It’s not everyday that we have ROYALTY on the Fierce Feminine Leadership podcast.

Dubbed “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith has turned her keen understanding of the social media marketplace into a world-renowned empire.

Year after year, Forbes has named her one of the world’s top Social Media Power Influencers. She is SO distinguished in her field that Facebook even asks for her help. In 2015, she was headhunted by Facebook to facilitate and teach the companies “Boost your Business” series of live training events across the US.

On today’s episode of Fierce Feminine Leadership, Mari and I discuss:

  • Mari’s journey from her childhood in a small quaker community in British Columbia to becoming one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing.
  • The difference between relationship marketing and traditional marketing — and how you can use it to boost YOUR business.
  • What Radical Strategic Visibility is and how you can use it to build your platform and boost your visibility — even if you’re painfully shy
  • How you and your business can navigate Facebook’s algorithm changes.
  • How to use proximity partners to elevate your brand AND your reach
  • And much, much more.

Mari is a natural born leader with a fascinating rise to the top of the world’s biggest social media platform. She is honest and real and there is NO WAY you’ll leave this conversation without feeling inspired to up your own social media game.

Listen here.

Full Podcast Transcript:

Eleanor Beaton: You are listening to Fierce Feminine Leadership. Episode Number 267 seven with Mari Smith the reigning queen of Facebook.

Voice Over: Welcome to Fierce Feminine Leadership: The Success Podcast for Women in Business. Each week we feature interviews and advice to help you step into your power and lead your way. Now here’s your host women’s leadership expert Eleanor Beaton.

Eleanor Beaton: Hello there fierce ones. Eleanor Beaton here, and welcome back to another episode of Fierce Feminine Leadership: The Success Podcast for Ambitious Women in Business. This is episode number 267 and today we’re going to be talking with Mari Smith, who’s the queen of Facebook. And actually think she’s also the queen of relationship marketing. We’re going to talk about that inside the interview.

We’re going to be talking about how this woman who has ultimately become one of the world’s foremost experts in Facebook and social media, went from Scotland to Canada back to Scotland and ultimately wound up in San Diego where she discovered Facebook and has in the ensuing decade plus really become one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook and has built an enviable empire in the space so she’s going to take us behind the scenes of of her transformation and her business evolution. She’s going to share her take on some of the recent privacy breaches inside Facebook. She’s been quoted in media around the world including the BBC with her sort of take an expertise on that. And she’s also going to share the driving force that really has allowed her to build a position of preeminence inside the world of social influence, an incredible empire loyal, massive, social following of people who truly trust and crave the content that she’s creating on a weekly basis, multiple times per week. So she’s going to take us through that as well.

And one of the things about Mari Smith, this is the second time I’ve had the opportunity to interview her she’s so real. And this is something that I have to say, I have through my coaching mentoring speaking, this podcast had the opportunity to connect with so many powerhouse women leaders and one of the things that I’ve noticed is that when they are at the top of their game like Mari is, one of the things that really allows them to get to the top of their game is a sort of deep confidence. And when you hear Mari, you are going to hear a leader who is powerful, authentic and so very comfortable in her own skin. And so I’m really looking forward sharing that interview with you.

I’m recording this actually in the evening. I’ve got to help my kids with homework after this. I’ve got to pack because I’m hitting the road, it’s wheels up tomorrow, heading to New York City. I’m going to be facilitating a retreat for a group of very high level women entrepreneurs.

So these are women who have founded incredibly successful businesses that are doing multiple millions per year in revenue, very high level entrepreneurs and really looking forward to my time with them and to facilitating this retreat with them. And then after that it’s wheels up again to Boca Raton, Florida, where I’m going to be speaking at the Cloud Summit 2018. So doing the talk about women in cloud computing and then from there going to a conference in Orlando. It’s actually a conference for interior decorators, so really take a look there at business and leadership and marketing strategy.

So really looking forward to that. We’re heading into the early summer season. I’ve got a couple of days open this summer for VIP strategy days. So this is an opportunity for you and I to sit down together face to face and really map out a strategic vision for your company. If you’re an entrepreneur or potentially your department if you’re leading inside an organization, and ultimately your career. So if this is something that you’d like to explore, head on over to my website and you can fill out a form, it’s a brief form and you can have a no obligation call with Jennifer from my team and if it’s a good fit I’d love to work with you.

