Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Social Media

Your Digital Footprint: Are Your Potential Customers Finding You? Edit article

the-digital-footprintBasic digital marketing strategy begins with a review of your social media/digital footprint.

The confidence that people and businesses have when asked about this process is very alarming to me. Why? Because in 2017 most of us should be aware that no matter how much you post or where you post–your life and business are no longer private! Everything, and I mean just about everything, can be found by a potential customer looking for your products or services. And that should be a good thing.

With all the information that is “out there” in the digital world, there is incredible potential for you and your business when your information is branded and threaded together.  Then, the more information you share with consumers, the more your expertise rises. It’s called Thought Leadership and anyone with a specialty has the potential to attract new customers by creating a digital strategy of thought leadership. And the benefits? Inbound Marketing Leads.

Attention Small Businesses

I know you are all posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. But did you know that “posting” needs to strategic too? What is it your customers want to hear? Buy me or Teach me?

Ask yourself how you make your purchasing decisions. Do you follow and like every “offer” being made on your newsfeeds? Or do you research and find information, reviews, and articles to help you decide where to spend your money? That’s what I thought.

By the time your prospects actually reach out to you–by phone or email–they have made 80% of the decision to buy from you already.

So what information are you offering that is supplying that 80%?

Steps for Small Business

  1. Update and Brand all your social profiles.
  2. Figure out who your customers really are and then where they are on social. Then be there, not everywhere.
  3. Review, revise and get your information strategy together. Posts, blogs, articles and materials all have their purpose in social media. Is what you are posting a bunch of “fluff” and “sales”? Then you will not get inbound leads. But, if you are out there, being a thought leader…well, wouldn’t it be nice to actually have an inbound strategy in place that is working? Thought so.

Attention Professionals

It is amazing to me how few professionals utilize blogging and social posts to grow and advance in their careers. The days of “updating” resumes to get ahead are long gone! This is the digital/information age and if you cannot be found where we are looking, then no one will find you!

Steps for Professionals

  1. Update and Optimize your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Brand and thread all of your social media profiles together.
  3. Blog and offer information that is searchable and will offer you an inbound stream of leads and contacts.

Branding and Thought Leadership are not just trendy words that marketing professionals use. They are the new reality of marketing. Take the Digital Footprint Test for free (from me) and see where you could (and must) improve. It might just be worth 25% more leads or more sales that are inbound to you!

Maria Bereket is a Digital Media Marketing Consultant and Coach, LinkedIn Strategist, and Social Media Trainer. Her work focuses on bridging the gap of the digital divide by teaching people how to use social media to grow their business through social media thought leadership. She is an innovator and creative task master, so don’t contact her if you are not looking for growth and change. Teaching people to embrace technology and learn how to communicate in a digital world is her super-power. Connect @mbear88 or email her at if you are looking for an INBOUND MARKETING STRATEGY that works!

Originally posted on LinkedIn

business, customers, Marketing, Social Media

Are Millennials Aliens From Another Planet?


I spent the weekend conducting a workshop for an aging group of small business owners. We were talking about the survival of the small town, the small business owner, in a world of  “me generation” customers who live online without ever lifting their nose from their phones.

I shared all the incredible facts about this amazing generation called Millennials. There was hesitation, of course. But insight is a wonderful thing. They learned what these “kids” are doing as they tap-tap on their screens and keyboard. They learned more about the world that we gave them, and what their observations about us have changed their view of work and life.

We ended the weekend with a question.  “What was that one thing that got them into the business over 20, 30 years ago?” The answers all sounded different at first but were in fact the same. We discovered that they each one of them was driven then and now, by a passion to solve the problems.

“When someone comes in with a problem, it just makes me so happy to figure out the solution and see them walk out the door smiling and carefree”

That is your passion, I told them. That is the wisdom that you must impart via social media–not sales, or product offerings–passion for problem-solving.

But what about those kids? Those Millennials and their Ipods? How can we compete with Tweets and posts? And what about all those tattoos?

Why is it that as we age, we forget our own drive for independence? We forget the crazy haircuts we had that made our fathers lecture us. We forget the long dangling earrings that our mothers swore would attract the wrong type of guy? We forget that we once wanted to do something worthwhile, in a world that seemed out of control?

This group of “young people” who make up the children and grandchildren of these 50+ business owners are driving change for all of us to embrace. Their observations of our work lives contain all the frustration that their parents lived during their lifetime:

  • Working more hours and getting paid less
  • Top level executives earning millions and millions
  • There were no bonuses, no training, no incentives
  • Creativity? Not a line item anymore
  • And how many parents were laid off, more than once in the last ten years as an expendable expense to improve the budget?
  • Banks: wasn’t it the banks that caused the crash, took houses, and drained any passion from our lives?

This is the world that they observed. So Millennials want to create a future for themselves that is truly independent. They don’t want to put flowers in guns, they want to get rid of the guns and be with their families. They want to define their careers by a passionate purpose. They want meaningful work that will drive them to change, not the world around them.

