Ryan Foland speaks with Mari Smith, the Queen of Facebook. She is one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing, and has been featured on Forbes’ perennial Top Social Media Power Influencers lists. As an author and speaker, she shares insights on the latest trends and best practices for businesses looking to increase their social influence and build their businesses with social media.
Ryan and Mari talk a lot about how speakers can use Facebook, and specifically Facebook Live to engage their audiences and build a stronger, more loyal following. If you’ve been thinking it’s about time to master Facebook marketing, this is a great place to start.
Listen to this podcast to find out:
- Why you should consider hosting Facebook Live sessions as a pro speaker to build your audience and credibility.
- The tools you need to make great, professional Live videos
- Why many speakers are late to adopt Live streaming, and how to overcome common fears
- The biggest trend right now in digital speaking, and why you should consider being an early adopter
- Where to look when making a Live video
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Mari Smith: Hello this is Mari Smith, premier Facebook marketing expert, otherwise known as the Queen of Facebook, and I just had a blast talking with Ryan Foland here on the World of Speakers.
We talked about Facebook, Facebook Live, the mistakes people make with Facebook Live, supporting women speakers, and how you can utilize Facebook to enhance your speaking career.
Ryan Foland: Ahoy everybody, we are back, and today we have a very special show.
We are with royalty. That is correct, we are talking with the Queen of Facebook, she is the premier Facebook marketing expert and her name is Mari Smith.
If you don't know who she is then you probably aren't as involved in Facebook as you should be, or you have not visited her palace. Ladies and gentlemen, Mari — royalty is in the house. Mari, welcome to the show!
Mari Smith: Thank you so much, Ryan, what a lovely introduction. Thank you.
Ryan Foland: I wish I would have had like a full band here or something, some clarinets maybe, I don't know, but I feel like I'm in the presence, I'm in the presence of royalty here.
Mari Smith: That's great.
Ryan Foland: I always like to start the show with a bit of a history.
Since you are the Queen, let's pretend that there's a Netflix documentary on you called "The Queen of Facebook" and you are going to pull one of the episodes off of the shelf and then in one of the episodes you are going to pull a single story, something that happened based on reality in your life.
It could be from childhood, college, it could be from yesterday, and it's just an exercise and if that is the one clip that people saw — what is the one clip that you think really embodies who you are as a person and you're like,
"Well, if you'd like to watch all of the documentaries you can, but if you just watch this one scene you'll know who I am."
What would that scene be?
Mari Smith: Oh my goodness, wow.
Ryan Foland: No pressure, no pressure at all.
Mari Smith: What a fun exercise.
Well, the first one that springs to mind is certainly when I had the great, great fortune to emigrate from Scotland to San Diego, California, and that was in 1999.
To be honest, at that time, right up until then, throughout my entire late teens, twenties, into my early thirties, I had been an employee working a variety of different jobs: sales, marketing, computers, tech.
I just always had this love, this parallel love of people and tech, the Internet and technology in the late nineties, building websites, things like that.
Then out of the blue I got this invitation to come to San Diego and I was flat broke, I had 50 British pounds to my name, I knew one person and the entire previous year, 1998 I had been working on plans to roll out and start up my own business in speaking and training and personal development skills, and it was specifically focused on the legal industry, I worked a lot with attorneys.
I was literally going into my bank to get a small business loan, I had gotten the business cards, brochures, and built a small website, and I just needed a little startup capital to really get the word out.
That's when this invitation came and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, I'm supposed to build my new business here in Scotland,” which had been my home for about 20 years (I was born in Canada).
But I am like, "Okay, done, it's a defining moment, I'm supposed to go to San Diego." And sure enough, I came over here and the rest is history, as they say.
This was absolutely determined, I'm very resourceful and very blessed, and I got to know a wide, wide network of people here in San Diego and really launched my career.
Ryan Foland: Wow, very cool. Okay, so a couple of questions. One, you're from Canada but you lived in Scotland.
Did you associate with any type of clan? Do you claim Scottish roots, is there a connection there?
Mari Smith: 100%, yeah.
Ryan Foland: Okay, good, good.
Mari Smith: Both my parents are Scottish.
Ryan Foland: Okay, so I've got some McGregor in me and I've been to Scotland, and I actually, as a present for my parents for Christmas one year, I went around the entirety of Scotland and collected little pieces of tartan from all the different places, and then I had my sister sow it into a little mini quilt, and I learned all about my history.
And McGregor was the most, so I don't know, are we connected-kindred-souls here? I'm curious.
Mari Smith: Okay, so my family name is Kinnaird, K-I-N-N-A-I-R-D, and there is a tiny little town at the top of Scotland called Kinnaird and that is our family pattern or our tartan.
I once traced our roots, and I went back 500 years, and we're Scottish, and before that we were Irish.