All right so let’s get on to Mari Smith. If you haven’t heard of Mari Smith you’re going to want to check her out. She’s often referred to as the queen of Facebook. She’s considered one of the world’s foremost experts on Facebook marketing and social media. She’s a Forbes top social media power influence, the author of the new relationship marketing and the co-author of Facebook marketing an hour a day. Forbes recently described Mari as the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks her for her help. She’s a recognized Facebook partner. Facebook head hunted and hired Mari to lead the booster business series of live events across the U.S. She’s an in-demand speaker and travels the world to keynote and train at major events. Her digital marketing agency provides professional speaking training and consulting services on Facebook and Instagram marketing best practices for Fortune 500 companies, brands, small and medium sized businesses and direct sales organizations. She’s also an expert webinars and live video broadcast. Host and serves as a brand ambassador for numerous leading global companies and she’s also just a really great human being with a fabulous sense of humor. So without further ado here is Mari Smith the reigning queen of Facebook.

Eleanor Beaton: Mari Smith, welcome to Fierce Feminine Leadership.

Mari Smith: Thank you so much I’m happy to be here.

Eleanor Beaton: So you are known as the queen of Facebook. One of the world’s premier social influencers. And I want to get started, we will get to Facebook in a moment, but I would like you to take us back to the beginning. You were born in Scotland. You spent your childhood in a small rural Quaker community in British Columbia. When you think about your upbringing, what were some of the experiences or insights you had as a child that shaped the leader and influencer you would ultimately become?

Mari Smith: Oh gosh, you know it’s because they’re so diametrically opposed. I was painfully shy as a child. I was always feeling self-conscious. My parents never really had any money. I basically wore hand-me-down and homemade clothes and my parents were, my dad in particular was a bit eccentric. But I suppose, I mean really looking back, my dad was an incredible influence on me. He was an entrepreneur all of his life. He basically emigrated from Scotland to Canada when he was 21 and he was on a little moped. Not even motorcycle, moped. Went over in a boat and hardly any money and just made a whole new life for himself. And he was a baked and then also then he moved from East Coast Canada over to a very rural community in B.C. with my mom, he met my mom who was also from Scotland, her family had moved out when she was younger. And they met and married and started their family and then moved out to B.C. and we’re in this tiny rural community where my dad then, he built two houses. He just literally learned from reading books and I don’t know how he’d even did it, he really was a natural born leader in his own way and very creative and very, very resourceful and self driven. Really a self-made man in his own way. My parents end up getting divorced when I was 12 and one older sister and three youngers and my dad got custody of them. He was just very much more of a parent house parent than my mom and we moved over to Scotland in 1978 and my dad got custody of all of us. And so yeah, it’s funny because even as I’m sharing this with you it’s almost like by osmosis growing up as a child, much as I sometimes had this love-hate relationship, you know I was angry at him for so many years for taking a so far away from her mom, she stayed again and remarried. But in many, many ways I had enormous admiration for my father and he was incredibly influential, a very intelligent man.

And then I began to be in my teens, I started to do my own studying, and I did these courses, long distance courses and just learning how to be more self-reliant myself. I always have loved the personal development and growth and learning from people like Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay or Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra. I just love reading their books and being inspired. And my dad was always a reader too and he always encouraged us to to think independently, think for ourselves.

Eleanor Beaton: And so I’m hearing that sort of resilience and that autodidacts quality of kind of teaching yourself. My understanding is that you left school fairly young and went on your own path of learning and discovery to get where you are right now. Do I have that right?

Mari Smith: I did, I did. It’s so interesting, the story that happened as an elementary school in British Columbia with my older sister. She and I are 16 months apart. But my dad homeschooled us until we were about five or six, and then we began regular elementary school and he had brought my sister and I up kind of the similar educational level and so I ended up skipping a grade in elementary school. So by the time we emigrated to Scotland she and I were really in the same class. And so my dad asked when we got to Scotland, my girls here, can you give them a task, can you make sure that they’re going to be able to be fine in this grade and so I did. I started school, they call it middle school in the US, but it was high school right when you’re you’re 13 you go into high schools, so I was always a year younger than my peers in my class, so I left school as soon as I could, just before my 16th birthday but I was already one year ahead in terms of education. But, my dad just never had any money. I couldn’t wait to leave school and leave home and have my own job make my own money.

