Mari Smith, Her 350k Subscribers, and What They All Teach Us!


Mari Smith, Social Media Author, Speaker and Mentor, has just hit 350K Subscribers on her Personal Profile. Not her Facebook Business Page (although we will get to that similarly impressive statistic in a moment).  Her personal profile.  This tells us a whole lot of things about how to engage, build a personal brand and use Facebook's functionality to go where your people are.  A whole lot.  

Mari Smith, Her 350K Subscribers, and what they Teach Us (by
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Mari Smith is the perfect of example of why social media is what it is. People want to know about the person behind the brand. They want to connect and engage. Mari's subscribers are proof of this. All 350K+ of them!

Apart from being blown away by the rapidity at which Mari's subscribers passed her Facebook “Page” Fans, there is a personal reason for me being so impressed (before we get to the stats and numbers stuff)….

In January, 2011, before I started this blog officially, I wrote a simple post on Facebook about Mari reaching 30,000 Facebook Fans on her Page – in true Mari Smith style, she held a “party” on her Facebook page to celebrate, with fans encouraged to share, comment and post about their own businesses.   It was my stumbling across that post recently that compelled me to flick over to Mari's page (to look at the numbers, not just at the brilliant social media advice she gives daily).  Not only has Mari more than tripled her fan total on her Page at 79,268 [Stop Press:  She just hit 80,000], but what blew me away was her Subscribers.  She has now acquired 350,000 new subscribers to her Personal Profile. I don't know about you, but those figures tweaked my interest!

Author's Note:  Please scroll to the bottom of this post to see my original feature on Mari reaching 30,000 fans. It was originally posted as a “Facebook Note” as I didn't have a blog at the time.  I guess Mari's fan count is not the only thing that has changed in the last 18 months!

Here are some likely reasons for Mari's massive growth in Facebook Subscribers:

  1. Mari is engaging.  There is no doubt that she deserves this huge rise in her following.  You just have to listen to her innate enthusiasm about social media to know that she is, as Fast Company famously described her “The Pied Piper of Social Media”.  Let's take a quote from one of Mari's recent webinars for example: “The No 1 thing about me is that I absolutely love my community. I love to connect with my peeps and to share valuable tips”. Mari's page and her business is all about Facebook Engagement.
  2. Mari opened up her Subscriber function early. She didn't wait. She jumped right in. Despite her considerable standing in her community, she did not hesitate to be accessible and let the fans in.
  3. Mari is an early adopter.  Take Facebook “Interest Lists” for example. Not only did Mari jump right in and set up her Facebook Experts and Resources List but she recently took the time to help us all out by converting this awesome list of people to follow on Facebook (courtesy of Simply Zesty). Check out Mari's new List, 100 People to Follow on Facebook, inspired by the original article. It is not everyday that you see an article shared with such an impressive list of thought leaders to follow…accompanied by a one-click solution for following them.  Clicking on this list was a no brainer for me after reading the article.  Genius. Pure Genius.

    Mari Smith
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    Would you like a ready-made Interest List to go with your BlogPost? Absolutely, Mari!

  4. Mari cross references between her page (or her website) and her personal profile.  Mari does not do this often, but when she does, she gets a huge response.  In the following example, she announces an upcoming webinar to her fans.  Mari does this occasionally, but effectively and respectfully and always excitedly!  While finding this post, I couldn't but notice the huge number of personal posts from Mari and her Facebook friends.  Many of the posts related to her webinars or events were posted by fans, not Mari!  With 350,000 people following her “personal” life, Mari does not need to sell or promote – she simply engages and provides great content…and a reason to follow or subscribe.  That's what a Pied Piper does, right?

    Mari Smith
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    When you consistently provide stellar content, day in day out across two profiles….well…the webinars kind of sell themselves…with the help of Mari's raving, referring brand advocates!

  5. Mari produces breaking news on her page and her profile.   Whether it is the latest Facebook Change or a hot tip (like this one below) Mari's commitment to providing great content for her fans is relevant to both her Facebook Business Page and her Personal Profile.     This has also contributed to her subscriber reach – people want more of Mari!

