videos, and doing live events.”
MARI'S PERSONAL PUBLISHING STRATEGY
Mari and her team publish at least 70 pieces of social content per week. Here’s her content mix and publishing schedule. You can use Hootsuite to schedule all of these posts in one batch.
MARI'S CONTENT MIX STRATEGY
What type of content works on different social networks? Mari has mastered and experimented with topics for each network. We asked her to share these publishing secrets with you. Here are the exact content topics she publishes on each network.
MARI'S TOPIC UNIVERSE
The key to Mari’s success is sustained and strategic focus. She moves with audience demand for new trends and techniques—but she sticks relentlessly to the topics that help her audience succeed on Facebook.
MARI'S QUICK WIN
“I’m a ten-year overnight success. There’s no single shortcut to reach your goals. Just remember the acronym of FOCUS: follow one course until successful. This has made all the difference and has been something I’ve followed and believed in.”
LET'S DISCUSS A LITTLE
The keyword mentioned by the author many times is obviously "Focus". Whatever we do we better be focus. Another big tip we should look at building authority online is "an inch wide and a mile deep". That says a lot on staying focus, should not be drifted with other topics when it comes to content marketing. Find your niche, your kinda topic, keep the style, repeat in different format (textual, videos) and reinforce. Do let me know your thoughts as well.