Ryan Foland: Yeah, I've got a little bit of that as well, that trip included both. Very cool, I just want to make sure that we're on the same page here with that.
Now, my second question is, ironically, what was your first impression when you landed in San Diego? Is there a memory that sticks out, like, "Oh my gosh"?
Mari Smith: Yes, yes. Okay, so the whole time I'm working, an adult working in Scotland for, let's see, I left school so young, I'd say from mid-teens up to my early thirties.
I would save up my hard-earned money, and my girlfriends and I would go to the Mediterranean for our fortnight holiday. We lived for that time, and it was amazing.
And so then the moment that I arrived in San Diego, I'm like, "Beaches, blue sky, sunshine — this is going to be my new home!" So yeah, it was pretty magical.
Ryan Foland: Yeah, it is. So I am up here a little bit more Northern, in Orange County in the LA region, and we have coastline all the way up, it is an amazing place.
Now, do you go back to the motherland? Do you visit Scotland very often?
Mari Smith: I sure do. I sure do. I'm fortunate to go probably about once a year, sometimes I go twice a year. I have family over there, my father, two of my sisters and then my mother, my parents got divorced and that's what precipitated the move to Scotland with my dad when I was 12.
And so mom and stepdad are still in Canada and then two of my sisters ended up moving back there, so I get to both countries.
Ryan Foland: And do you communicate primarily on Facebook with your family? I just want to know?
Mari Smith: Oh that's funny you should ask that, I do Facebook Messenger regularly, and we have a secret family group, one for my dad and family, one for my mom and family, it's kind of cute. Yeah.
Ryan Foland: That's cool. I was just in Boston, at the Content Marketing Conference and I was listening to Sarah Weise and she's doing all this research on Gen Z.
And she was explaining the different platforms and how Gen Z is using it and one thing that I thought was so funny is the way Gen Z is using Facebook to keep their parents and older siblings updated.
Mari Smith: Yes, I know.
Ryan Foland: They're not really on it but they're respectful that everybody has sort of joined in to see what they're doing, and so they just keep a presence and they pick and choose what they want their family to know about on that platform specifically. I thought that was kind of cute.
Mari Smith: Yeah, yeah, I know, I meet people all the time who say, "Facebook is for old people," and old is like 30 and up, right?
Ryan Foland: Right, the legacy of those who were in on that big boom.
How did you levitate to be — at what point were you “The Princess of Facebook” before “The Queen of Facebook”?
Mari Smith: I joined Facebook in May of 2007, and that was another defining moment in my life, that I just knew it was something magical here.
I loved the white space, the shade of blue, the layout, the uniformity of the profiles. When I went to MySpace before that, it would just make my head spin.
What I also loved is the fact that I could reach out to pretty much anybody whose books were on my shelf, whose events I had gone to, who I really respected in the speaking world, and authors, thought leaders, and now I'm friends with them on Facebook and we're chatting.
And so literally, within 3 weeks I used to do a lot of interviews. I'd reach out. I created courses, and just everybody I met I was like,
"Are you on Facebook? Let me show you how to get on, it's amazing."
This was before groups, before business pages. It was just for a personal, social network. I just became a raving evangelist for the platform.
I would say within about 6 months I was out speaking, teaching people how to use it, creating courses, and it just went on up from there.
Ryan Foland: Now I've heard you use the word "speaking" six times. I don't know if that's true, I pretended like I kept track, but I just feel like there are six times that you said it.
So my question is, when was the first time that the word “speaking” actually meant something to you in the world?
It sounds like this was part of the business that you're going to launch, like were you the gregarious kid that was out in front of the class, that was, instead of a lemonade stand, you were on a soapbox? How did that start?
Mari Smith: Oh my gosh, no. The complete opposite, Ryan.
I was the shyest kid in the entire school. Throughout elementary school, through high school. In English, I really disliked my teacher who would call on me and I would be like, seeing how I could slide down and hide behind my book, and I was always tall for my age group.
I was painfully shy, very soft-spoken, and so in my early teens I decided to begin some personal development. I got very involved with Toastmasters. We had a real leadership role by the time I left Scotland in 1999.
And then when I came to San Diego I found this really cool group called "Speaking Circles." A gentleman called Lee Glickstein had founded that.
It was very different from Toastmasters. It was much more about really having a deep, deep connection with the audience, which starts with a deep connection with yourself.
And so just practice, practice, practice, practice, and I have always loved to be able to touch other people's lives through the spoken word, but it did not come naturally, I really had to practice a lot.
Ryan Foland: That's interesting. I am also a Toastmasters kid and it's an amazing excuse to practice.
And one of the things that I tell people all the time is the advice that they're looking for; “How to become a good speaker”.
