Finding the courage to embrace change and take chances is the only way to succeed. We’ve asked some of our favorite industry power players and business innovators to share stories of how #MakingChange worked for them, as it relates to the ’10 Rules to Future-Proof yourself, Fearlessly Innovate, and Succeed Despite Uncertainty,’ rolling out one new rule each week.
Rule #1 Be Courageous with Mari Smith – Social Media Thought Leader, Premier Facebook Marketing Expert
Question: How did you come to be to be a social media expert? What qualified you?
Mari Smith: I am very much self-taught and I’ve always been tech savvy. I’ve always had a strong technical aptitude but I’m also very much an extrovert and a people person. Social media landed in my lap when I joined Facebook in 2007 and I fell in love with the platform. Prior to that, I’ve pretty much been an employee and then I got bitten by the entrepreneur bug and started email lists called “Parties and Events in San Diego.” People would sign up to find out the latest events. My email lists kept evolving from the mid-90s. I could never really get into MySpace. When I pulled up the Facebook site, I figured out it was such a great networking tool and I’m chit chatting with authors whose books I have on my shelves. Because I was so passionate about Facebook and because I understood it, the etiquette of it, people started asking me to teach them how to really use the site. The following grew from there.
Q: How much is failure a part of your success? I’m assuming it wasn’t an overnight success?
MS: It wasn’t. It was ten years in the making. I’ve had a few missteps myself along the way. It’s very much trial and error. At the same time, I have a reputation for being transparent and real. People relate to the way I put things. You can always learn from your mistakes and do something different next time.
Q: It seems like you come from an unexpected background – how did you get here?
MS: I don’t have a college degree myself. I left school at 16 and went straight into the work force. I could not wait to leave school and earn my own money. My dad was a single parent. He raised five girls by himself and I was the second oldest. Money was tight. I was the typical frugal Scot. I believe these emotionally intelligent skills can be taught. It’s great to have the technical skills but it can’t get to the deep, human connections. I’ve been saying for years that there’s no amount of sophisticated technology that will ever take the place of live, in person connecting. When you look in the person, you feel their energy. The next best thing is live video. The education element should not be too far removed from the human element. Let’s say you read a tweet that’s negative. You need to read between the lines and think maybe they just had a really bad day. Offer a kind word. It can go a long way.
Q: If I want to create value for others, what are some of the things I should keep in mind?
MS: The number one way to create value on social networks is to become known as a go-to source for whatever area of expertise. You can become a master curator. This is something I have been doing for years. The way to do that is to share content without worrying about competition. We are particular about what content we share so that it’s quality. There are terrific free tools to use to find quality content.
Q: Why do you not believe in competition? What does that mean?
MS: In Corporate America it is more challenging to adopt that kind of attitude but you can stand out, innovate, be the first to market, etc. Virgin Airlines comes to mind for not having competition. You have to create legions of devoted fans. You must innovate and provide service. For individuals, you must be you. Nobody can be you. You should own who you are and know your strengths.
Q: Do you think the inner drive is innate in everybody?
MS: I think it can be brought to life. I believe every human on the planet has something in their mind’s eye that they wish they could do. There was a lady at a gala I went to who came from an impoverished country and got all her degrees in America and travels the world to educate people. I think most people have that inner drive educated out of them, whether it’s the education system or family. Surround yourself with people who are supportive.
Share your stories of how Being Courageous and #MakingChange in your life or career have helped you succeed. Post to your socials with the hashtag #MakingChange and find your stories on makechangeworkforyou.com/blog.