SMBME’s 75th – Thank You!

Last night we celebrated 75 Social Media Breakfast Maine events. We had a special nighttime event at Red Thread, in One City Center.


Photo credit: MaineToday Media

Reflecting on the night and last 7 years (eek!), I realized I need more than a quick Facebook post.

First, I have to thank the wonderful community that IS SMBME. This event isn’t about a person or a company, it is about a group of people who are curious, smart, friendly, inclusive, and helping shape business in Maine. What started as 12 nerds (aka “early adopters”) in a conference room, has turned into a group of people who support each other and a monthly event with about 100 attendees each month.


Photo credit: Amazing DJ Music (Sound and Photography)

I want to thank our speakers, Mike Sobol and Kyle Poissonnier, for their interesting and inspiring presentations. Mike talked to us about challenging our assumptions, trying new things, and gave us examples from his work experience where what ‘worked’ wasn’t what people assumed would. Kyle inspires me so much. We asked him to come back again to talk about his recent Just A Kid From Maine release at Catalyst For Change Wear. He had an idea, asked his audience their thoughts, brought it to market and they reached their goal in about a day. A powerful and inspiring story!

A photo posted by April D. Cohen (@soporealtor) on

I want to thank our sponsors. The Portland Press Herald, Gorham Savings Bank, OTT Communications, Mainely SEO, The Maine Real Estate Network, Noyes, Hall & Allen, and Agents of Change. It was especially fun to have some sponsors that helped us really get our start come back for this special event. Thank you all so much!!


Photo credit: MaineToday Media

I want to thank Stephanie from Red Thread for being an amazing hostess. I have hosted many an event and have NEVER felt as confident in the space and event prep. Stephanie took things off my hands that have never been offered before. Never. She made my prep for the event so much easier. I can’t thank you enough. If you haven’t been, please go by Red Thread and say ‘hello’. Beautiful space and some great ideas that you can execute in your own office.

I want to thank MaineToday Media and Amazing DJ Music (Sound and Photography) for capturing some great photos from the evening. It is wonderful to see a fun event captured so well in images. We loved having you there!

Lastly, thank you for all of you who attended last night. I know night events are hard, Fridays are hard, rainy nights are hard… but you made it and I truly appreciate it! It was a great time. I can’t wait to see where this community takes us all next!

A photo posted by April D. Cohen (@soporealtor) on

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4 Sessions I Am Excited to See at Maine StartUp and Create Week

Tomorrow is the beginning of Maine StartUp and Create week. We are so fortunate to have so much support for startups right in our backyard! This is a weeklong event with literally dozens of sessions, keynotes, meetups, and activities all focused around startups.

You can’t be everywhere but I took a look at the schedule and here are four sessions I know I can’t wait to check out!

MONDAY – 2:15pm at MECA
What Do Users Want?
I had the pleasure of speaking at the Retail Association of Maine event with Brett from FieldStack (and Bull Moose). He has some great insight on creating a product Bull Moose’s customers needed and using data to drive business decisions – even when it is against what you as the owner THINK they want. Brett is only 1/4 of the fire power on this panel. We are pretty sure this is going to be a good one!

What Do Users Want?

How to Share Your Story with Your Customers
It is no secret I am a huge fan of Might & Main. Sean and Arielle are skilled at really helping brands visually tell their story. Take the knowledge of Might & Main and add some Disney, Google, and Weymouth Design and we are pretty sure the roof is going to come off the building. Yowza! Bringing a hip looking notepad and fancy pencil to this session!

Branding Through Storytelling

Social Media: The ROI and How to Track It
Well hello! One of our favorite topics. Taja and her Pulp + Wire team are representing so many brands and know a thing or two about measuring the ROI of their efforts. We can’t wait to see what Tess has planned for this Lightning Workshop.

Social Media: The ROI and How to Track It

Writing Effective Marketing Copy

Writing GOOD copy is a challenge no matter the industry. This sessions sounds fun and super helpful. Looking forward to checking it out.

Writing Effective Marketing Copy

FRIDAY – 6pm at Merrill Auditorium
Greenlight Maine Finale Event

That morning we have a SMBME but that night…. it is finally here! One of these three companies is walking off the stage with a giant check for $100,000. Two of three three of them are previous SMBME presenters! It is going to be an exciting evening and great way to wrap up the week!

