Maria Taught an “Old Dog New Tricks”

Laura DeRamus   Passionate Art Dealer | Framer | Small Business Advocate

In 2015, after being in business for 30 years, I discovered something very surprising: an “old dog can learn new tricks.” When the crash of ’08 came, we held on to our business with loyal customers who loved our art and all the products we had as an exclusive dealer, but I started struggling and wondering if it was time to close up shop and move south for the winter. Buyers were changing, and I did not know how to reach them. I was doing all the “right” things: Website, Facebook posts, and even Twitter—but nothing seemed to bring in people like they use to in prior years.

Then a woman came into our Dealer Training and turned everything upside down. Maria Bereket started off by comparing social media marketing to a Star Wars Movie with us being Luke Skywalker, and the “digital world,” she told us “would be like learning how to use a light saber.” We all rolled our eyes and gave her a hard time, confident in our years of experience.

She was direct and to the point: “Leave what you know behind and embrace technology, or die.” I did not believe it at first, but she was so very right. The truth is I listened to some of what she said and just tried to hang on to what I knew to be true about my business and customers, but Maria kept telling me “Be where your customers are. Not where you are!”

After months of webinar training on topics like “Using Canva,” “The Perfect Post,” and “Hosting Events with Social Media”—my head was spinning. But you know what? Everything she said was true, and she held our hands and got us through the difficult journey of walking into the present. I ended up 2016 growing sales with a whole range of products coming off my walls—and most importantly with new customers (brand new ones!) I was thrilled to see that we were selling products directly from the social posts we created together. At this writing—Janaury 2017— my sales for the month are double from where they were in 2016. It truly is a mindset that has to happen today. I am beginning to see that I can keep my loyal customers from the past and grow my business by reaching out to new people who had never heard of me, our art, or even our town!

If there is a drawback, it is that we are just really beginning this journey of understanding social media marketing. I am getting our local business association involved in some of her training and working on changing my website, using that content calendar, and becoming a “Thought Leader,” which Maria assures me will grow my business with “inbound” leads. I am not rolling my eyes anymore, just embracing her training with an excitement for the year ahead!

February 1, 2017, Laura was Maria’s client


Maria calmed our nerves, listened to our concerns, and educated us on the process.

Robin Shapiro   Executive Director & Founder at the LEAP School

We contacted Maria Bereket of Design Bear Marketing after one our teachers heard her speak at a national early childhood conference. With the 30 years of success at the LEAP School, and never doing much advertising or marketing, we decided to embrace the new world of social media. We wanted to be a community resource and communicate with parents of today in their language. Maria Bereket was able to come into our schools and help us navigate and feel comfortable using this new vehicle of communication in a way that is true to our mission and philosophy.

Since this was all new to us, we were naturally feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect of social media in general. Maria immediately calmed our nerves, listened to our concerns, and educated us on the process. She spent a good deal of time learning about the LEAP School, our history, our mission, and our goals for entering into this new venue. She individualized our needs a client and embraced our core values, utilizing them to create our social media strategy with our mission in the forefront of her recommendations. She helped us set up different Facebook accounts at each school and educated the directors on how to use these accounts for our purposes, which was to provide parent education and continue to be a community resource for many families.

Maria is extremely responsive and accommodating to our schedules and needs. She has helped us with our new website, social media and our software in the classrooms. We created new signs and printed materials, such as our found story on our website and faculty bios in a respectful manner. Her attention and understanding of early childhood education and the privacy issues were essential to our comfort and success with social media.

Maria worked with every director and teacher to show them not only how to post, but more importantly, what to post that represented our thought leadership in the field of early childhood. It is a very exciting time in our schools with these new initiatives to provide parent education and communication in a new way! Thank you Maria!

December 10, 2015, Robin was Maria’s client

Optimizing my profile helped with building my connections and also my career search.

John N. Spencer, CPRE, Certified Park & Recreation Executive.
Recreation Division Head @ the City of Ocala, Florida

“I was introduced to Maria through a mutual friend. My friend suggested I speak with her to help me with my LinkedIn profile in hopes of helping with my career search. Maria helped me in optimizing my profile, along with helping to review my resume. I worked with her to update my profile to highlight strongest skills and keywords. She didn’t just rewrite my profile but worked with me through that back-and-forth conversations to make each section reflect my strong leadership skills. I then used some of the same verbiage and phrasing to update my resume; I wanted both my LinkedIn profile and resume to have the same feel and information. I would be negligent to mention that by optimizing my profile, I feel that it helped me with my (then active) job search. When I

I would be negligent to mention that by optimizing my profile, I feel that it helped me with my (then active) job search. When I started working with Maria, I had less than 250 connections. Maria’s suggested profile and keyword revisions, along with her connection-building tips, has allowed me to increase my connection from a few hundred to over 1,377 (as of 2/27/17). I was able to increase my LinkedIn connections three-fold within four to six weeks of working with Maria.

Optimizing my profile helped with building my connections and also with my career search. After implementing her suggestions, I began to receive additional interviews. Her suggestions also helped me be more aware of myself, which allowed me to sell who I am in my interviews. I have since accepted an upper management position in my field and began my new job in February 2017. I can credit Maria with helping me to have been offered this position. Thank you, Maria.”

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