It's not that great speakers are doing what everybody else can't do; great speakers are doing what everybody can do but not everybody does.
And that's just practicing, like practice, practice, practice.
I love that you went from the shy, hiding behind — I had this visual of you sliding down your chair and hiding behind your book.
But now you are in front of the classroom, but not the front of the classroom. You're literally on stage in front of thousands and thousands of people.
So to see that transition is inspiring for me to touch those people that have something to say that maybe are shy now, that it literally sounds like it's just a matter of putting yourself out there.
Mari Smith: It is, and it's also just a belief in yourself, and if you have that knowledge in your heart, and you have this vision that you know you can accomplish, and you just practice, practice, practice.
I used to play an instrument when I was a kid, I played the accordion and I loved it. I loved the instrument and then I went on to play keyboards but I never got that great. I'm pretty rusty these days.
Ryan Foland: Your accordion game is not up to par?
I'm going to challenge you to incorporate your accordion onto the stage?
Have you brought it up there?
Mari Smith: No, no, I don't even own one now. I have keyboards but one of these days I'll get an accordion.
Ryan Foland: Have you heard of Josh Linkner? Do you know who he is?
Mari Smith: No.
Ryan Foland: Okay, so he's probably one of the top requested speakers on innovation, and he's also a jazz guitarist.
He literally combines jazz guitar with innovation with his talk, and it's just a really cool way. I would love to see you with a keyboard and accordion, that would make my day.
Mari Smith: I'll keep you posted.
Ryan Foland: Okay. I've been experimenting with a little bit of rapping. So I actually start my talks, people don't realize, and then I sort of start to rhyme and get into rhythm, my own beat and I rap, and at the very end I very cheekily say, "So to rap it up—" and then I have like a rap that I rap it up with.
Mari Smith: That's great. That's memorable. That's really cool.
Ryan Foland: It is. I think one of the best compliments I've ever had is somebody referring to my talk as "a show". Because it should be fun.
And you are fun on stage.
I think one of the most difficult things to do is to get a good photo of somebody who is speaking, like hands down, because your mouth is always — 90% of the time it's in an awkward moment where you look like you're blowing bubbles or something, right?
Mari Smith: That's true, yeah.
Ryan Foland: And at Social Media Marketing World this last time, you had probably thousands of people that took photos of you and all of them were total action shots.
I don't know, it's something about the way that you like pause or enunciate, there are like all these action photos, they are like, "How does somebody get captured so well?"
And I think it's just like, I don't know how you do it but it was funny, that sticks out from all the photos I came at.
Mari Smith: That's neat, thank you for saying that, I appreciate that.
Ryan Foland: It's kind of a random compliment but it's, I don't know, it's a tough thing if you're speaking to get those good pictures and maybe it's speakergenic — we just made that up right there.
Mari Smith: Yeah, yeah. Well, a little secret about that event is, I had actually hired a public speaking coach for 6 months prior because when Mike Stelzner invited me to do the keynote I just really wanted to knock it out of the park.
And like you, I'm always practicing my craft, we're always learning and getting to the next level.
I never think, "Oh my gosh, okay, I'm done, I don't need to learn anymore."
And so, so long as I'm in this career, I am going to keep polishing and refining and that is one of the main things that my speaking coach told me to do — was to slow down, was to pause, was to be able to allow for even a split second of silence, and be comfortable with that.
Ryan Foland: I really think that there is this misconception about how much work it takes to put into something to make it look seamless.
Mari Smith: Yes, yes, very much.
Ryan Foland: Well, talking about seamless, I want to transition into — now we've talked about you as “The Princess of Facebook”, now let's talk about you as “The Queen of Facebook”, but more particularly “The Queen of Facebook Live”.
And typically, we'll talk about speaking tips in this section and how to better prepare and all the things that come with a live talk.
But I think it would be fun to get the insights on the live talk as in not on stage but Facebook Live.
So, how would we approach this to pull the nuggets out of you?
Because we could probably talk for just 4 hours, maybe 5.
Do you have a top 3 of what to do, or a top 3 of what not to do? Where would you like to start, Queen Smith?
Mari Smith: Yeah, indeed, well thank you so much.
And this is perfect for your audience because the thing is if you want to really… .whether you're up and coming and establishing yourself as a public speaker to get more bookings on physical stages, or you're an established speaker and you're also looking to get on more stages, one of the best ways you can present yourself is through live video.
And doing that through Facebook Live is the number one live broadcast.
You can do YouTube Live, and LinkedIn has live, you can use Twitter, but Facebook Live really gets you tremendous visibility. It's the largest platform, 2.3 billion active users.
But the thing is, you want to stand out and look polished and professional, literally television-quality studio lighting and audio, and utilizing a DSLR professional camera so that you get that depth of field.