So here I was, in a room of once passionate entrepreneurs who had to face their ultimate demise or embrace this new world.They were faced with a generation of people who are attached to their phones, and talking in a language as far fetched as a Star Wars Movie. But we uncovered something very important for them and the future of their business survival: Find your passion and share it. Teach “them” what you know, in a way that “they” (the millennials) will understand–in Facebook, Pinterest, and yes, even Twitter can connect the old and the new. And please, please don’t lecture them, they just want information.

So the best part of the weekend was the realization was that a new generation was driving an older generation to recapture their youth. Looking Social Media in the eye, they were faced with an opportunity to turn back the clock and start to live that life that they once imagined. Taking their purpose and passion and offering it up on the information highway to connect us all in a way that wasn’t possible before.

I like these two pictures because they are at the core of change. Are Millennials aliens from another planet? Feels like it to these aging Baby Boomers, but in their hands are the key to their business success. A vehicle like no other–pins, posts and tweets that will offer information infused passion and knowledge. That is all they want, and exactly what they need to make decisions whether or not to come into your shop and buy what you are offering…

“Excuse me, I heard you could solve my problem….”

Maria Bereket is a Social Media and Branding Strategist. Her work with small business owners and early childhood education is going to change the world making it a better place to live. Her personal business mission is to educate every person on the importance and fun of living in a socially connected world. @mbear88


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, Personal Brand, Social Media

Gotta Crawl Before You Can Run With Social Media

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Welcome….please, be a fly on the wall and observe the world of the Social Media “Doctor” at your next networking event:

“Hey, you are that social media person, right? Let me ask you a quick question: How can I get to 1000 twitter followers?”

“Well, how often do you post?”

“Oh, maybe once or twice a month, but I retweet lots of great stuff from comedian Aziz Ansari, that guy really cracks me up.”

“You’re an insurance agent, right? Yeah I like Aziz too, but…well, do you blog?”

“Naw, those things are outdated. I really want to get followers on Twitter, and probably a lot more likes on Facebook too. How can I do that?”

“What do you post on Facebook?”

“Oh its linked to my Twitter, do you think I should post more on Facebook to get more Twitter followers?”

“Uh, yeah, maybe you should start posting more…..”

Yikes! You gotta crawl before you run people!

First of all: What is the obsession with Twitter followers? Why do you need 1000 followers when you aren’t posting anything relevant for them to read?

Second, and most important: Social media did not change anything about marketing… it only added a multiplication sign where a plus sign was before. (you know—3 who tell 3….well now its 3 x 3 who tell 3 x 3) So no matter what you do on social media, you are going to have a larger following–you just may not see them right away!  The problem is that you do not have a strategy, a social media strategy.  And isn’t it time you got one?

Here is how the social media strategy process goes:

OK, seriously, here is how it goes….

Crawl: You have decided that your business and/or career needs to have an actual social media program, and you are taking the lead and going through the ranks to get support. You have a LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook. Maybe the company has one or two as well, but there is no one posting on a consistent basis. People think you are a little crazy because they are sure you are already “doing” social media. You know better and keep pushing.

Walk: Now you are having actual meetings about the social media program. Your leadership has given you (or someone authority) to get this program going and report back. Everyone is now aware of the current sites, the existing posts, the news, and the stats of the importance of having a program in place. Ideally someone is hired to coordinate the program with you, or at the very least, you will be given compensated hours to handle the program. And the program is walking more steady….

  • The Social Media Policy is being drafted, reviewed and finalized.
  • Specific goals of the program are being finalized and posted.
  • Keywords, hashtags, and content themes are all being input onto an excel spreadsheet called “2015 Social Media Strategy.”
  • A color-coded Social Media Calendar is being drafted and posted.
  • A Workflow & Crisis Chart are being drafted up as the current comments and posts filter up the chain of command.
  • Training is being set up for employees to discuss the program, review the policy, and set guidelines.

Run: This is the momentum stage, so watch your step!. The policy is created, edited and in operation. That Workflow & Crisis chart is now committed to memory. Training is ongoing and now includes everyone in the company because the leadership now realizes that having all employees as “brand advocates” on social media is not only good for sales and customer service, but employees are actually excited and engaged in your business.

Marathon: This is the sweet spot that you dreamed about in the beginning. Everyone in the company (and even on the board) is using social media consistently, effectively and with some confidence in their expertise and purpose. The goals and objectives you set out are now the benchmark of every new program, every meeting, included in every correspondence. And your customers are are now on board with your brand–posting all of your articles, quotes, white paper research documents, and cool Instagram images…some of them are even trying to work for the company because it looks like such a cool place.  You are in a very good place and it feels awesome!

Don’t Stop.

It takes a strategy and patience to really pay off, and yes, you are probably well over 1000 Twitter followers by the time the marathon portion begins, heck, most of the management now probably over 1000 Twitter followers in their personal accounts. So throw a “Twitter followers party” and then talk with leadership about getting someone full-time to head the newly created “Social Marketing” Department–and do it fast–because this is a process with multiplication signs, and you are going to need someone to stay on top of it.

I love horror stories, so share some of your strategy stories with me. At the very least, follow me on Twitter @mbear88 …I am trying to get over 1000 followers too!