    Mari Smith
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    Mari updates her fans on both her business page and personal profile – she is a great source for hot tips and breaking news!

  6. Mari allows fans into her life.  Her posts on her personal profile are a mix of life and business.  Mari has fun and she strikes a great balance between the two on her page.  Here are some examples. Take note of the huge number of shares and likes – social proof and likely the reason why so many people are drawn to her page as subscribers:
Mari Smith + Her 350k Subscribers, and What They Teach Us!
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Whether it is a cheeky pre-weekend cocktail….

Mari Smith + Her 350k Subscribers, and What They Teach Us!
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…a quick snap of some gorgeous lillies (with a healthy dose of Mari humour)…

Mari Smith + Her 350k Subscribers, and What They Teach Us!
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…or a photo to make us all want to “be there”, Mari lets her fans in

Mari herself made an interesting comment as she approached 100,000 subscribers back in January, 2012 (BTW, that means she has acquired almost 250,000 subscribers in just 7 months!).  This is what she said:

January, 2012

“I'm curious which milestone will be first: my fan page reaching 60,000 fans, or my profile reaching 100,000 subscribers! My guess is the subscribers – truly amazing rapid growth. I've never seen anything like it on any social network.  I wonder if Facebook has created a bigger “headache” for itself with the whole area of personal vs. business.  And public figures who choose not to have a fan page in favor of a public profile instead. (I wonder if the option to merge a fan page into a public profile will ever become available sitewide?). The News Feed is *clearly* favoring posts and activity from friends and subscriptions (vs. fan pages) – it's becoming increasingly difficult to get fan page content seen in the News Feed.  So, do businesses then turn to ads/sponsored stories? Hmm, just *thinking aloud* here.Your thoughts?”  Mari Smith 

Mari has definitely raised some interesting questions.  The growth of subscribers to profile's like Mari's has gone from strength to strength since this was posted.

So, what does this mean for the rest of us on Facebook?

This is a game changer.  Why?  Because no longer should brands (or public figures) focus on their business page as the only way to connect with Fans.  Their personal profiles are just as important, and Mari's stats would suggest that they are perhaps more important.  What does this mean for us?

  1. If you are a major representative of a brand, or a public figure, you should seriously consider opening up the “subscribe” function on your personal profile.  Be sure to do the following if you proceed with this:
    • check your privacy settings and protect or remove any personal photos or information that you do not want accessed by the general public.
    • be aware of how you are posting. Some posts can be kept strictly for “friends” eyes only.  Others will be public in that your subscribers can see the posts.
    • start to think about how you are posting. If you are committed to being accessible to your fans/subscribers as well as your friends/family, you will need to strike a balance between personal posts and those posts that relate to your element of your industry or niche.
    • Always keep to the Facebook guidelines and be aware of not being too “promotional” on your personal profile.  Be clever in your posting. There are many ways of telling people what you are doing in your business without sounding “salesy”.
  2. Consider creating some Interest Lists relevant to your industry. Find out more about how to do it here.  Subscribers to your Interest Lists count towards your total subscriber count.  For example, Mari's total subscriber count is currently made up of 343,209 Public Subscribers · 6,876 Subscribers Via ListsMore importantly, establishing Interest Lists helps to establish yourself as an authority in your niche and to help you to track the people you want to follow in a more streamlined way.
  3. Cross reference between your Business Page and your Personal Profile.  You can do this by:
    • announcing to fans on your business page that they can subscribe to your personal profile.  Perhaps add why they would benefit from this – more about you, your daily updates, insights into your typical day.  For some businesses, the personal profile can be more beneficial for leads – such as a Realtor for example.
    • sharing posts from your business page over to your personal page.  This way your friends, family, and subscribers will see that they are sourced from your Business Page and they may check them out.
    • Referencing your business and your business page in a non-promotional way. Post up photos of things that you do as part of your business, events that you visit, fun that you have with your team.  Be creative!

I know that the numbers have increased significantly for Mari since early 2011, but the reason for Mari attracting her fans and followers has not. She makes Facebook fun. So, I stand by my original words, as follows:

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Why Mari Smith Makes the Facebook Playground a Whole Lotta Fun for all of us!

