customers, Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Media

Profile Mistakes: aka Why People Don’t Follow You!


You want to be a “thought leader”?

Have people “follow” you?

Take this with a grain of salt, but I am really tired of looking through profiles that are ridiculous.  Profiles are your life now.  Read anyone of thousands great articles on how to optimize your professional profile, and please, please do not make these mistakes:

PICTURE:  Let’s start with the obvious. And this is a dual whammy for sure.  Using clipart images, or your logo, or a flower for your photo, well, are you that horrid looking that we wouldn’t want to know who the hell you are?  We are searching for information, not a life partner. Get a picture.

DESCRIPTION:   Your quirky, hip tagline is so “hip” that no one understands what you are saying.  Nike already has the best one, so write out something and then ask a Layman before posting.

CELEBRITY:  Ok, so you are a published author, or something else super cool, and you think we all know you…yeah, all 400 billion of us know your book! Duh, come down to earth and write just a few more words about yourself other than the title of a book we never read.

TITLE: Let me be clear here—it is not what you do that interests me super-cool dude and dudette—it why and how you do it that matters to readers.  (oh, look, another author…)

SELLING:  In profiles, whether it’s your twitter handle or a “title” promoting your book or website….a little foreplay would be nice.

ADJECTIVES:  “Award Winning”, “World Renowned”, “Expert”….How about “Totally Egotistical”?  Yeah, that works for me, next!

TMI:  Which means, Too Much Information.  2 Categories here: 1. Waaay Too Personal Stuff.  No, we don’t want to know your “ew” stuff. Or 2. Every single title you have crammed in that small space? Pick one.  If you can’t, we won’t either.

AWARD WINNER:  Thank you, for thanking us, for encouraging you, to do anything in your profile.  “You really like me!”  No. No, we don’t.

CROSS DRESSER:  And I don’t mean clothing here people.  I am talking about the folks who start out being all professional listing their titles and jobs, blogs, and books and then say, “…and eat English muffins.”  First off, TMI, and second, pick your lane.

“HAS BEEN”:  New trend—squeeze in the “now I do this…” then throw in “has been that.”  Resume in 120 characters is really tough.  We are impressed with your ability to squeeze and minimize. Who the heck are you today?  That is what we are looking for! (FYI: includes “former”)

NAME ONLY:  Got it.  You are so famous and recognizable that we must know who you are, who wouldn’t?  400 billion of us are just waiting to follow YOU.  And I know, it could be the total opposite– you are anxious or shy.  Well, one says buffoon and the other is just sad.  Get off the internet.

LACK OF CONFIDENCE:  You are the ones—who explain your title, why you chose that avatar over a photo….Seriously? Get a profile photo and write a description for heaven’s sake.  We will like you, someone will like you.  Trust me, have I told you yet there are 400 billion of us out here?

TITLE ENVY: When you make it so complicated with acronyms and “@” signs, even throw in a cute quotation tagline, well, you got it bad sister.  Title Envy.  Size doesn’t matter.  Passion does.

OFF TOPIC:  This might just be a case of website confusion.  “I love my dogs, am funny, eat sushi…” Do you think you are on We don’t want to date you.  We want to read content, relevant content and your love of dogs has nothing to do with motivational writing.

THE VISIONARY:  I am not saying that a vision for a better future is not appropriate for your profile description, but when you use “head-in-the-clouds speak” without telling us what you do, how do we really know you are “the one?”

KISS:  To the extreme of Keep It Simple Stupid.  “Hi, I make nice things and I blog.”  Ok.  Cool.  Right on.  When you come down off your cloud, would you mind writing a description of those things you make?  I didn’t get the memo.



  1. You and you alone.
  2. Your face please, not your left ear.
  3. Unless you drew it, not a comic character.
  4. Biting anything is just disgusting.
  5. Looking disinterested is not a way to endear the masses. Moody sociopaths maybe…
  6. Surprised? Hysterical? Exaggerated expressions work for drama students and escorts.  Be real for once.
  7. Casablanca revisited might be creative, but it doesn’t really work in a small, very small, low-resolution space. That black and white, distant glance with you sipping, no smoking, no…what is that you are doing?  Are you picking your nose?


So there you have it.  The Good, Bad and the Ugly.

Bottom line?  Be real. Be who you are and we will find you.  Maybe not all 400 billion of us, but enough to make your world happy.

Maria Bereket is a social media and branding strategist.  Find me here, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter @mbear88. Email me too:  I can help you change your profile!


Marketing, Social Media

60-Second World

hand reaching images streaming as internet concept
hand reaching images streaming as internet concept

What does it mean when everything is measured in 60 seconds?

For the youngest people in your office, it is an eye-rolling statement of fact, but for the rest of the workplace there is a love-hate relationship with reality.

For every “ding” and vibrating phone on the desk, there are chemicals being released in the brain that make us humans happy.  We love the sense of urgency of being “needed” or “alerted” to the latest news.  Being ‘first” to know is better than any drug in the marketplace but like any addiction, there is a need for more “dings”, faster and faster, to make us happy and happier.