There's also a place for doing it very informally on your phone, which is perfect. I know you do a lot of videos on your Twitter, for example, Ryan, and that's just lovely, that's perfect. It's very intimate. There's always a place for that.
Actually, for me, one of my top sources of revenue is doing brand ambassador work, and doing sponsored Facebook Lives. And it is really just a great, great tool.
So I would say, people always ask me, "What camera are you using, what microphone are you using? What stuff are you using?"
I put together a little kit, and the folks can just find that at marismith.com/videokit.
It has all the gear I use, it has tips. It even has tips on how to increase your reach when you're doing your Facebook Lives and your Facebook posts, so that should be helpful.
Ryan Foland: Wow, okay.
So I'm hearing that there's a place for unpolished, but there is a place for polished, from lighting to the depth of field, to audio, to all of these things.
I think that that's an interesting approach. When I go live it's usually a bit more organic and sort of behind the scenes.
I just haven't really warmed up to Facebook in general, I was never an early adopter, I never really connected there. I'm the opposite.
If you are the queen of it I'm like in Sherwood forest, hiding out as Robin Hood, anti-establishment if Facebook were the kingdom.
So this is good, I'm seeing if I can warm to it, but you hit it already.
Billions of people that are there, the technology is probably not as glitchy as LinkedIn, because that's what I hear is glitchy there.
Talk to me about some of the, I'm going to say, technical-non-technical.
We're going to go to marismith.com/videokit, okay, nice and intuitive enough for me to almost remember, but I got it: video kit.
I want to know, not the technical as in like the camera and that, but the technical, non-technical — so what are some of the things that people aren't thinking about?
Is it the background? Is it the audio? Is it your positioning?
What are some of the nuanced things that somebody who is already on it, they're like,
"Yeah, I'm a professional, but Mari says, 'Wait a minute, you've got to really, really think about this part of it'."
Mari Smith: Sure.
Ryan Foland: Are there any of those little nuggets?
Mari Smith: Yeah, yeah, two things right away: I always say number one is absolutely make eye contact with the camera as often as you possibly can.
It's so easy when we're broadcasting from our desktop to have our eyeballs wandering all over the screen and then occasionally popping your eyes up to the webcam.
But if you've got a tripod with a professional camera, and usually a ring light just around the camera, and then 2 sidelights — it's called 3 point lighting.
Especially the split second, I literally can see out of my periphery vision when the low countdown is going, 3, 2, 1 and the red button comes on and I am already looking at the camera and so I can see with my peripheral vision, "Okay, we're live," and just immediately, "Hello friends, it's Mari Smith here coming to you live from sunny San Diego."
And then you just get right into it, you go, "In today's episode," or, "Today's show, I'm going to be covering the 3 main video algorithm changes that just happened this week", and it really did just happen.
And so you hook their interest like within the first 10 seconds because people have such short attention spans.
So that's one main, it's to make eye contact with the camera and get into your topic immediately because I think a big mistake some people make is they're only catering to their live audience and they forget about the replay afterwards, which is immediately when you're done.
You don't want to be going, "Okay, I am going to give it a few minutes for some people to join," and, "Hello Johnny! Hello Jennifer! What country are you from?" And it's like, "Oh come on, just get on with it."
But I don't want to ditch the engagement. You've got to do the engagement as well and you weave that in very naturally, but maybe wait for like a minute or so to just at least go right into your subject and draw people in so that they're more likely to stick around and watch through to the end.
Ryan Foland: Now I know that as a lot of people are getting comfortable with live streaming, they might utilize the interview format.
So tell me about that. Because I've done interviews and I'm actually curious, like the person's talking, looking at me and then sometimes they'll be like, "No, no, look into the camera, we're talking to these people."
So is there a magic mix when you're interviewing?
Maybe you started off and you're talking to the camera, but then you kind of have to look at your guest, but then how do you instruct the guest, or how do you create the best experience in an interview format when you're live, considering this concept of looking at the camera?
Mari Smith: I love that you're bringing this up because it's funny, I consider myself a professional speaker and I also consider myself a professional interviewee, a professional guest; especially when it comes to the camera.
People come up to me, "Can I interview you for social media marketing world," and I always, the first question I'll say, "Do I look at you or do I look at the camera? What do you want, you tell me".
As an interviewer, you would tell your guest that, if you're physically in the same space with them, you'll say, "Just talk to me, just ignore the camera, we're just going to talk to each other here."
Or you'll say, "Periodically, I'll look at the camera."
Or, "When you're talking, you look at the camera, when I'm talking, you look at me." Or you can just brief them.
Also, I've taken a leaf out of what other folks are doing. While looking at talk shows, one of the most successful on Facebook is called Red Table Talk, and it's by Will Smith's wife, Jaida Pinkett Smith and her daughter and mother.
