In 1999, with the deadline of a 30 day immigration-free stay in the USA looming, and only￡50 in her pocket, Mari Smith was hoping for a sign from the Universe. It came in the form of a cake..
Mari had arrived in San Diego on a borrowed, round-trip air ticket, to start a business in the USA instead of her home, Scotland. Time was ticking when a local baker contacted her. She had previously knocked on their door, having learnt the art from her father who himself was a baker. They asked if she could help them with a Valentine’s rush order, and that's exactly how this Scottish-Canadian, decided to stay and weave a magnificent journey to becoming the ‘Social Media Royalty’ she is today.
The Entrepreneurial Journey
Born in Ontario, Canada, Mari spent her childhood in a small rural Quaker community in British Columbia (Canada) and then lived in Scotland for two decades before moving to San Diego, California in 1999.
Having grown up with a moderately financed and fairly large family, Mari dropped out of school at the age of 1. With no formal education in hand, she was clear she wanted to do something on her own.
“All my life I’d been an employee. I had my 16th birthday at my first job.”
Following her dad’s entrepreneurial footsteps, who was a baker himself, she started her own business at the age of 30.
The Growth of Networking
By the early 2000s, Mari had found a strong foothold for her consultancy as she worked with multiple small and medium businesses. Her vision was to help create information-rich products, and then market them online.
The pivotal moment came in 2007 when she was introduced to Facebook. She admits that she was reluctant to use “ yet another social media”. Nonetheless she decided to give it a try and she recalls it being one of the most defining moments of her life. The features of the platform was nothing like she had expected or imagined before.
The Discovery of Possibilities
With Facebook, Mari became like a child with a new toy. She found novel ways to play around the platform, discovering the powerful medium that it had the potential to be. She could not contain her excitement over the fact that she could connect to people she admired in real time, and begin talking and interviewing them right away! In Facebook, she saw business opportunities like never before.
Over the course of time, Mari has continued to develop a huge appreciation for Facebook and the changes that it has brought about in giving marketers an equal chance at the attention they need. She praises it for educating consumers and putting user experience above everything else.
Overnight Success 10 Years in the Making
When Mari separated from her husband in 2009, she channeled her energy into learning, and moved from ‘just marketing online’, to Facebook Marketing.
Her blogs invited comments from followers, who were often inquisitive of her personal life. The decision to share details of her separation was one of the hardest she had ever taken. This was the time she realised that being social meant being human; she would never connect with her audiences if she hadn’t shared her story of separation. To her surprise, all she received was enormous support from her online community. The result? Her business boomed colossally and she earned herself a whopping half a million dollars in a week!
To this day Mari believes that transparency is a crucial trait to be imbibed while being present online.
The Facebook Diva
Known as the Queen of Facebook, Mari Smith is today considered one of World’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing. She trains and empowers brands to truly become social businesses, with measurable profits from integrating proven social media marketing strategies.
To this day, she is picky about choosing content for her posts, and does not like endorsing content for the sake of the sake of monetizing through ads. Content, really is the King!
She notes that while it is important to understand the business and power of Facebook Advertising, knowing when (and how) exactly to use it is the key.
Her One Tip for Becoming a Social Pro
“Create your own body of work. Really begin to get known for being a trusted, reliable source of great information. Be focused to go an inch wide and a mile deep, not the other way around.”