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, Inbound Marketing, Marketing

Branding Is What People Say About You

The hardest concept for a business owner who has been around for more than ten years is “Branding.”

Branding was your logo.

Branding was your Est. Date.

Branding was the product.

Branding was actually never those things, but it was easier back then to draw in customers with those details.

Today, in the Digital World, Everything is About Information.

Our hand-held devices are the authority on just about everything. Should we eat at the corner restaurant? Ask Yelp. Should we buy that pair of shoes? How many stars does it have? Is this business something I can trust? Let’s Google them.

And I know that you know this fact, but do you really understand that telling customers how great you are is not the same as building your brand?

Look closely at this illustration. Now compare it is message to your last five Social Media Posts. How much information are you sharing? How often are you yelling at people to Buy Me? How many posts are sharing about why you do what you do? Customers want to “see” behind the curtain. How often do you do that?

How Do You Think Customers “Understand” You?

“Back in the day” there use to be that wonderful marketing principle about “three people who tell three people.” Remember? Personal recommendations, key placement print advertisements, and those loyal “three customers who told their three friends” were what made the lines of people wrap around your cash register. Today things do not quite work like that. Your customers are not placed within a 25-mile radius of your location (thankfully!) The promise of the Internet was that if you built a website, people from around the globe could possibly be your customer, right?

Google is Searching For Thought Leaders Who Share Information

All that you posts, write, and share about you and your business are thrown into a large river called “Google.” This large information system is hungry for anything that can be offered to the millions of people asking questions on their hand-held devices. Questions that need answers, right now!

Consumers do not want to know how great you are. They want to learn more about you through reviews, blogs, articles, and posts that you share. They have a very sophisticated way of determining if you are worthy of their time and trust and it is not just those “Millennials” who use this information system anymore. The fastest growing demographic for tablets and iPads are over 65! We are all using the Google-sphere to direct our attention– and our dollars–whether we like it or not!

And you want to know what’s even worse?

We Now Have a Shorter Attention Span Than a Goldfish

In 2013, statistics noted that we had an 8-second attention span when it came to digital information. By many accounts, today it is merely 6-seconds to catch me before we “X-Out” of a page to find something more interesting. You have less than 6-seconds to catch people in your headlines, articles, advertising, and even in the books, they read…..

“Front-load your best material in the first few chapters before readers put your book away.” -publishing agents everywhere

So How Does This Determine Your Brand?

Ask yourself the following questions: Where are you supplying information? What are you writing about in your Blogs? What new information are you sharing in your posts? On your Instagram feeds? How often does the content on your web page change? How often are you sending interesting content via email?

Information is what we seek. Problem-solving posts. How To’s. How Not-To’s. Content, rich with keywords and images that delight us in the first six seconds of our interaction with you and your business. And don’t be fooled by the occasional article in your local newspaper or local living magazine—these PR tactics will only enhance the regular and consistent information that your business is already sharing on a daily basis.One-hit-PR does not a brand make!

Thought Leadership is How You Get Found

And thought leadership is a long-term view of a digital marketing strategy. The question is: How are you sharing information that will get you found?

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

Original Post on LinkedIn:

business, Leadership, Personal Brand, Social Media

You + Brand = Relevance


Understanding your professional reputation is all about relevance.

It is one of those phrases we hear a lot about lately–Personal Brand.  If author Malcom Gladwell were to pipe in he would say that we are at the “tipping point” of the process.  That means that it is time to stop and really look at the image you are projecting in your career.

Why is our “personal brand” so important now, when it was something only reserved for corporations for the last 100 years?

Your personal brand is your professional reputation.  It is all the bridge jobs you took to get somewhere more important.  It is the time you were fired, but quickly found a new company more appreciative of your skills.  It is the confidence you project when entering the room. It is as simple as your resume and as complicated as your Twitter account.  Your personal brand is your public life–and today, everything is public.

Branding somehow got confused with the “me generation.”  Personally I believe that every generation is the “me” generation, but in the world of selfies, professionals started to make excuses for not embracing the personal brand.

In 2015, we all have a brand, and it is this “branding” process that directly influences your impact as a contributor, thought leader and business owner.  

Your Brand:

  • It isn’t just what you do, but why you do it.
  • It isn’t as simple as having a smile in your profile photo, but what you wear and how you project yourself–virtually and physically.
  • It isn’t the tie or the high heel shoes; it is which tie and whether or not those heels are worn down and clicking all the way up to the podium.
  • It isn’t just an amazing website, but the content you share on social platforms.

Think about how you look and act, and I mean really sit down, look in a mirror and get to know the person looking back at you.  Is that person the one you “think” you are?  Or is that person still stumbling around trying to get things right?

Imagine yourself walking into a meeting–how do your colleagues, staff, business partners, managers, or clients perceive you?  Late, sloppy, drab, outdated?  Or are you edgy, polished and colorful?  How people define you, their perception of you matters. Perception is reality. So unless you bring something unique and compelling to the table, you run the risk of being seen as irrelevant, or worse yet, not being seen at all!