And so it is a tremendous show. It's really well done and they always predominantly look at the camera, but it's also a talk show. They're going to look at each other, they are going to look at the guest.
But another way of doing interviews on Facebook Live is bringing somebody in virtually, through Zoom or Skype or lots of great tools out there, one is called Be Live, belive.tv.
I use one called Ecamm, it's for Macs, really cool when you bring people in through Zoom, and obviously, in that case, you're both virtual so you're both looking at the camera.
Ryan Foland: Right, so I love your answer because it still is an "it depends" answer.
And then for anybody who has gotten or who is going to get a masters in something, get their MBA, the master answer is; "It depends."
Because you have to understand the context and what you're saying is, as an interviewee, it is not your responsibility.
As the interviewer, that's what you have to do, is to guide him or her.
It's a combination, so can we say that one is, "Let's look at the camera the whole time"—but that's even kind of awkward.
So do you find that as a viewer, since you probably have viewed more Facebook Lives than I have, is there a certain format that resonates with you a bit more, understanding it's up to the interviewer?
Is there a combo that Mari likes, that has the Queen's stamp of approval?
Mari Smith: [Laughs] Okay, so if you're physically in the same space, I always like to have some interaction with the camera.
It actually to me, when someone says to me, "Just look at me the whole time," they'll be standing just off-camera and then they edit the interviewer's questions out and they are like, "Just look at me," I'm like, "I want to look at the camera, I want to look at the audience, I want to include them, I want to draw them in."
I know I just really come alive when I am making eye contact with a camera. For some reason it comes naturally to me, I have probably practiced like we were talking about earlier, just practice, practice.
I would say the sweet spot is when you are physically in the same space as the interviewee and interviewer, maybe there's more than one interviewee, but you're making eye contact with one another, but then you're including the camera as if it's literally another person sitting there.
Ryan Foland: A third person, yeah. Okay, got it. I've got my notes on that.
Now here is, it's going to probably seem like it's coming from left field and that's because it is — I want to know your opinion on people who are live streaming from the driver's seat of their car.
I'm not going to say anything, I want to know what you think about that.
Mari Smith: I think it's a big no, no. I really do. It's funny because occasionally I will do stories when I'm in the car and I always make a point, I only ever do it in the passenger seat, and I'll make a point, I'll say and I'll even turn the camera on and I'll say, "My partner's driving”, “Christopher is driving," and I'll turn the camera to show them.
Because I have had a few folks in the days when Facebook Live first became a thing that people could clearly see I was in the car and they'd make these derogatory comments so that, "Oh my gosh, I should never make assumptions," I am like, "I could point out, clearly, I am not driving."
Ryan Foland: Good. I'm still amazed that people still do that. Now let's take the driving out of it, let's say the people are aware.
I love the fact that you're doing it from the passenger seat by the way and you're calling it out just to create that safe zone.
But what about like the car is not moving, the car is off, using the car as sort of your mini studio. Any thoughts on that, one way or the other? Take driving out of it.
Mari Smith: I love that, I love that.
I think the acoustics inside of a car are ideal for audio, and oftentimes, depending on where you're parked up, you can get some great lighting through the front windshield too, so I think it's great.
I've done that many times myself.
Ryan Foland: Because sometimes I think with the Live, you really have to find a safe place to do it.
And sometimes that can be the one thing that will be the excuse that makes you not go Live, right.
But if the Queen of Facebook Live says it's okay to Facebook live in your car when you're not driving, then we're taking away that excuse!
Mari Smith: Indeed! Right.
Ryan Foland: Because that's one of the things that stopped me for a while, was literally just like, "Well, I don't feel like I have a good place to film," and that's just such an easy excuse.
In preparation for a kind of crazy goal of an 8 hour live stream which I did, it ended up being 8 hours and 22 minutes that's a whole other story. I forced myself to just like take that excuse away and I just started to go live whenever, wherever, as a way to remove that excuse.
What do you think the top three excuses are that people will make, or that they say to themselves for not going live?
Mari Smith: Well, I actually know this because I surveyed my audience.
Gear: Not knowing the lighting, microphone, camera, software. Not knowing what platform to use.
Confidence: Differentiation, not knowing how to really stand out.
But the number one, it's not just fear so much, this is just like an excuse, the reasons for not doing live as much, or even just video, it's time.
People have this perception that everything takes time, and it does, it definitely does take time, there is no question.
But there are simple ways to do it, and I know for us women, we're going to get camera-ready, hair, makeup, wardrobe accessory, the works—and then you plan your Live and then you're also going to block off maybe another hour after that and do some video clips.
Facebook wants 3-minutes or more if possible and then you repurpose them across all your social channels, you can intersperse some stock content.
I love a platform called Wave, wave.video, I'm an ambassador for them for almost 2.5 years now.