#socialmarketing #Socialmediamarekting #smallbiz #Socialmediatraining #Training #Twitter #marketing

Maria Bereket is a Social Media Trainer, Designer & Small Business Strategist who helps busy professionals and small business owners learn how to brand themselves through Social Marketing. Design Bear Marketing is her Social Media & Design Company. @mbear88


business, customers, Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Media

KISS: 3 Steps to Social Marketing


Have you ever heard of the KISS Principle?

Keep It Simple Stupid: The more explanation something needs, the less effective it will be.  Well, not always, but when it comes to getting started on a new project, simplicity is the key.  And when it comes to Social Media Marketing, I would say that the KISS Principle is what is missing.  Sure, it seems a simple process of setting up a bunch of sites and then posting pictures and quotes, but why then is it so hard to get businesses to do it?  They all know they need to get it up and running, but when it comes to explaining it to the CEO it is not so simple to explain exactly how to do it. Am I right?

So here you go, a 3-Step KISS Principle to get your Social Marketing up and running in 2015.

1.  Write Out and Post your Goals.  Without these there cannot be a marketing plan.  You knew that already, but what you may not know is that “goals” does not equate to percentages, numbers, and metrics.  Goals are your simple, heartfelt reasons you do what you do.  Yeah, like a mission statement, but more directed to the year ahead.  You see, social networks don’t give a hoot if you want to sell 35% more widgets.  Social networks care about your reasons for selling widgets. Because behind the blinking colors, on the screen are people. So instead of writing out: Sell 35% more widgets in 2015, try this:  Help more small businesses solve the problem of (fill in your solution to their problem.)

Why is that goal better? Because we all have problems that need to be solved.  If your widgets will solve them, it feels like a solution when you say to want to help me, rather than sell to me.  Get the subtle shift?  You want to connect with me, help me. You want to engage your social network with things that we care about.  Your P&L Statement doesn’t impact our lives at all, but get rid of our problems?  You got a deal.

Stick with your top five goals, and be sure to post them everywhere.

Everywhere?  Sure, did it ever occur to you that your employees would like to know why they do what they do for your business? Don’t you think there might be a bit more smiles if they knew you were problem solvers rather than number crunchers?  Try it, it works.

2. Have and Post Your Social Marketing Calendar. “What is that?” you ask. Well, that is the calendar of events in the company and community that matter to your employees and customers. Break it down into three-month intervals–like the seasons perhaps. Look at the community where your business is located and see if they are having any local events that your company can participate in; find a cause and invite your employees (and customers) to join you on a 3k run/walk for the local animal shelter; is it restaurant week somewhere?  Post it, encourage your employees to participate in it….and then what?

Take lots of pictures of happy smiling people, colorful visuals, and yummy food and then post them. Make sure to hashtag the #eventname, #city, #yourcompanyname. Encourage people to vote on the pictures or share their own from the same event. Engage in a conversation with the people in your company, your community, your current and future customers.  Don’t stand on the sidelines trying to get people in your door, go outside and participate in the world around you!

Benefits include: Employee fun and happiness.  Community involvement and goodwill. And most likely, some good press for your company and customers who stay loyal and refer their friends.  But it starts with posting the calendar and the OK for everyone to participate.  And that brings us to number three.

3. Have a Simple, Do/Don’t Social Media Policy in Place.  The key words here are “simple, do and don’t.” You do not need a lawyer to write up a 32-page list of social media posting mumbo jumbo, but you do need to have a policy in place called “Social Media Policy.” Two pages Max!  Do’s on one page, Don’t on the other. (KISS remember?)

Start with the goals sheet from #1.  What are you trying to do?  Establish relationships with customers and the community?  Well, then encourage your employees to participate in that by giving them guidelines on how to help.

Don’t post personal, confidential or proprietary information.
Don’t misrepresent yourself or your company.
Don’t lie or make personal attacks.
Don’t post political, religious or personal views in the name of the company.

Do let people know you work for the company.
Do think before you post.
Do post only things related to the work we do and the goals we want to achieve.
Do let someone know if you think you messed up so we can fix it.

If you give people guides to behavior, and you yourself are participating, then it will work out.  Too many Don’t and not enough Do’s and people will not take the time to participate, and you want them to participate so that your “social marketing” is social. Not to mention, it will engage your current employees and attract new ones who want to be a part of your business.


Yes, I know there are metrics, SEO, hashtags, and a whole lot of other “marketing” things that need to be addressed, but you just need to get things started.  You need tracks in the snow so people will find you.  You need to get started, 3-months at a time, and before you know it, you will have likes, connects, shares, comments, and ultimately you will sell 35% more widgets by year end.  In fact, you may just surpass 35%, and pick up some really amazing clients and employees in the process.  So jump in and please let me know your progress!

If you need a simple Do/Don’t Social Media Policy just email me at and I will send you one for free.  It is so simple that anyone, any industry can use it.

#socialmarketing #socialmedia #KISS #hashtags #goals #employeeengagement #socialmediapolicy #2015 #smallbiz #socialmediacalendar #designbear