Eleanor Beaton: Oh got it. That makes sense. It was the quest for financial independence.

Mari Smith: It was. It it took me a long time to figure it out.

Eleanor Beaton: Well tell us a little bit about that. Because, you leave school, you forge out on your own in Scotland. Tell us about the transition from from Edinburgh, from Scotland, to San Diego.

Mari Smith: Sure sure sure. Well, actually I bought my first house, we call them flats in Scotland, a flat is an apartment, a little one bedroom apartment. I bought that for something like 20000 pounds when I was 18. It’s a really funny story. My dad was actually getting married again and I didn’t go on to well with his… It didn’t work out, they actually did not get married, but she was getting ready to move in with my dad and I’m like, I’m moving out. Bought an apartment and that lasted about a year and I’m like, oh my goodness, this whole grown up thing and paying bills and mortgages is a lot more work than I thought. So I sold my flat and moved back with dad.

And then over the next few years I kind of left home and came back, left home and came back, for several times. My dad was always gracious and all my sisters are and Israel. But then I was also an employee and never never ran my own business I had a variety of different jobs and anything from computer sales, marketing, lawyer, I work with a lot of attorneys, lawyers offices. I was a legal secretary for many years. And I had these two loves. I just had this parallel two loves throughout my entire career. Which is my love of people and my love of technology. So it’s like, what makes people tick? I love psychology. I love  behavioral analysis. Like the Myers Briggs and DISC. There’s another great one called the REISS desire profile.

I just I love understanding people, what makes me tick what makes others tick. On the other side of the technology, the Internet, is like really. I started building websites in late 1997/98, and I’m spending all this time, I thought that’s it I’m going to branch out I’m finally going to launch my own business. I want to have a business teaching and training a public speaking and body language skills and personal development for attorneys and began to lead these classes. And I had a whole marketing plan, I had business cards, I had a website. Just going into my bank to get small business loan to fund some of the startup costs, and that’s when I got the invitation in late 98 to come to San Diego from a friend I hadn’t seen for about five years. And he’s like, “You know Mari, what are you up to right now? I think you’d really enjoy it over here.”

I was like — “Wait a minute. San Diego, California, those people that I’ve been following for years — Louise Hey, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Jack Campfield, don’t live in that kind of area? They’re going to be my neighbors?” And so I was like, absolutely. You know I just was flat broke at the time, I just getting ready to launch this business plan and you know I had about 50 British pounds to my name. About 100 dollars. And I’m like, absolutely. I’m down that. I could feel in every cell my body, this is a defining moment. I’m supposed to go. I’m not supposed to start my business in Scotland, I’m supposed to go to America and start it over there and sure enough that is what I did.

Eleanor Beaton: So tell us about it. I mean, that’s a huge risk to follow that instinct to go to San Diego. What happened next?

Mari Smith: So, I came to San Diego and I knew this one person, he was so gracious. I basically stayed in this very small condo with him and his wife and his young stepson and they were just really, really good friends. I was there for about six weeks and then ended up finding a place to stay. But what I did is because I didn’t have papers, I hadn’t applied for any kind of visa ahead of time, I came in on a 30 day return ticket — could not obviously buy a one way ticket because I didn’t have any papers just to stay in the States. But I have a Canadian, because of my Canadian birth certificate and passport. I actually think I’d let my Canadian passport had long expired and so I had to go through a process of renewing that. And then also my British passport.

And then, just through a series of magical synchronicities, which I love all that definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity. And sure enough, just using intuition, being very proactive, going out every day, joining my local Toastmasters. Going to, we used to have the learning annex, I’d go to different classes. And then, my friend’s wife she actually said to me, she woke up one morning, she says “Mari, I could barely sleep last night. I’m supposed to introduce you to this friend of mine, this long friend of mine. A gentleman called Steve. He’s very well-connected to San Diego and he’d introduce you to him. Because she trusted her intuition, I met with Steve. He introduced me to this lady called Carol. Carol ended up being this catalyst for me in San Diego  and she introduced me to my immigration attorney who I bartered. I built him a website in exchange for my legal fees.