Super, super easy, simple time-saving way to create more video content. Especially if you've been on camera. I was just doing this the other day, where I go live, I've got now an hour-long Live, and I can have that cut up into all kinds of clips, add some text overlay and there you go— I've got lots more video clips.
Ryan Foland: Brilliant! Brilliant, I say.
Okay, I've been really harnessing myself to not throw myself into a series of accents. I'm inspired by your accent.
I just think it adds a nice little—it's not icing on the cake because the icing is already there, it's the little decorative stars on top that draw your attention too, that you want to make sure you have that piece of slice.
I've been resisting my urge to go a little bit accent-y because I'm sure it would be all over the place.
Let's transition into the business of speaking, and this is not the type of podcasts who are like, "How do you make $10K in 10 weeks?"
Mari Smith: In 10 minutes.
Ryan Foland: "In 10 minutes. With just one Facebook Live. And act now."
Now it's really just trying to be a realistic look behind the scenes, and I'm curious if you have any advice.
And again, I like the same advice you gave before which is whether you are a beginner or an intermediate or an advanced — practice, right.
So are there sections of advice in the business of speaking, whether it's getting more stages, actually getting a fee or increasing your fee?
Some of the things that maybe stick out in your mind that you find yourself repeating over and over because you have the answer, but people seem to be looking for a different answer.
Mari Smith: Yeah, I know this is an area that I absolutely love to mentor people and particularly women, up and coming women speakers of all ages, and it's something I've done for quite some time.
Especially in conjunction with social media, because people come to me like, "Mari, I really want to get more speaking gigs."
"Oh, what do you speak on?"
Whatever it is, right, so social media, marketing, or whatever their thing is.
And I'll look at their social profiles, I'll look at their Twitter bio, their Facebook page, the About section, email signature, and nowhere does it say that they're a speaker.
Okay, number one tip, you've got to tell people you're a speaker.
Include that keyword everywhere, public speaker, keynote speaker, whatever you want, professional speaker, get that out there.
And just doing some SEO too, YouTube is the number 2 search engine. Get some clips of you speaking, with lots of keywords in there.
You've got SlideShare.net owned by — actually is it not owned by LinkedIn?
Ryan Foland: Yeah, I think LinkedIn gobbled that one up, yeah.
Mari Smith: So you do some slides, put them up there, and just really have it be that when people Google your topic you're going to come up in conjunction with being a speaker on that topic.
Another big tip, and we've referenced this in the previous section, which is doing virtual speaking.
So when I was first getting going with my speaking career, it was in the early 2000's, I was doing a lot of business coaching, success coaching, I worked with a guy called T. Harv Eker with his peak potentials and "Millionaire Mind", and great, great seminars, and I was a coach for his business for several years as an independent contractor, and I also did a lot of speaking.
My first information product was called, “Email That Sizzles”, about email marketing, and that came out in 2003.
I would get invited to do presentations on summits, multi-speaker online summits, or being a guest on a webinar.
Podcasts weren't quite as popular as they are now back 15 years ago: but just any opportunity to speak.
Whether just the audio, on camera, on stage, whether paid or not paid, that for me was just a wonderful leg up to really get my name and my face out there and my content and my style and all of those opportunities led to more opportunities and more invitations.
Another one I want to put in place here is that we're talking about technology a lot today. We're in 2 different locations, we're using technology to do this interview, it would be the same if we were on camera.
At the same time, Ryan, I've said this for years that there's no amount of sophisticated technology that will ever, ever, ever take the place of live and in person, where you can look in the person's eyes, shake their hand, read their body language, feel their energy.
So then, the reason I'm bringing that up is I know that a huge part of success, a big factor of success in my own career, especially in speaking, is investing in masterminds, networking groups, opportunities, where I've had to buy my own ticket, I've invested multiple, 6 probably even 7 figures over the years on paying my way to really meet and greet high-level fellow speakers and thought leaders and authors and just be in the right place at the right time, as they say.
Ryan Foland: Interesting. Well, there's a lot to unpack there.
So number one, I love that you enjoy helping female speakers. I'm a big fan of supporting women, especially when it's on the stage.
Tell me the current status place right now?
Because I've heard it from all kinds of people, the stats or whatnot, but I feel like there are not as many female speakers as there should be.
There are the obvious reasons why, I think there's a lot of inherent suppression, but isn't now like the opportune time for those women who feel like they are meant for the stage, or they want to take the stage, this is really the time. It's not the year of the woman, it's just like the time of the woman.
Do you see that and like, how do you rattle their cages and be like, "Come on, we can tell you, but you need to get up there, you need to go for it."
Mari Smith: Yeah, okay, so I've got to give a shout out to my friends at Unbounce, they are the landing page creation company, and I spoke at their conference a couple of years ago now.
