SMBME is Moving to Rising Tide

ceiling at Rising Tide's new event spaceI am thrilled to tell you that Social Media Breakfast Maine has a new home. I have some very big goals for 2018 and knew a venue switch was needed to meet those goals. I knew a few major needs were a comfortable room, a good internet connection and parking for attendees.

When I sat with Rising Tide and talked about their brand new event space they were opening, it immediately felt perfect. Besides the needs I had, there were some wants, PLUS things I didn’t consider that were going to be met with this move.

I started SMBME almost 9 years ago only because I wanted to help local businesses navigate digital marketing. I wanted them to understand the opportunities and have a safe place to ask questions and meet other people like them. As it has grown over the years, I still have the same things motivating me to keep doing them. I try to keep the room as inclusive as possible, as friendly as possible, and to make it feel like a small room.

In the past few years, I have gotten to know the folks from Rising Tide in a few different capacities. Their ethos (rising tide lifts all ships) isn’t just a slogan, they walk the walk. They are professional, community-oriented, friendly, and driven.

To make this move I obviously needed some help because big things take getting some help 🙂 I think I found a great crew to help us all move forward in 2018.

First I have consistent support from Portland Press Herald, PretiFlaherty, and Gorham Savings Bank. They have helped so much in the past few years and any growth would not possible without them.

Next, we added a long-term partnership with Maine Public Relations Council. After moderating a panel for them last year and attending their annual conference, I was reminded of the top-notch content and workshops they are regularly putting together. We will be doing a few joint events in 2018 and I will be sharing some other workshops and career development programming they are doing. I feel like being more involved with MPRC will be perfect to expand programming for all of you and to get you the resources you need to grow your businesses.

We also started a longer relationship with Noyes Hall and Allan. Bob O’Brien has been an avid SMBME attendee since we started in a conference room on outer Congress Street. Since then, he and the folks have Noyes Hall and Allan have become friends AND who I use for my business insurance. Bob has always helped out when we needed it and this is another perfect example.

Lastly, we met some new friends at the end of 2017 who are helping us grown for 2018 Anania Media and Fluent. I can’t wait for you to hear more about the great work they are doing.

I am very excited about this new home for SMBME and hope to see you on Fox Street soon!

ketchup-bottle

We recently had an event where we discussed Facebook Live. I will admit it is something I have not been driven to try. Some people like being behind the camera and some people like being in front of it. I am the former.

There ARE some great reasons to try Facebook Live:

  • It is an easy way to really show your audience/customers behind the scenes and get a feel for who you are.
  • People connect with video. It is as close as face to face as we can get.
  • Your closest followers (hot leads, company fans, repeat buyers) will get a notification that you are live.
  • You can interact in real time with your viewers.

The first Facebook live is the hardest and you will feel like you are talking to thin air. All the regular Live-ers will tell you, you just have to do it. It will be weird, you may not have a huge audience but… it will only get easier. If it is awful – you can always delete it.

“Be Fearless, be playful, be consistent – and you can always delete it!”
– Kathleen Deely Pierce, Maine Restaurant Association

Since now we all know the first Live broadcast will be awkward, let’s make it easier with some steps to follow.

Steps for Your First Facebook Live Broadcast

  • Have a plan – What will be the purpose of the broadcast? What is the ONE thing you want people to take away?
  • Is there a co-marketing opportunity? – Should you have a guest with you? If you are camera shy, like me, this could take some pressure off. Plus, you can get out in front of your co-host’s network.
  • Find a niche or angle – Nervous? Find an angle that makes you more comfortable. Think about broadcasting from your favorite coffee shop, bar, nature spot. Heck, invite your dog along if it makes you feel better.
  • Premarket – let people know you will be doing this ‘Join me live Friday at 2pm where I am interviewing our CEO about recent changes at our company’.
  • Make sure you have enough battery life on your phone!
  • Make sure you have a good internet connection!
  • Know how you are going to hold your phone/camera – I know from experience ketchup bottles are unreliable (see video below). A selfie stick may sound silly but Kathleen Deely Pierce swears it helps.
  • Add your text to your update first – Tag your location, who you are with, and what you are doing. That way whenever someone tunes in, they have some context.
  • During your broadcast have a plan to try to react to comments –  Take advantage of the instant feedback. Even just a ‘Hi, Beth! Thanks for joining us’ goes a long way.
  • Go as long as you feel like – There are various trains of thought on how long your broadcast should be. Kathleen recommended at our event to broadcast for a long time. She said your viewers continue to grow and you need to give them time to get to the broadcast and tune in. I have had other people say to keep them short. I would recommend, you do what feels right for you.
  • Save the story as an update – After the broadcast, you have the option to keep your broadcast as a page update. If you didn’t hate it, if it was valuable, or if it was even close to those things… keep it and let other people catch it later. My first Facebook Live is below. Do I love it? Absolutely not but… I learned a lot and I know the next one will be easier 🙂
  • Postmarket the broadcast –  Let people know after the fact about your video. Write a blog post (like this one), put it in an email newsletter, boost it etc. Get the biggest bang for your broadcast by making it available and letting people see it after it was done.

There you go! Hopefully, that will help you with your first Facebook Live broadcast. What other tips would you give to folks like you who want to get started?

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!

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!

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

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!

http://www.mainestartupandcreateweek.com/schedule/what-do-users-want/

TUESDAY – 9am at MECA
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!

http://www.mainestartupandcreateweek.com/schedule/branding/

WEDNESDAY – 11am at MECA
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.

http://www.mainestartupandcreateweek.com/schedule/social-media-the-roi-and-how-to-track-it/

THURSDAY – 11am at MECA
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.

http://www.mainestartupandcreateweek.com/schedule/writing-effective-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!
http://www.mainestartupandcreateweek.com/schedule/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!

So we all know everyone is excited about Pinterest. For some industries it is a gold mine and for many of us it is a new found addiction.

Since we here at SMBME are very serious about business, I thought I would share with you this little shortcut to see what from your website has been shared to Pinterest, by who and how many times.

All you need to do is type http://pinterest.com/source/ and add your URL at the end.
For an example we are going to use our friends over at The Beadin’ Path and if we type in http://pinterest.com/source/beadinpath.com to our address bar we will see all the things that have been pinned from their site by them and by other people.

Beadin Path Pinterest Source

With this information you can not only tell what is popular or who is pinning your photos or products but what they have to say for feedback about them too. That is some good information to have!

It was too easy and good not to share. Happy pinning.

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SMBME 98

Ask. Us. Anything!

April 26th 2019

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We moved to Rising Tide. Read about the move and how it was made possible on the blog.