And do not underestimate your online profile.  We live in a world of information. Every second we experience a virtual treasure trove of facts and images on almost every subject imaginable.  So why underestimate the process of collecting information on you?

The biggest mistake you can make is not to have an online presence.

It screams “outdated.”

When Henry Ford brought the automobile to the every-day man, he changed the world.  He forced people to change.  Some people just pretended to change, but continued to ride their horses into town.  But as dirt roads turned into highways, many people were excluded from the world.

You cannot say “I am not techy” or “I respect my privacy” or even “It’s too complicated for me.”  These are the words of the man with the horse drawn carriage.

And it doesn’t matter how successful you are, how much money you have and make, or how impressive your title is…You are projecting a Brand of Irrelevance.

So be hip and relevant.  Get in the vehicle that expresses who you really are and write out a To Do List:

  • What are my real strengths, skills and abilities?
  • What is my true passion?
  • How do I look in my own mind?
  • How do I want to act?
  • What does my day look like?
  • What is it I want to say?

And then start making that happen every day.  Choose one online profile to change alongside one personal habit.  Get a real photo on LinkedIn and buy a new suit. You will feel the difference, and your customers will too.

Because who you are, who you project, does matter.  Brand YOU isn’t just the catch phrase of personal coaches and style consultants; it is the reality!

You are the product of all the choices you have made in your life up to this point, and if you are still making excuses for not changing and embracing the world we live in today, then realize that this too is a choice. And choosing not to change with the times is just as dangerous as risking something new.

And if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile (or any online profile), well you are not reading this anyway, but I am sure your hipper, more relevant competitor is….

So Start Today.  Ask an Expert. Become Relevant.

Maria Bereket is a Social Media and Branding Strategist.  Her work with non-profits 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

#branding #linkedin #relevance

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, Leadership, Marketing, Personal Brand, Social Media

Time to Change Your Social Footprint


With the growing internet filling our Inbox with news, promotions, and calls to actions, it is time to really figure out how to use Social Media to help out employees stand out professionally.  Beer bong photos, wet T-shirt contests, and the endless inappropriate selfies need to come down and be replaced by the new “career” focused you! (and if you think the 40+ crowd is not included in this statement–you are wrong!)

It is shocking how many people are posting embarrassing content on their public internet profiles.  And yes, I am talking about that ridiculous repost of your political group comparing some politician to being Hitler.  It may seem funny (and private) at the time, but things expressed through Facebook and Twitter have a way of finding themselves on a Google search.

Instead of looking like an opinionated, wine-drinking, conservative/liberal, why not use social media to create an a social footprint of thought leadership, integrity and commitment?  Think of your posts this way: If you were sitting at a board meeting, would you express those views or share those images with the board?

Here are three ways to spruce up your social footprint:

1 Thought Leadership.
The ability to translate your knowledge into written material can give you the edge you need to stand out among your competitors.  It’s not just about sharing articles and retweeting quotes.  To stand out in a crowd, you must have analysis, creative thoughts and ideas about subjects that interest your working peers.

  • Share materials but include why you chose it and what makes it interesting.
  • Give credit where credit it due to the author or photo source.
  • Be considerate to others.  Post one or two items, not a ten minute barrage of ideas that will get you disconnected.

2 Personal Touch.
You now have an ability to showcase your true and genuine personality to others before they even meet you.  People are (and will) make judgements about you on the internet, so why not highlight the professional person who you really are?

Hide all those unflattering posts and photos from your personal/social life and start to highlight and like the achievements and good community projects that you are doing today?  These are things that attract the right kind of attention. If dating is your intention, then get on a social site for that, but if you want to move your career along today, then Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all have to present the best you.

Volunteering at the Senior Center to deliver holiday meals tells your boss and recruiters that you are compassionate and committed to your community.  That translates into a solid employee!

3 Honesty.
Be careful about peacocking.  That is when you tell everyone every single thing you are doing in your life, at every moment. It also means that your LinkedIn Profile doesn’t have to include every single line from your resume, but it does mean it much match!

Don’t claim to be a blogger if you haven’t written a blog entry since the Fourth of July.  Your social footprint will find you!  So link to your projects, websites, and articles.  Showcase your portfolio work, but choose selective pieces that contribute to the current work you do, or the work you want to do in the future.

And keep in mind that your profile photo is just one other way to tell people–in their first impression of you– that you are real.  So don’t get your wedding photo out and crop it down.  Get a professional picture done if you don’t like the casual IPhone shots.  Be who you are–eventually they will meet you and if they are expecting 35-year old you and you are ten years older and a few pound heavier, well, it gives people the wrong impression.

You are in control of what is on the social web.  Clean it out like you would your basement.  Remove things that are not keeping you in the best light today, and save the party shots for a folder on your hard drive call “old me.”

#profile #socialmedia #career #designbear #linkedin