It's called "Call to Action in Vancouver." And they have a policy of 50/50, 50% female, 50% male speakers.
And their approach to that actually ended up spawning a whole other conference around helping women speakers and to mentoring them.Their whole marketing team getting together with the females and the males and just really empowering. Actually they have, you can probably Google this, "There aren't enough qualified women speakers and other garbage excuses for why your marketing department isn't hiring female speakers".
So, interestingly enough, it's really — I have this conversation with Mike Stelzner almost every year too, it's at Social Media Marketing World and lots of others who speak it to Hubspot's Inbound—
Ryan Foland: Wait, we should come up with a new "unbound".
Mari Smith: I was thinking about "unbounding".
Ryan Foland: The partnership between Unbound and Inbound, yes. I'm speaking Inbound this year, so I'm going to bring that up, I am going to say let's do an unbound.
Mari Smith: Yeah, I know. Scott Stratten would be into that, he does his UnMarketing.
Anyway, I think there are so many aspects here, I think the number one approach that women speakers, up and coming, established, wherever you are on the path, is to make sure you always speak with good purpose.
Because the moment that women start going, "There's not enough speakers. Why is it all men? That's not a panel, that's a manel," Have you heard that one before?
Ryan Foland: Never, oh my gosh. Okay, you heard it here.
Mari Smith: And I don't need to prove to people that I know they get upset, but the way forward is to lead by example.
One way to do that is when you have an opportunity to refer a fellow female speaker, or if you're male and you know a female speaker, of course, is to do that. To really help people, you talk them up, speak with good purpose, have some great female speakers on certain topics that you can refer, for example.
Ryan Foland: I think that's all great. Do you know Samantha Kelly, also known as the Tweeting Goddess?
Mari Smith: I sure do.
Ryan Foland: We had so much fun on this podcast, and I’m just so inspired by what she's doing and her support for women, so immediately I am like, you ladies need to connect, like you're from the same royal cloth, right? She is the Tweeting Goddess and you're the Queen, the Queen is ordained from the gods and so there you go.
Mari Smith: I spoke at her conference in Dublin a couple of years ago, she is just a delight, nice lady.
Ryan Foland: She is. Okay, so that's really great.
The biggest nugget that I took there that men can do, because I'm listening for things that I can do as a man, and it's referring women to the stages.
I think that's just a great way to look at helping yourself get onto more stages because if you support the ladies, knowing that they should be half of the stages, then it's like it will all come full cycle.
As a speaker who is a man, you need to have part of your brand be supporting female speakers.
That is so important, and so many men out there, especially the successful ones, they are very much into that, and I think, yes, women need to lead by example, but men need to also help to lead by example in the same way.
So I'm glad we talked about that.
Mari Smith: Likewise.
Ryan Foland: I want to go back to one thing that you said that you were originally interested in, which is the connection between people and technology.
You talked about this concept of using Facebook Live and getting out there in this digital mix.
I want to know the future that you see with the connection between the digital stage and live streaming.
Because I know some people that are now starting to sell keynotes, let's call them Zoom notes because they're literally selling high fee tickets, talks, keynotes across the world but within a live streaming platform, within Zoom or within something that's private to this industry.
What is your take on that, and do you really see that continuing to get legs?
Mari Smith: Oh, absolutely.
So for example, one of my favorite experts there is Dr. Joe Dispenza, and he has a book called "Becoming Supernatural" along with tons of other books, and it's really about taking control of your brain and utilizing your feelings and envisioning, and meditating, and he’s just a genius, really great guy.
So just recently I had signed up for a broadcast he was doing. I think it was out of Germany, although he is U.S.-based.
And exactly to your point, I mean there was a fee attached to it. There was quite a lot of logistics to make sure that only paid and signed up and logged in people had access to this presentation.
I absolutely think it is the way of the future.
What I really enjoy is when there is a live physical event which you can attend or speak at, and then, in addition, there are virtual tickets.
I am seeing a lot of conferences will do that, like our friends at Digital Marketer, with traffic and conversion. Social Media Marketing World does the same thing, although, Traffic Conversion, they do actually sell live streaming tickets, and I love that.
F8 was just the other week, Facebook's F8 developer conference. And that's free but they had like five thousand people there this year, and you can go and just log on, and there you can catch Zuckerberg doing his keynote from the comfort of your home or office, and I totally think that this is a massive trend upward.
Ryan Foland: Good, okay, I like that.
And this ties in with the fact that you should get the right gear. You should overcome your fear, you should figure out your differentiation, and you should make the time, because it's almost like the people are chasing after the physical stages and they are just focused on those keynotes or these talks at associations, like as you are focused on that, this upcoming crowd or those people who are early adopters are going to pass you by, virtually being at more places and more time, gain more credibility, and have sort of first-mover advantage.