Eleanor Beaton: Very resourceful.

Mari Smith: Yeah. Carol and she gave me a place to stay. I ended up doing work for her for a couple of years. She’s still a very, very dear friend almost 20 years later and she was just an absolute instrumental in helping me get my start in this country.

Eleanor Beaton: So tell us then about how and under what circumstances did you first encounter Facebook, and what was it about that social platform that that attracted you in the beginning?

Mari Smith: Well, so again, if we go from like 99 all the way to 2006, I had a variety of different focuses but it was predominantly around internet marketing, e-commerce email marketing, information product creation. I was doing a little bit of like, personal life relationship coaching in addition to the whole internet marketing coaching side of it. It was these two, again there’s my two loves. I remember sitting in a class one time with a mentor of mine and she’s like, Mari you’re two split. You have to choose. Are you going down the path of being a relationship coach, or are you doing this information email marketing thing?

And I swear, literally within a short period of time, somebody called me up says Mari, I think you should be on the beta test team of this friend of mine who’s got a Facebook app. He’s looking for testers. And I’m like, “What is it?” She’s like, “Well, you can take and teach classes.” It wasn’t a game. It wasn’t like a frivolous game. It was a series app. And interestingly it was the exact same friend, it was Carol from back in 99. As I saw, a very good friend.

Eleanor Beaton: This Carol. She’s got a lot to answer for.

Mari Smith: She’s amazing. She was a good friend.

Eleanor Beaton: You heard about Facebook, your friend has invited you or told you about this beta test group. Let’s take it from there. What happened next?

Mari Smith: So I knew that I had to have a Facebook account in order to be on this beta test team for this new app. And it wasn’t a frivolous app it was where you could take and teach classes. It was called Podclass, still around today. And I thought, ok gosh, I better set up an account. And I had been on LinkedIn and myspace, I just never understood MySpace. It just never floated my boat. And there was a few other like online networking. There was something called Rise and Ecademy or something like that. And so my general opinion of what these platforms were like was not very high. But I just was so incredulous when I pulled up, it was another one of those magical defining moments in life and I just knew that I was supposed to hitch my wagon to it and just literally became an evangelist for the platform, an unofficial evangelist. And I also thought, you know a little bit like back in the day in the 90s when you had AOL and it had that little audible alert that would say you’ve got mail.

Eleanor Beaton: So exciting and rewarding to hear.

Mari Smith: It was. It was so gratifying, you felt so important and so hip and high tech. And then similarly, fast forward a decade or so and you’ve got Facebook where it was like, you’ve got a friend. And you know, I started doing interviews and I would reach out to these different people whom I’d long admired, and internet marketers and authors and speakers, and I’d message them on Facebook and they’d answer me right away. And one guy in particular, an internet multi, multimillionaire and I was chatting away to him and he’s like, Mari you know I have like 3 VAs and a secretary and like all these gatekeepers, nobody gets a hold of me. He said, we would not be doing this interview if he’d tried to reach me any other way.

And I just kept having experiences like that. And when there’s something to this, this is magic. This is going to just keep growing. I’ve gotta show people how to use this for business. And it’s funny because from the day I ever go on Facebook, which by the way was Star Wars Day, and May the Fourth be with you, May the 4th of ’07. Coming on my 11 year anniversary, from that day onwards I have just always utilized the platform for business purposes first. I keep the personal secondary because we all were able to connect long before Facebook, obviously it’s supposed to be for personal. But you know, I use a secret group for my different family members and I definitely use messenger for family members. But it’s not like, if Facebook going away tomorrow, I’d be like, oh my gosh how I’m going to talk to my family and friends? For me anyway it’s for professional networking and then of course you’ve got the ads platform and it just affords advertisers this incredible, incredible targeting you know. So I just fell in love with it back then. My passion enthusiasm has never fluctuated, has never really waned in 11 years.