And for the Luddites in the room, who are proud that they are not on Facebook and Twitter, I ask that you turn off your cell phones in the meeting because you are most likely the ones who have the ringers turned on and will answer by saying, “I can’t talk now, I am in a meeting!”  Yes, you too are an addict of the 60-second world.

Here are the latest stats:

Social Media in 60-Seconds:

  • Tumblr – 4.7 million posts (including reblogs)
  • Twitter – 433,000 tweets
  • Facebook – 293,000 statuses are updated
  • YouTube – over 5 million videos viewed
  • LinkedIn – 120 new users
  • Pinterest – 3,400 pins
  • Vine – 540 vines

What does that say about the workplace?

First of all, it is an amazing statement of fact about the quantity of information being shared today, instantly.  Mostly what it is saying is that it is time for everyone to embrace the reality that we need our information quickly, visually, and regularly.If your customers are updating their status 293,000 times in 60-seconds, then why wouldn’t we want our business to do the same?  Don’t we all have something relevant to say?

What are you waiting for?

It isn’t hard to set up a Facebook account that offers customers a view of your workplace culture and business expertise.  It isn’t hard to tweet out a few interesting articles you found on the latest trends in your industry.  Sharing information is how we live our lives today.  It is the wonderful 60-second way to becoming a thought leader in your industry.

So learn to share and yes, do it quickly.

Maria Bereket is a Social Media Stress Reliever! She builds Social Media Strategy on a Foundation of Solid Marketing and then manages the day-to-day information sharing that gets you started. She is also a Certified LinkedIn Profile Optimizer and Strategist for busy professionals who want to get ahead in this digital world. Design Bear Marketing is her Social Media & Design Company. 

Data Courtesy of:

Originally posted on LinkedIn

business, customers, Marketing, Social Media

How Do Buyers Find You?

The Information Highway

not found

“What is all the fuss about with social media?” the man asked during a workshop.  “I just don’t get it and I certainly wouldn’t pay for it!”

I had to take a deep, calming breath. Not because it was in the middle of my workshop, but because I want people to understand the power of what can be the game changer in their business.

I am an “early adopter” of Social Media, I admit it.  Not everyone jumps on board with new technology, but this technology has been around long enough, and I want, somehow to help this guy see the importance of something that wasn’t clear. I realize that despite its success and charms, social media marketing has not reached its tipping point when it comes to mainstream small and medium size businesses. It is dominated by million follower tweets by Ellen Degeneres and viral videos about grandma’s dancing. How could any intelligent professional think that this form of “marketing” was marketing at all?

But I ask you to take a moment and consider a few things….

Let’s think about your buyer.  That could be an investor, a donor, a volunteer, even a potential employee for your company. What gets them to make decisions to buy?

“Buyers” make decisions based on “information.”  They use to read newspapers and books, or even scroll through the Ye Olde Yellowpages. Today, however, they scroll through newsfeeds on their smartphones, jumping from one article to the next.  They watch (and share) news videos, links from tweets, Facebook posts, and alerts that “ding” all day long.  It is the information age, right?

So what happens when your “buyer” can’t find any information on you? You know, the information on their smartphones?  They never heard of your school, your growing non-profit, or your word-of-mouth investment company…how do you expect people to find your business on the information highway when you are sitting in the parking lot?

Do you have a Brand?

Well, a very brainy MIT professor gave a lecture last year and said that

“When people don’t have information about a product or service then they turn to the Brand to make their decision.”

Makes sense, right? That recognizable Logo and tagline that you have all over your stationary and business cards. But your press release was sent out to the local news and didn’t hit any of the big newsfeeds.  If your buyer can’t find information on your business on their smartphone, why would you think they would know your brand?  Sure, it’s a very cool logo on top of that annual report, but if only your existing customers are on that mailing list, how might new buyers become familiar with that brand?

Brainy MIT professor says that buyers will then go on their experience to make that decision. So let’s look at an example: A buyer is looking to donate some money, and they cannot find your awesome cause. So, they think, “Hey, my folks always gave money to the Bla-Bla-Bla Organization I will do that too.”  Done! Experience kicks in, and you are overlooked because you are invisible.

Same goes for the school up the street.  Why do you think parents choose big chain preschools, even when they suspect that it might not be the right choice for their kid?  Well, for one thing, they do not know you exist, or if they drive by you, how can they trust you without any information about you? It is all about trust says the Brainy MIT professor. Let me repeat that…

“It is all about trust,” says the Brainy MIT professor.

Think about this:   Posts on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest are not really what you are about,  but they do serve a purpose.  That “social-media imprint” that you are making every day with articles and quotes, pictures and stories, are reaching out and offering information to a world of buyers who want to find the right places to buy, enroll, invest and donate.  But if you are not participating in the process, then you might as well turn off the engine and close the shop because people today are hungry for information. And information equals trust.

