SMBME on MaineLife

I was asked recently by Jess Knox, from Venture Hall, and Erin Ovalle, from MaineLife, to do a short interview for their Game Changers segment. It was great to spend some time gushing about this little community we have made.

I started hosting the Social Media Breakfasts in Portland almost 8 years ago. It started with about 20 “early adopters” (aka nerds) in a conference room and it has grown into what it is today. We were talking about how to use social media to market businesses before social media was “a thing”.

Just about every month we tackle a different topic in and around the social media space and try to figure out how we can use it to promote and grow our businesses. I feel this community is as strong as it is because the events have always been about the room, the market, and the businesses in our city and what they need.

I have been honored to be a part of this. I have been proud to watch people get jobs in this room, start their own businesses in this room, and to grow their businesses. Thanks to all of you for making #SMBME what it is.

Be sure to catch MaineLife at 11:30 on Sundays on WCSH6, their YouTube Channel or their Facebook page.

Posted in In the News, Maine, Portland | Leave a comment

How Fire & Company Uses Social Media To Get New Customers

At each Social Media Breakfast, I ask attendees for topics they want to talk about or cool stuff they are seeing locally. I have had a couple people mention the awesome online marketing from Fire & Company and the great people behind it.

You may have seen them – the beautiful vintage red trucks turning out gorgeous AND delicious wood-fired food at events, weddings, and at some of your favorite local breweries.

I reached out to Ryan Carey and we got a few minutes to talk about how he is using social media to grow their brand and get new customers – all while being super busy with their business.

On having a Social Media Strategy

A post shared by Fire and Company (@fireandco) on

Ryan, who is responsible for the social media for Fire & Company, is very aware that their brand and why people do business with them is about more than just the food. They have the vintage catering trucks, they work alongside some other top-notch professionals in their industry, and go to some beautiful places for events. Their story, is part of the whole story.

Fire & Company tries to capture not just the food but the whole event experience in their photos. Prospective clients will then be able to see themselves in the story and want an experience like that.

I need to add, the product from Food & Company is beautiful and delicious. With so many details in the story, it is also important that they exceed expectations with their specific piece – the food.

When asked if the posts are pre-planned or happen in the moment, Ryan said his employees make fun of him for taking pictures all the time at events but he actually prefers to post later. He says taking a day or two to reflect on the moments he captures gives him a better perspective on if it is worth sharing.

Take Your Own Photos or Hire Someone

A post shared by Fire and Company (@fireandco) on

Capturing the essence of your brand in photos is so important. Many businesses struggle with whether they should take their own or hire someone. Ryan told us he takes most of the photos they share but it is clear he has an eye for photography.

He also acknowledged that because of the industry he is in, there are professional photographers around who take wonderful photos. He posts a lot of his own photos but when he posts one from the photographers, he is always sure to give them credit.

Boosting Facebook Videos

I asked Ryan for an example of something he tried that went really well. His first thought was a few times he posted a video to Facebook and boosted them. He said those were viewed between 6,000 – 10,000 times. He was impressed that with very little effort, he can take a video on his phone, post it, and then boost it to his Facebook audience and friends of that audience and reach so many people.

Tying those boosted posts to business is difficult for them right now but the branding is important for them. Also, referrals are a huge part of their business, so showing connections on Facebook is an advantage for them.

Trying New Things

When asked if there was anything new for the 2017 season, like many others I have talked to, Ryan wants to try getting into SnapChat. Live events, weddings, and parties always have so much going on. There is a bunch of entertaining content that he thinks could make for some fun Snaps.

We love what Ryan and Fire & Company are doing with their social media. It is simple but yet stunning. They are definitely capturing more than just food in their posts. We look forward to seeing what the 2017 season has in store for them!

If you have a company you think I should talk to, let me know!

Posted in Case Studies, Facebook, Instagram, Maine, Marketing, Social Media Tips | Leave a comment

What Do You Want Your Legacy To Be?

2016 was a rough year for many of us. The end of the year left a lot of us disappointed, uncertain, and frustrated. I have been thinking a lot about how I can make my little world as good of a place as I can.

A few weeks ago, I read the blog by CC Chapman – Legacy. In it he talks about how we each will leave behind a legacy, that we will never know… and it resonated with me. I asked him to come up and speak at this month’s breakfast.

As usual, he was great and left many of us inspired, hopeful, and ready to do good.

During the event, I asked our attendees to think for a few moments about what they want their legacy to be. If you took a moment and thought about the footprint you wanted to leave behind… would that change how you operate, how you arrange your to-do list, or what you spent your time on?

Here are some of the responses from our attendees:

We want to inspire people to protect Maine’s environment. Make people feel a part of our mission through actions and interactions.
– Beth, Natural Resources Council of Maine

Chaos to clarity guide.
– Sara, The Dreamy Dragonfly

Show you that your tourist dollars have unimaginable power.
– Evan, Longer Vacations

Give people confidence to cook creatively. Live Excellently.
– Maddie, Fyood Kitchen

Crack open our view of people with differences and redefine success for all Maine people.
– Kristen, Spurwink

Make photos that matter. Now and later.
Whitney J. Fox

I want to leave a legacy of love and bravery – to look back and know that my life inspired people to be more brave, more bold, more creative with their own lives.
– Abbie, From the Nest

She helped to grow the green economy in Maine and helped people live better lives.
– Heather, The Sunrise Guide

I want to be known for being innovative and creatine really good content for our guests.
– Alyssa, Stonewall Kitchen

Launch Branding Compass!
– Emily, Visible Logic

She brought art and color to my practical life.
Helen Rebecca

Really cares (for real) about the organization, the success of small business, and the state of Maine.
– Jennifer, Maine SBDC

To have my clients see their worth and build their self confidence through skin care.
– Kimberly, Nourish Skin Care Studio

I would like to ask all of you the same thing and please share your answers with me. What do you want your legacy to be? What do you want to be remembered for? What will be the footprint you leave behind?

I would love to add them to this post or share them on social media over the next month or so. I think this is a great exercise as we head into a new year. Thanks in advance for your responses!

Posted in Marketing, Portland, Recap, Things That Make You Go Hmm | Leave a comment

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.

group-photo-smbme

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.

mike-sobol-smbmekyle-smbme

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!!

stephanie-michelle-chandra-smbme

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

Posted in Fun, In the News, Maine, Marketing, Portland, Recap | Leave a comment