Eleanor Beaton: So you start on this platform 11 years ago and you become the the queen of Facebook when you look with a massive audience have built a highly successful business. You speak all around the world. When you think about, you know I’m putting my business hat on here, when you look back on your trajectory as an entrepreneur with expertise rooted in social influence, online marketing and the particular platform of Facebook, what would you say have been the three most most significant strategies that have really propelled you forward as an entrepreneur?

Mari Smith: Oh gosh. OK. I love this question. So I would say top of the list with a doubt is focus. I’ve always loved the word focused used as an acronym for: follow one course until successful. And it’s funny because earlier when I was saying to you that had this mentor said, Mari you’ve got to pick one. you’re either a relationship coach or or you’re an internet marketing coach. “I’m like no, no, I want to do them both. It’s people and tech. It’s relationships and the Internet. I know I can do both.

And so then when Facebook came along, I’m like: focus, focus. I’m just going to focus exclusively on Facebook, this is my thing, I’m going all in on it. I want to teach people how to build relationships on the Internet. People would say to me, oh my god it’s like social media was made for you. So I say focus number one.

Number two is perseverance, which is very closely related. And just being willing to be everywhere. I coined this term, radical strategic visibility, and that means that you’re seen everywhere, but not everywhere, but in all the right places, at the right times, by the right people. And people would say to me, I want to be a speaker, I want to get out there and get myself out there and I would go to their bio and I’d see that it was so confusing. They had like five or six different things in there they were doing. You got to just pick one thing, go with it and keep at it.

So focus, perseverance. And I would say the third one is mentors. And get the right mentors and make sure who you’re associating with is lifting you up. One mentor of mine had this wonderful term she called “proximity partners” and that’s who like who you are teaming up with, who you are doing a joint venture with, who are you being interviewed by, who are you interviewing? And you can really elevate your brand and your reach and your perception of your brand in the marketplace like this past week when I just was being interviewed because of the Facebook privacy concerns and Mark Zuckerberg testifying in Congress and I got to be on BBC Newsnight. And I was posting about that all over the all over my social. And because BBC is a wonderful proximately partner.

Eleanor Beaton: They sure are.

Mari Smith: You know, just to not be afraid, especially for us women to be… there’s this fine line to being braggadocios and tooting your own horn and just being very strategic in having people celebrate in your own success. Tons of friends and family, all my family in Scotland, they’re taking pictures of their TV and going, “Oh my on god, Mari’s on the TV.”

Eleanor Beaton: It’s it’s huge you know. And I want to ask you about this idea of radical strategic visibility for somebody who started her life as painfully shy. I think many of us struggle with this idea of being visible and of being seen as much as maybe we need to. Very often the biggest enemy of a small business owner is obscurity. Can you share a little bit about how you, at least initially, prepared to be as visible as you’ve since become.

Mari Smith: Wow, it’s interesting, even as you were asking me that question Eleanor I could feel this deep tugging at my heart strings. Even I’ve got a little teary eyed, because an aspect of it is, it comes with time, with maturity, it comes with confidence and self love. I mean, Louise Hay, I love her work and just being able to look in your own eyes in the mirror and to know that you’re enough. And to not compete and compare yourselves to others. I said I grew up with four sisters and we were always vying for dad’s attention in some ways it was a very competitive environment. But I think over time, when you just do good work, you have a good deep connection to source, to God, to spirit, to universe, whatever that might be for folks. I always like to say that you don’t have a dream in your heart you can’t fulfill. And I know that I have a message to bring out to the world, to be positive and uplifting like someone like Oprah is someone I very much aspire to, and to just be able to keep on your path and trust and ask for guidance and to know that when you are visible that, whether it’s on stage or physical stage in front of one or 1000 or 10000 people, or you’re broadcasting on Facebook Live, you’re doing a virtual or you’re doing a mainstream television interview, it’s just — always be yourself. It’s like Dr Sue says, there’s nobody youer than you. And to just know that you have your part to play, so long as you’re above ground you have got your part to play in this world, there’s a purpose for your life, nobody can fill it. It’s interesting, when I do go back to think of my inner child, and she comes with me everywhere. Everyone of us has an inner child, and I call my Marzi, and sometimes she gets a little shy still and she gets unsure. And I’m like, come on the Marzi, we can do this. And just talk to your inner child and take amazingly good care of yourself. Self care to me is so high on my list and I will push it, I will push it right to the red zone where I don’t get enough sleep or I’m not exercising enough, and I’m like, come on, you can do it, one more day. And then it’s was like, OK, no, we got to take some deep rest. Not doing anything this weekend. Get off your phone, Mari. Go out in nature, have time with your partner, do some spiritual reconnection and and just refill my battery. And so I think part of it comes with age and maturity. But you know, there’s some old souls out there. You might be a youngster. You might be in your teens or your 20s and you’re totally resonating with what I’m saying right now, and that’s fine, that’s good. But this whole being willing to be out there and have a voice and have an opinion and know that you matter and you deserve to be heard.

