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SMT Expert Series: Mari Smith Discusses the Growth of Short-Form Video, Facebook Marketing and Live-Streaming Tips



SMT Expert Series - Mari Smith

If you’ve spent any time researching or working in social media marketing, you’ve heard the name Mari Smith

A leading voice in the industry, Mari has been speaking at digital marketing events all around the world since 2007, and has worked with a broad range of well-known businesses to help them develop effective approaches to digital marketing, live-streaming, Facebook and Instagram ads and more. 

Mari has written books on the topic, has built a large online community around her tips and advice, and was even hired by Facebook at one stage to lead its ‘Boost Your Business’ events series, which was designed to help SMBs learn key Facebook marketing approaches.

These experiences have given Mari unique insight into key best practices and trends of note. We recently had a chance to ask Mari a few questions about the evolving digital marketing space.

Q: What do you think has been the most significant trend in social media marketing over the last few years?

MS: Short-form video, a la Stories, across Instagram and Facebook (and Messenger), and now Instagram Reels (which is also being rolled out on Facebook).

In 2016, Facebook said that it was running out of ad inventory in News Feed, which forced the company to look for additional content streams in which to place ads. That same year, the timing was ideal for Instagram to copy Snapchat’s popular ephemeral Stories content format.

Instagram Reels

As a marketer, it’s never really made sense to me to put effort into creating content that vanishes within twenty-four hours, however, we’ve all had to embrace this format, and it can indeed work extremely well to fuel “top of feed top of mind” awareness.

In addition, Stories can also be an even more intimate content format, as getting your audience to subsequently engage via DMs from Stories content is relatively easy. 

Q: Which platforms and/or features have produced the best results for your clients over the last 12 months?

MS: It’s a combo of Facebook Live and chatbots.

Facebook live-streaming videos get the best organic reach and engagement – but the key here is to be consistent. We have to ‘train’ the algorithms by broadcasting live on a regular basis – for example, once a week for a month – and then the organic reach will start to increase significantly.

So, you share some of your best content, education, tips, etc. via Facebook Live, but also combine that with calls-to-action that get your audience into the DMs, where you can implement chatbot sequences to maximize your opportunities. 

Q: Which feature/s do you believe are underrated from a marketing perspective?

MS: Facebook Groups. This is not necessarily a fit for all types of businesses, but groups can be incredibly powerful for building a fiercely loyal community. Definitely link your group to your Facebook Page, and have a clear purpose and ongoing reason for people to join.

For example, I’ve been running my own Social Scoop group on Facebook for many years, and over the past couple of years, it’s really taken on a life of its own. Members provide tremendous peer support, and my team and I contribute valuable tips, news, and updates.

Mari Smith's Social Scoop Facebook group

My group acts as my top of funnel lead magnet, while deepening bonds with my audience. 

Q: What’s the key, in your opinion, to an effective Facebook marketing strategy?

MS: I designed an evergreen model for generating measurable results on Facebook which stand the test of time, no matter what changes, updates and new features Mark Zuckerberg and his team introduce.

The basic approach here is simple: Content + Engagement + Conversion. Rinse. Repeat.

It all starts with excellent content that your audience craves, that they find tremendously valuable, and that they feel compelled to share with their own audiences. Then, engage regularly by replying to comments, acknowledging those shares, and embracing Facebook Live.

However, the key piece in the formula is always conversion. It’s vital to get your social media activity to ultimately generate traffic, leads and sales, and to do this, you need to be adding those all-important CTAs, and making it clear and obvious what you sell, where to find out more, how to buy, etc. 

Q: What’s a key lesson you’ve learned that’s helped improve your approach to live-streaming?

MS: Using the right hardware and software.

Some years back, I switched from the usual webcam set up to a DSLR camera in my home studio, and it’s made a world of difference. In addition, you also need the right lighting, and a good microphone.

During my career so far, I’ve been hired by a wide variety of brands to lead live-streaming educational seminars, as well as appearing as a guest on the likes of BBC Newsnight and other TV shows. The hosts of these events and programs always remark on how my on-camera appearance is professional.

Of course, there’s definitely a place for less-polished live-streams through our mobile devices, but investing just a bit more budget into creating a simple, but high-end studio setup can literally put you head and shoulders above the competition, and enable you to generate more revenue as a result. 

Q: Do you think Apple’s new ATT update will have a major impact on Facebook and Instagram advertisers?

MS: Somewhat.

The thing is, the cookie is crumbling, and I’ve been rather amused by Facebook’s head-on attack of Apple over this issue.

Personally, I’m very much #TeamApple, much as I evangelize Facebook. I’m a big advocate of giving users a choice, and for each of us being able to protect our privacy. I definitely understand why many advertisers have been freaking out over the impending impact of Apple’s ATT update, but the writing has been on the wall for a while, and we’re essentially going through a sea change of online marketing and ad tracking.

Google also announced last year that it would stop supporting cookies in its Chrome browser by 2022. The opportunity now is for marketers to get creative with using first-party data.

Q: What are your thoughts on Instagram Reels and the potential it holds for marketers?

MS: Instagram is currently favoring Reels the most in terms of organic reach and discovery, so now is a great time for marketers to embrace this content format as best they can while the reach is so good.

However, now that ads have just been rolled out in Reels globally, even if a marketer prefers not to take the time and effort to create organic Reels, then there’s a powerful opportunity to reach more of their audiences through paid placement. Facebook is also testing the ability to share Instagram Reels to Facebook, which was just expanded this week.

Facebook Reels

Much like Instagram Stories in 2016, Reels is only going to continue growing. Remember, it’s ultimately about creating more ad inventory, and, of course, staying as competitive as possible.