So the question is — has the movement started? Is it in the middle? I'm assuming it's in the beginning, but for some people who are like, "Well, I'm not there yet," when is a train leaving for this?
Mari Smith: Oh what a great way to put it. I would say that it's still in the station.
Ryan Foland: Okay.
Mari Smith: I'm not kidding, because there's a long way to go, but most people are going to go and they see a physical event, but I think more and more people are starting to wake up and go,
"Wait a minute, I could make just as much money with this event by doing a broadcast, or I could double up," and yes, definitely there's a whole other layer of complexity.
I have done this many times myself over the years, where you've got a physical event, you bring in a whole expert team to handle the broadcasting, and then you also need someone to be handling the live chat room.
Then the number one most important thing is the strength of the Internet. If the Internet goes down, it's just a mess.
Ryan Foland: It's like the lights out. I didn't really think about that but yeah, like a live stream dies with a bad Wi-Fi.
Mari Smith: Yeah, yeah and if you think, "Oh, the signal is really strong," but then you get 200 people in the room, or like 2,000 people in the room and they are like, "Oh." The load just went up.
Ryan Foland: The train just came off the tracks, just sitting on a side, everybody's just like hanging out in a sideways train.
Well, Mari, this has been a ton of fun and I'm proud of myself for not jumping into my bad accents.
I'm excited that we talked about how to support women. I'm excited that I'm open to getting on the Facebook Live train.
I think that one's already gone. I actually have to probably get a horse or a motorcycle and like speed up to it and then figure out how to latch onto the caboose and then climb onto it, I feel like that train has left the station.
Mari Smith: Yeah, yeah, you might need to get into a LearJet or something.
Ryan Foland: Time travel. I need to go back to 2006 and retroactively get involved with Facebook.
But I'm inspired like, how do we, for people like me who literally need a Learjet to catch up to the Facebook Live train, how do you inspire me to buy that ticket?
Mari Smith: Exactly! What I was just going to say is that you could stand out instantly, immediately, by having that professional-looking lighting. Well lit, nice background, greenscreen, doesn't really matter, the focus is simply on you, but you just invest in a good camera.
I have a SonyA6000, it was like $500 or $600, and just test. You do some talks in a private group or with just a few friends and you will instantly stand out and talk about things that people want to know about. So giving tips and not being afraid to give your best stuff away.
And also I will tell you, you're very entertaining, we met in person before and you are funny, and you're fun to follow on Twitter and you have a lot of great things to share professionally and personally.
So just being yourself and having that entertainment factor, people love to be entertained on a video and on Facebook live.
Especially on Live, because now they're hanging out with you, they are one on one and they're chit-chatting and you call them out, or you put their name up on the screen and they just love you.
Ryan Foland: Gotcha. Okay. I literally feel like I had some time with the Queen and I'm just listening and I'm like, "Yes, the Queen knows best."
And I think I'm going to definitely watch your Netflix documentary when it comes out, I'm going to check out MariSmith.com/videokit, I think I got that now.
And I would normally ask where to connect with you and I know that's Facebook, but is there a certain place within Facebook that you would point people to, or like how would people who want to get on that Learjet or get into the train that is still at the station, what's the best way for them to connect with you?
Mari Smith: Certainly, they can go to facebook.com/marismith, it's the one with the blue check. That's my business page.
I'm pretty active on Twitter, like you, Twitter.com/MariSmith.
Instagram they can DM me, I love DM's on Instagram, Mari_Smith over there.
Marismith.com or they can just Google me as I like to say.
Ryan Foland: So, you hear that people? You now have no excuse. I know everybody wants to meet the Queen and you now have a chance to do that.
Mari, this has been totally fun. So I feel like this was a live stream but just in audio format.
Mari Smith: Yes, yes, I agree. Well, I'm glad it was audio-only because I'm really not camera-ready right now.
Ryan Foland: Me neither, but that's okay.
So hopefully some of that resonated, I'm sure that it did. If you're listening and you made it this far and you're like, "Wow, this was fun, this is cool," please share it, subscribe to the channel, definitely tag both of us on Twitter, we'll have fun conversations, I like the fact that we both are really there, we're not just sort of posting but we engage.
And other than that, I have nothing else to say. So, Your Majesty, I appreciate your time today.
Mari Smith: Likewise. Thank you so much for having me.
Ryan Foland: All right, everybody, we will see you on another World of Speakers episode soon. Until then, you have plenty more that you can go binge.
A bit about World of Speakers
World of Speakers is a bi-monthly podcast that helps people find their own voice, and teaches them how to use their voice to develop a speaking business.
We cover topics like:what works versus what doesn't, ideas on how to give memorable presentations, speaking tips, and ideas on how to build a speaking business.
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