Eleanor Beaton: One of the things that’s interesting about your story as you talk about you know how how you arrived here, is this idea of intuition. So there were moments where it was clear you knew you sort of had this gut feeling. No, I’m not meant to have this business in Scotland, I’m meant to go to San Diego. And yes, Facebook, this is it. This is a tool that is meant for me. And yes, I absolutely need to bring technology and relationships together. When you think about your own development as a leader and entrepreneur, how do you stay in that zone of being led, of trusting, versus pushing and doing. How do you kind of maintain that balance?

Mari Smith: Hmm, that’s a great question. Honestly there are some days when it is literally a daily discipline.

Eleanor Beaton: I’m so relieved to hear that.

Mari Smith: Because, in all transparency, there are days still when I’m, like oh my goodness Mari, isn’t it just easier to grow up and get a job and be a barista at Starbucks. This is so much work. But then as soon as that thought might flash through my head I’m like: Mari, you have a mission. You’ve grown this platform. You have a responsibility, but not in a burdensome way. Responsibility just means the ability to respond. I have this wonderful, glorious opportunity to impart wisdom and positivity and upliftment and see the good in others in that beautiful, beautiful words of wisdom from Marianne Williamson that as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. So things like that give me inspiration and help me to keep going. And even when it’s an effort to get up and get camera ready and try to stay on top of the millions of  changes that are happening on Facebook and to be able to translate that quickly and to then go on camera and share in a very simplified easy to understand way for my audience. It’s just… I just reminded myself, I once had my palms read by a wonderful article Beth Davis and she goes by the Hand Analyst, and we were sitting in the back of a seminar room one time, we were both speaking there and she’s like, here, give me your hand. I want to do a quick reading for you.

She says wow. She says, you have this gift of taking the complex, simplifying it and teaching others. I’m like. no way, that’s in my hands? Because that’s what I love to do. I just love. I love to teach. I love that aha moment in others when they go, Oh I get it. I understand it. Wow. I can never understand this point and now I get it. I know what to do with this setting, or this approach, or this strategy to make my facebook or social media marketing work. Or all the components that’s involved in that.

So, I just love. I really love what I do. And that’s what keeps me going. But that daily discipline, at times like I say, sometimes when it gets out of balance is usually when when I haven’t done myself care enough.

Eleanor Beaton: Yea, I get it. Now one of the things that’s interesting about your business is that for the last few years every, periodically every 6, 12, 18 months, a change in the algorithm, the Facebook algorithm, happens. Entrepreneurs, marketers, people who leverage Facebook get upset about it. How do you maintain that focus when so much of your business is around a platform that is continuously evolving and changing?

So, one of my books I wrote is called “The New Relationship Marketing: How to Build a Large, Loyal, Profitable Network Using the Social Web”. But the new relationship marketing, relationship marketing’s been around since like the 80s and it’s focused on that long term lifetime value of a customer, not just transactional. Traditional marketing is transaction. Close the sale, get onto the next one. Close the sale, get onto the next one. It’s about nuturing those relationships for a long time. I’ve had people on my e-mail list, they might be on for three years and then suddenly decide to buy. Or they’ve been following me on Facebook for a year and then suddenly they’re like: Mari. OK, I’ve decided I get all your stuff for free, it’s time for me to pay now. And I don’t have any attachment. I think the secret is to not be attached. To not think the minute someone gets on your list you have to start pushing and shoving and trying to sell them something and to just honor other folks journey’s. And so, really this whole concept of of being willing to nurture that relationship for the lifetime of the customer.