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, recently stated that TikTok is one of the most formidable competitors that the platform has seen. 

Q: What coming developments do you think will have the biggest impact on Facebook marketing over the next five years?

MS: The complete eCommerce experience across the entire Facebook family of apps and services.

In early 2019, Mark Zuckerberg announced his plan to facilitate interoperability between the three main messaging platforms that his company owns: Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp. Initially, the drive was to make it easy for users to communicate on the platform of their choice, however the main driver here is to provide a robust multi-platform shop product for retailers of all sizes – and perhaps, eventually, for service-based and information product-based businesses as well.

Now that Messenger and Instagram Direct have been fused together, and the API is open – along with Facebook’s acquisition of CRM platform, Kustomer – the ability to offer a seamless in-app, end-to-end purchasing experience will soon be unrivaled. And, let’s not forget that the more Facebook’s apps can be baked together, the less likely they will be to get ‘unbaked.’ 

Three other key areas that will impact marketers over the coming five years are AR/VR (building the ‘next computing platform,’ as Zuckerberg keeps saying), payments via Facebook Pay, and Facebook’s digital coin, Diem

You can join Mari Smith’s Social Scoop Facebook Group for more of her insights and tips, as well as support from Mari’s social media marketing community, while you can also follow Mari on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter


4 new social media features you need to know about this week



New social media features to know this week

Social media never stands still. Every week there are new features — and it’s hard for the busy comms pro to stay up-to-date on it all.

We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what you need to know about this week.


Social media sleuth Matt Navarra reported on Twitter that LinkedIn will soon make the newsletters you subscribe to through the site visible to other users.

This should aid newsletter discovery by adding in an element of social proof: if it’s good enough for this person I like and respect, it’s good enough for me. It also might be anopportunity to get your toe in the water with LinkedIn’s newsletter features.


After admitting they went a little crazy on Reels and ignored their bread and butter of photographs, Instagram continues to refine its platform and algorithm. Although there were big changes over the last few weeks, these newer changes are subtler but still significant.



First, the animated avatars will be more prominent on profiles. Users can now choose to flip between the cartoony, waving avatar and their more traditional profile picture, rather than picking one or the other, TechCrunch reported, seemingly part of a push to incorporate metaverse-esque elements into the app.

Instagram also appears to have added an option to include a lead form on business profiles. We say “appears” because, as Social Media Today reports, the feature is not yet listed as an official feature, though it has rolled out broadly.

The feature will allow businesses to use standard forms or customize their own, including multiple choice questions or short answer.


In the chaotic world of Twitter updates, this week is fairly staid — with a useful feature for advertisers.

The platform will roll out the ability to promote tweets among search results. As Twitter’s announcement points out, someone actively searching for a term could signal stronger intent than someone merely passively scrolling a feed.

Which of these new features are you most interested in? That LinkedIn newsletter tool could be great for spreading the word — and for discovering new reads.

Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.


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Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs



Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs

Twitter’s looking to give users a broader set of emoji reactions for their DMs, while also, potentially, enabling personalization of your quick reactions display in the app.

As you can see in these mock-ups, shared by Twitter designer Andrea Conway, Twitter’s testing a new search option within the reaction pop-up in DMs which would enable you to use any other emoji as a reaction to a message.

An extension of this would also be the capacity to update the reactions that are immediately displayed to whatever you choose.

Twitter DM reactions

It’s not a game-changer by any means, but it could provide more ways to interact via DMs, and with more interactions switching to messaging, and more private exchanges, it could be a way for Twitter to better lean into this trend, and facilitate a broader array of response options in-stream.

Twitter’s working on a range of updates as it looks to drive more engagement and usage, including tweet view counts, updated Bookmarks, a new ‘For You’ algorithm, and more. Elon Musk has said that he can envision Twitter reaching a billion users per month by next year, but for that to happen, the platform needs to update its systems to show people more of what they like, and keep them coming back – which is what all of these smaller updates, ideally, build to in a broader approach.

But that’s a pretty steep hill to climb.

Last week, Twitter reported that it’s now up to 253 million daily active users, an increase on the 238 million that it reported in July last year. Daily and monthly active usage is not directly comparable, of course, but when Twitter was reporting monthly actives, its peak was around 330 million, back in 2019.

Twitter MAU chart

As noted in the chart, Twitter switched from reporting monthly active users to daily actives in 2019, but looking at the two measurements, it’s hard to imagine that Twitter’s monthly active usage is any more than 100m over its current DAU stats.

That means that Twitter has likely never reached more than 350 million active users – yet Musk believes that he can best that by close to 200% in a matter of months.

Seems unlikely – even at current growth rates since Musk took over at the app, Twitter would only be looking at around 500 million users, optimistically, by the end of 2024.

If it can maintain that. More recent insight from Twitter has suggested that user activity has declined since those early post-Musk purchase highs – but maybe, through a range of updates and tweaks, there could be a way for Musk and Co. to maximize usage growth, beyond what seems possible, based on the stats.

We’ll find out, and as it pushes for that next level, you can expect to see more updates and tweaks like this, with enhanced engagement in mind.  

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Tarte Influencer Marketing Criticized 01/31/2023



Tarte Influencer Marketing Criticized 01/31/2023

With consumers obsessed over the price of a dozen eggs, could conspicuous consumption-driven influencer marketing falling out of favor? That is the question brands might be considering after the
backlash that cosmetics brand Tarte is receiving after a sponsored trip to Dubai. “Influencers were called out for appearing not …

Read the whole story at Marketing Brew »

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