Off-Mic with Masterful Marketers: How Mari Smith Does Great Work

May 2, 2017

This is the fourth post in our “Off-Mic with Masterful Marketers” series. We sat down with some of the most inspiring, influential speakers from marketing events around the world to discuss productivity, making work meaningful, and managing teams to do great work. The previous post featured advice on managing a team to do great work, from TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden.

“With my own self-care top of the list, I find I have an incredible amount of energy to get a ton of important projects and tasks completed.” - Mari Smith

Where do you get the energy to do your best work? And how do you stay motivated through daily challenges, setbacks, and ever-advancing deadlines? These two questions are tricky for anyone, but especially for those in a fast-paced industry like marketing.

I’ve never met a marketer who complained about too much energy or too many hours in the day.

Our Work-Life Imbalance infographic is full of interesting statistics about how marketers find balance.

Self-care is an often-overlooked component of doing great work. If you’re tired, hungry, stressed, and over caffeinated, you’re likely working harder to produce the same work that your best self could easily handle.

When you take care of yourself first, you can reconnect with the genuine enthusiasm that drew you to marketing in the first place. Your work will be far more meaningful if you’re motivated by a love of what you do and a desire to help and connect with others.

If you’re struggling to keep your energy level and enthusiasm up, Mari Smith can help. Mari is a Facebook marketing expert, social media influencer, and keynote speaker with over 1.5 million followers across her social channels.

There’s a reason people join her audience: Mari runs her social media empire with limitless energy and infectious enthusiasm, generously sharing quality content and industry insight.

We asked Mari how she balances her global speaking schedule, social media presence, and running her consulting business.

What do you love most about marketing?

I love to enthusiastically share amazing products, services, brands, and businesses with others—to get others excited about something that might help them. In today's online, social media driven world, it's never been easier to market really well, IMHO!

(There's also a lot of people out there who need help!)​

You’ve done great work in your career, but really, what does “great work” mean today?

​To me, this is actually a "body of work"—attributable to a thought leader, writer, artist, creative. It's a physical or virtual "thing" you can point to with great pride and humility at the same time, and know that you put this creation together.

The body of work may evolve over time, but it consistently has a ripple effect and touches many lives far and wide. My friend Pamela Slim wrote a fabulous book on this very topic, called Body of Work, which I highly recommend.

With my own work, I'm forever amazed at the number of people who come up to me at events throughout the years and say they've been following me and my work for five, seven, or even 10 years, and that I'm their role model, that I helped them launch their entire career, build their own agency, write a book, or become a speaker. 

It's deeply inspiring and moving to hear it.

What are the biggest obstacles keeping marketers from doing their best work?

Getting caught up in the day-to-day "busywork." Drowning in email, not having systems, not having a team, not delegating properly, trying to do it all yourself.

It's so important to allocate your time to areas and projects that will yield the highest and best results for you. And delegate the rest, if at all possible. Start with small outsourced projects and build from there.

My good friend Larry Kim recently left his own company Wordstream to start an exciting new venture. I love what he said here:

"Because my focus will be on bringing a new product to market that will mean some changes for me. Less writing. Fewer Twitter updates. And I'll be reducing my number of conference speaking engagements. All of these things are luxuries when you have a fantastic team in place and a great product to sell."

Amen, Larry!

You’re known as the “Queen of Facebook.” What is one small thing marketers can do on Facebook every day that can make a big difference?

​Publish a compelling video on their business Page (or personal Timeline). It can be a short pre-recorded video (uploaded natively, not via a YouTube link, to get maximum reach). Or, a Facebook Live.

Short is fine—for Live streaming two to 10 minutes can work for starters. For recorded videos, from 30 seconds to three minutes or more. Add captions to the videos. Use the "Mari Method" to amplify reach further.

What is one piece of advice you have to help marketers build more meaningful relationships with their team (whether they work right next to each other or work half a world away)?

​Frequency of interaction is the key. Use a tool such as Yammer, Slack, Facebook Groups, or Facebook Workplace for all in-house communication (vs. relying on email).

Also, for virtual teams, have weekly video conference meetings using tools like Zoom, BlueJeans, or Facebook Messenger video group chat. With the on-camera interaction, this helps build deeper connections. Ideally, stick to the same day/time and keep meetings short (less than 30 minutes, if possible).