Eleanor Beaton: Got it. So I’d like to transition a bit. Facebook has come under scrutiny, pretty significant scrutiny, in the last few weeks with respect to potential security and data breaches and privacy breaches, I should say, and the impact that may have had on things like the U.S. election. What do you make of these what do you make of of the trouble that Facebook finds itself in right now?

Mari Smith: Well, literally for over a decade, Facebook has actually been “good” at retroactive PR. So something happens, something gets revealed, then they quickly try to go back and clean up and apologize and ‘we’re fixing it now’. They’ve done that numerous times. This is the grandest scale ever for the CEO Mark Zuckerberg to be in front of Congress and answering almost 10 hours of testimony. But I do think that Facebook’s made some grave mistakes. You know as I said earlier, my enthusiasm has never waned and it still hasn’t. I’m still just as much a lifetime admirer of Mark Zuckerberg. I think he’s a total visionary. I think that his grander vision of finding a cure for all diseases in the lifetime of his children is admirable and I hope he pulls it off. But in terms of really deeply honoring users privacy and making sure that measures are in place so that that data is not unethically utilized, which in the case of Cambridge Analytica and everything that happened there was several years ago and it turned out… I was one of the 86 million friends of friends who, one of my friends used that app, that’s your digital life. And so I log onto Facebook the other day and I see and I go to this, you can click on this link and it tells you. But I’m of the opinion, this is what I said on the BBC, I am of the opinion that, look you do anything online, everything, everything leaves a digital footprint. Everything on our phone, everything online. We have to be more responsible about that, as users, as citizens, as consumers. So that’s one hat that I wear I wear. And at the same time I’m right there in that camp like, yes and we deserve to have our privacy honored and treated with respect. Our data, anything that we’re using to share. Yes we can go check. I’m opting in. You can use my data. But if my data is being used without my permission, that’s where it gets into that, you know, there should be some regulations.

So I wear that hat, but I also wear the other hat, where it’s like, well I’m a business person. I’m a marketer. I use Facebook ads. And Facebook affords advertisers the most targeted parameters, granular, incredible granular targeting to reach any audience anywhere in the world pretty much. And so, it’s all done through user consent. You don’t even realize when they sign up nobody reads that lengthy, lengthy document. So it’s a watershed week, this whole week has been a watershed week for as a landmark we go down in history. They’ll make some changes. They’ll probably going to be some regulations. They’ve already made some pretty drastic changes in some ways. They severed relationships with third party data companies. They’ll be phased out over the next six months, but still there’ll be plenty of data that people share on Facebook. Maybe they’ll make it or you totally have to opt in, and I don’t know. Sheryl Sandberg said if they make a global opt out feature then that would look like a paid version of Facebook. She said hypothetically, bless her heart, that got all over the news when people think you had to pay for Facebook.

Eleanor Beaton: So what’s next for Mari Smith?

Mari Smith: What’s next for me? Oh super exciting. So I actually in the last several months began to work with a wonderful media agency out of New York and we are developing, they work predominately with television celebrities and so I’m actually working on launching several Web TV shows, a podcast, a new book, the new books title is going to be the saying that I’m known for for a decade now, which is: “Content is king but engagement is queen, and she rules the house.” So then we are we actually have a concept for a mainstream television show. We’ll be doing a pitch for that later in the year. And then a huge, huge focus on courses. I actualy have an enormous number of courses developed and created and taught by me and also in partnership with other experts and really having a full on online Mari Smith Academy and that people can learn from. So really excited. It’s a big, big, big year, a landmark year for me for sure.

Eleanor Beaton: Mari Smith, thank you so much for joining us on Fierce Feminine Leadership.

Mari Smith: My pleasure.

Voice Over: Fierce Feminine Leadership is executive produced and hosted by Eleanor Beaton. Technical producer is Kate Astrakhan. Content producers are Adrianne Alexander and Marie Hanifen. Special thanks to Kelly Fillman and Amy Bleser. Find Eleanor on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram @ Eleanor Beaton. Thank you for listening. Stay fierce.


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