ORIGINAL FACEBOOK POST (January 15, 2011): Mari Smith is celebrating her 30,000th fan (wow!), with all 30,000 of us invited to party on her page as we speak.  Here are the reasons why we all love to play with you on facebook Mari!  Congratulations: 

You are present – your attention is on us, on educating, entertaining, englightening, engaging us”¦on making all 30,000 of us feel important.  You use first names, you respond to us”¦to our comments, our questions, our likes.  You are not distracted by bells and whistles and your marketing is organic and respectful – you are social proof that social media is about being social first.

You share – your focus is on the fans!  And you let us share with you and “play on your wall” at  Your page is open for playdates and we all respond by engaging with you.  You share content – fantastically practical content that makes us all show up at the Facebook Park day after day again to play!

You have fun – you laugh, you make us laugh and most importantly you are not afraid to laugh at yourself. You bring emotion, humour and personality to the online world, which is not easy to do.  You don't make yourself out to be some sort of guru (we all think you are by the way!) and you treat every one of us “peeps” like we are your friend.  That's engaging!  We can't help but smile when you are in the virtual room because you are having so much darn fun!

You take turns – you let us have our voice, ask our questions, express our frustrations, celebrate our wins.  When Facebook makes their changes, you are there with us working out how to adapt.  You ask us about ourselves and you have a conversation with us in the Playground.  You make it engaging to come out and play!

You help us to learn how to climb – one of the greatest gifts you can give others is to teach what you know. And you do that every day”¦imparting your wisdom and wit to all of us, and sharing your knowledge and practical advice, and we know that you are grateful for the opportunity.  And for many of us, we are inspired to pay it forward by teaching others. The future of social media is bright thanks to people like you, Mari!

So there you have it; all the ways we love you Mari, and all the reasons why we keep coming back to “play on your wall”.  And the amazing thing is that you will continue to be present, share, have fun, take turns, and help us climb, well beyond your 60,000th fan. [Author Update:  Make that the 80,000th fan and 350,000th subscriber!]

Same time at the playground tomorrow, Mari?

Let's share.  Recommend a Facebook Interest List by adding the link below!   Do you follow Mari Smith as a subscriber?  Who else do you recommend subscribing to?  What are your thoughts on the Subscribe Function?  I would love to hear what you think!  
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Donna Moritz

Visual Social Media Strategist at Socially Sorted
Donna is a Visual Content Strategist and founder of Socially Sorted, listed by Forbes as a "Top 5 Social Media Blog You Need to Know About in 2019". Donna helps brands leverage the power of visual storytelling and content strategy in their business. Her content has been featured in publications such as Forbes and Entrepreneur Online and she is a contributor to Social Media Examiner. Donna speaks about digital and visual content for the marketing and tourism industries internationally.

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  1. Donna Moritz

    Here are some other Facebook Interest Lists that I follow and a couple I have just created:
    Social Media Resources:
    Inspirational Leaders for World Change: Innovative Brands (Rockin’ Social Media)
    Top Social Media Blogs:

    And don’t forget to follow Mari’s Interest Lists, featured in this post:
    Facebook Experts and Resources
    100 People to Follow on Facebook

  2. Guest

    Hi Donna, this is a great post! Have shared on my Twitter and Facebook

    • Donna Moritz

      That’s awesome Lillian – thanks so much. I had been meaning to write this for a while, after Mari sparked my interest with her own post about the huge number of subscribers.. then her subscriber stats kept going up and up so it was a good thing I waited! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Mari Smith

    @sociallysorted:disqus — oh my gosh, I’ve been remiss in acknowledging your fabulous post. Thank you SO much for this wonderful gathering of what I call “TPOVs” … teachable points of view. Nicely done! I’m sharing with my peeps!

    • Donna Moritz

      You are very welcome Mari – wow the numbers have shifted a lot since this post even…it shows how important your personal profile is. I just revisited the article and the mention of La Jolla had me excited. We have a beach house booked there for a week in March to hang out with some Canadian friends and our 5 kids before SMMW. It’s going to be an awesome conference! After I booked my ticket a few friends followed so a big Aussie contingent coming now!


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