For in-person teams, consider "standing meetings" where nobody sits down to keep meetings short and efficient! Also, request that staff do not bring cell phones to meetings—ensure everyone is focused and connecting to one another.

How do you make the work of marketers around you more meaningful?

​I love to hand-curate excellent content covering social media marketing and business ​growth strategies, peppered with some inspirational and personal development topics.

My team and I are constantly looking for unique and genuine sources of this great content which I then take great pride and joy in sharing with my audiences on Twitter, Facebook, my email newsletter The Social Scoop, and my blog.

My "secret sauce" for the past decade is I always add my own commentary.

I don't ever publish OPC (other people's content) on Facebook or Twitter without also including a few words or sentences about why this particular article or resource is valuable. In fact, one of my gifts is taking a complex subject and breaking it down into a simplified version so that people instantly "get" it.

Everyone is so incredibly busy these days and time whooshes by fast; I like to help my audience save a few minutes (or hours!) by sharing the work of other marketers with a few key highlights and links to the full resource.

This also supports my fellow marketers and I've been told many times that people experience the "Mari bump" when I share their content!

In the work you do as a marketer and thought leader how do you prioritize your time and energy?

​This is a daily recalibration for me, to be frank, as each day tends to bring a different set of demands. Self-care is absolutely paramount to success. So, no matter what, I have to ensure I get proper sleep (ideal for me is eight hours!), and I always exercise first thing in the morning.

These two habits can be a real struggle when traveling and I have many hacks I take on the road, e.g. using favorite mobile apps (like BOD: Beachbody On Demand) for streaming workouts on the go in my hotel room, and traveling with my own Tempur-Pedic pillow!

With my own self-care top of the list, I find I have an incredible amount of energy to get a ton of important projects and tasks completed. And, I always want to bring my best self and highest energy to my talks.

I do have an international virtual team that supports me with everything from admin to graphic design to community management. Even so, many days, it seems there is always more to do than any of us can keep up with.

And when that happens, I have a good talk with myself, e.g. "If I skip this party tonight will it impact my brand?" "Will the world keep spinning if I decline this invitation so I can focus on writing this course outline?" "Is it a better use of my time to finish this proposal or go network?"

Can you share an example of where you were able to do your best work. And what made it successful?

​Every time I go on stage to deliver a keynote, workshop, or webinar, I have invested huge amounts of preparation, research, and planning into my session.

I do audience homework; I carefully craft my slide decks, ensuring all stats and facts are bang up to date as much as possible, and illustrate with relevant examples for each event.​ I also love to interject humor where appropriate; I love to make people laugh.

I actually feel that everything I ever put "out there" is my best work.

A most recent example would be my presentation on Facebook ROI at Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. My session was the highest attended with standing room only, and the feedback from the audience and fellow speakers and the Twitterverse was extremely positive.

And, turns out, I was the number-one most tweeted influencer at the entire #SMMW17 conference out of over 100 industry leading speakers and 3,000 attendees. I was humbled and honored.

And to top off an amazing event, IBM just named me one of seven women who are shaping digital marketing, alongside Alison J. Herzog, director of global social business strategy at Dell; Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube; Alex Hisaka, head of global content marketing at LinkedIn; and Ann Handley, head of content at MarketingProfs.

As my friend Ann Handley said, "Some lists are just lists... but wow, this is truly an honor." Indeed!

Bring Your Best Self to Work

Marketing is a profession in which we’re constantly challenged to evolve, adapt, and improve. We learn new skills. New channels to explore are always popping up. We continuously optimize campaigns for better results. It takes energy and enthusiasm to do your best work.

Start by taking care of yourself; make sure you’re rested, well fed, and in a positive mind space. When you feel like your best self, you will be far better equipped to find your job meaningful and approach it with enthusiasm.

Thanks to Mari for sharing her social media secrets with us. For our next Off-Mic with Masterful Marketers post, we’ll be interviewing BMC Software Head of Global Social Media Carlos Gil.

In addition to his work at BMC, Carlos publishes a dizzying amount of content on YouTube and Snapchat, and is a sought-after public speaker. In his interview, Carlos shares how innovation, collaboration, and “hustle” helps him do great work.

Subscribe to the Talking Work blog to check out Carlos’ post, and get daily work and productivity advice from our team and beyond.

See our post, "Project Management Video Blog: How To Avoid Work-Life Balance Problems," for tips on how you can improve self-care.

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