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.

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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Photo credit: chokola

In a huge win for geolocation services like Foursquare and Gowalla, Facebook has quietly said they will be stepping out of the check-in game. Facebook launched it’s checkin service a year ago and it just never caught on like other services had. Facebook users will be able to update their status and tag a location instead of ‘checking-in’.

Some users may be upset but Facebook was reporting that only about 6% of users were using the application the way they had hoped. Early adopters of geolocation say that they weren’t using Facebook places because they were already invested in another geolocation service that offered them more functionality. Some have even said that they didn’t use Facebook check-ins because they were not as close to their Facebook friends as they were to their Foursquare/Gowalla friends and they weren’t sure they needed all of their Facebook friends knowing where they were at any given time.

The takeaways:

  1. Facebook can’t destroy everything. Facebook Places was supposed to destroy Foursquare and Gowalla but they seemed to make it through unscathed. Actually, Foursquare is thriving. Many feel Facebook (and Google) wait to see what applications become popular and then they just launch it themselves.
  2. Being the biggest doesn’t mean you are perfect for every application. Facebook may have the problem of being too big. Adding a geolocation service made a lot of people uncomfortable. An online community that has your significant other, best friends, old high school friends, neighbors, old professors, your grandparents and an ex or two – may not be the right audience to tell where you are located at all times.
  3. Early adopters are no longer on Facebook. A service like geolocation gets momentum from early adopters but now Facebook is the norm, not something new. Trying new advanced functions may turn off the general Facebook population.

What do you think? Did any of you use Facebook check-ins a lot?

Carl Natale needed a full weekend to process all the information we threw at him at last weeks breakfast. Sarah Wallace and Brad Lawwill did a really great job covering why having a social media policy is important and how to get started. Carl wrote another really great recap of the morning and included both presenters slides.

Read Carl’s full recap here.

Read more about SMBME #7 on our archive page

The travel/tourism/recreation industry is one of the best fits for social media. Why? Because social media is just a new extension of word of mouth marketing. Destinations are sold by hearing people’s stories and testimonials. What better way to share you message than letting your customers do the talking for you?

Carl Natale, blogger at large on small businesses in Maine, wrote a great summary of the last breakfast where we covered using social media in the travel, tourism and recreation industries. Read his whole article here.

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SMBME 101 –
Get Unstuck and Make a Plan!

August 16th 2019



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