In our society today, buyers do not make decisions about where to put their money without a glimpse into the culture and values of the businesses they support.

Information is powering business.

So go ahead, make the decision to get back on the highway, but let me remind you of this—there are semi’s and mini’s and motorcycles moving fast and faster out there!  So despite what my Heckler said at the workshop,  think about hiring someone who can ease you back onto the information highway.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because social media is free that it is easy too. It might just be the best investment yet.

Source: Brainy MIT Professor, Duncan Simester

Maria Bereket is a Social Media Stress Reliever! She loves marketing strategy, and social media, especially LinkedIn; and she helps business owners and professionals feel stress-free when setting up their social media profiles and marketing programs. @mbear88

business, Design, Marketing, Personal Brand

Is It Time To Change Lanes?

merging-800x398Have you looked at your website lately?  How about that Logo?

Is it Time To Rebrand Yourself?

Ok, so things are going well for you and your business.  Well maybe they could be better, right?  A few more sales, a few more people enrolling in your program?  Am I right?  Isn’t it time you stopped blaming the economy for the dip?  The economy is fine, face it—it’s your brand, and the 2000’s want it back.

So let’s get down the bottom line:

#1 “People Don’t’ Buy What You Do, They Buy Why You Do It” (Simon Sinek)

Stop rolling your eyes.  This is actually a thing.  It is called values.  People want to buy products and services from customers and people that share their values.  I know you value something, or you wouldn’t be in business.  Take some time and think about this one, because you need to get this right.  It is the foundation for your  future.

  • What is your mission statement?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Who are you trying to help?
  • What problems are you solving?
  • Are your customers happy? What makes them happy?  What makes you happy?

This is what defines businesses now.  Think Apple vs. Microsoft.  One makes computer things, and the other makes us feel happy.  Apple knows its passion. It knows its mission.  It knows that people are buying “why they do what they do,” and not “what they do.”

#2 Design Matters

We live in a very sophisticated marketplace.  A world where design highjacked an entire cell phone market from a strong marketplace leader and now dictates what we buy.  People know what “fonts” are, what colors mean, how visuals evoke our emotions.  We live in a world where design matters.

So why is your website still full of text?  Your business card in times new roman and doesn’t have your LinkedIn profile URL?

Take a look at the message you are giving us when we see your “brand” represented.  Is your logo readable and legible?  Can we find your contact button easily?  Can we read your information from our smartphones?  Have you even looked at your website lately?

And in regards to design, does this image you are using, does it portray the core values that you have grown into since you started?  A few simple design corrections can change everything, and I mean everything!

#3 Which Lane Are You Driving in?

What I mean by this, is that when you started out, last year, ten years ago, whenever that was, did you and your business change?  Are you stronger in one area, and not even doing another?  Are your strengths and skills capturing a completely different demographic now than when you started?

Well, you are driving in a new lane, so own it.  Turn off your blinker and get in the lane, it’s yours for the taking. Let go of the things that are not part of your identity anymore, and embrace the ones that empower your mission and values of today.  Keep the old stuff on paragraph three of the “About Us” page and tell us how far you have come.

This lane is your vision for the future.  It is the intention for the growth of your business in the years ahead, and it fortifies the direction of your brand.  So own it.  Show it.  Get a new haircut, new style, new colors, and fix your outdated graphics to reflect this new, empowered you.

#4 Figure Out Who Is Listening To You

Few businesses can survive exactly the same year after year.  Customers grow up and move on, people change, music changes, fashion changes: so why isn’t your business changing?

Even accountants have to rebrand themselves.  Why?  Because clients die off, grow up and move on, and the ones coming up from behind are younger, smarter, savvier.  And guess what?  They also use mobile –can we read your the stuff on your website from our mobile phones?  Have you checked?

You need to figure out who needs you and then discover who is really listening to you.  You might be surprised that your business is coming from a completely different demographic than you originally started with.  Get to know them.  What do they like? What do they read?  How do they get their information?  Then figure out how to give them what they want—not what you want, what you use to do, what is easier for you.

When your sales are so-so, enrollments way off, or phones not ringing, it is time to look at the brand image you are presenting to the world. If you are outdated, then it is probably outdated.  Get a refresh.  Go on, pamper yourself.  Put a little money into a new look and feel for what you know is an awesome product or service.  It is no different than going out and getting a new haircut, new suit, or even hitting the gym to lose a few extra pounds.  Your brand is a living, breathing thing.

And for those of you who think that spending money on social media is just crazy?  Well, you are probably the ones that need the new branding most because people are not using the yellow pages anymore, and that word of mouth thingy you keep telling everyone?  Well, that is what Twitter is for……

Maria Bereket is a Social Media Stress Reliever! She loves marketing strategy, and social media, especially LinkedIn; and she helps business owners and professionals feel stress-free when setting up their social media profiles and marketing programs. Design Bear Marketing is her Social Media & Design Company. @mbear88 .

originally posted on