Greenlight Maine Finale Event

How about YOU? What events are you excited to check out? Or if you can’t attend, which are you sad to miss out on? It is going to be a crazy and exciting week!

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3 Takeaways from SMBME 70 – Personality and Your Brand

Thank you to everyone who braved the icy roads for breakfast with Alex Steed of Knack Factory, Erin Ovalle of MaineLife and Tim Cotton of the Bangor Police Department. It was a little raw out there, but so worth it. If you missed out, here are some takeaways.

You can’t fake it.

Be real. People are drawn to what’s honest. If you’re trying to be something that you’re really not, no matter how hard you try to fake it, people will see it.

Knack Factory sees the most success from videos that they actually want to make – the content that they care about and find interesting. This content isn’t promotional. It’s not manufactured. Check out the example below and tell me it doesn’t make you want to work with them.

“I Grew Up Here” by Jen Michaud, Timber Sports Competitor + Poet || KNACK FACTORY from Knack Factory on Vimeo.

Erin Ovalle spent years trying to fit the mold of who everyone told her she should be. It wasn’t until she decided to drop the act and just be who she really is – and wants to be – that she really started to succeed and grow.

Tim Cotton of Bangor PD has grabbed the attention and gained a loyal following of people around the world because he’s a character and he has an authentically good personality. The stories that he posts aren’t contrived or planned. He’s self-deprecating and isn’t afraid to make fun of serious topics.

Don’t overthink it.

None of the speakers said they spend a lot of time planning what they do. Tim finds that it’s best to let the ideas flow – write the post first and come up with a reason for it post afterwards. Over planning leads to second guessing. Creating and sharing content in the moment adds timeliness and authenticity. It is ok, however, to plan the timing of your posts to ensure that people see them.

Respond to people – even the trolls.

Ok, maybe not always the trolls. It depends on the type of troll and your own personality. Do what is comfortable for you. It is important to remember that this is social media. Social – it’s about being friends with people first. Take the time to engage with people – read and respond. Have that conversation. A little kindness goes a long way.

Thank you to our fabulous speakers. You guys inspired and entertained. What a way to end a week. Of course, none of this would have been possible if not for our generous sponsors. Thank you Portland Press Herald, Agents of Change Digital Marketing Conference, Gorham Savings Bank, and Vreeland Marketing for fueling our bacon addiction and helping us get our learn on.

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Highlights from SMBME 67 – Special Evening Beer Event

Our special evening edition of SMBME was so much fun – and not just because the B stood for beer!

Our panel of Maine brew pros made the night what it was – fun, inspiring and informative. If you missed it, or got a little too wrapped up in the beer portion of the event, here are the nuggets of wisdom I walked away with. Here are some photos thanks to Judy Beedle Photography as well.

Our Panelists:Beer SMBME panelists
Peter Jensen Bissell – Bissell Brothers
Daniel Kleban – Maine Beer Company
Don Littlefield – Maine Brew Bus
Mat Trogner – Allagash

  • Don’t engage the trolls. Do reach out to and empathize with people who have legitimate gripes
  • Don’t post something and sit there clicking refresh to see what happens. Get out there and make something new. Always be creating.
  • If you have a great product and a great story. The rest will take care of itself.
  • Learn from what others are doing successfully. Do those things, but make them even better.
  • Show your fans what’s happening at work – and play. Let them live vicariously through you.
  • Always be thinking about what might be interesting. Do your best to capture it in the moment.
  • Think ahead to show progress in the future. Example: Taking a photo of founders in their new, empty space and following up with the same shot over time.
  • Don’t sell on social channels. Build a community. The results will be tenfold.
  • Be personal.

Not too shabby for a beer-fueled SMBME without bacon! Thanks to Maine Brew Bus and Agents of Change Digital Marketing Conference for buying us all a round, to Whiskey Drive Lumber for the sweet beer openers and to the rest of our sponsors: Portland Press Herald, Gorham Savings Bank and Vreeland Marketing – we could not do this without you!

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