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!

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!

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!

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.

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.

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!

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!

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!

What a great lineup of speakers we had at our 66th Social Media Breakfast Maine. Each presentation complimented the next. We hope you all walked away feeling inspired and smarter. I know I did.

Andrea Berry of Firefly Partners kicked things off with an overview of best practices for fundraising with social media. She talked about why you shouldn’t ask for money and reminded us how important it is to say thank you and provide recognition. Another thing that seems simple, but is often forgotten, is giving supporters the tools and content to share with their networks. Andrea also talked about telling people “why you.” This is where content is key. Use infographics and other content types to show people where their money went, or where it will go.

Holly Sherburne of Bowdoin College followed with her peer-to-peer #bowdoinoneday fundraising campaign that provided examples of many of the things that Andrea previously touched on. One of the things she said really summed it up: “people are your social currency for content and calls to action.” Direct asks will not work. You need your supporters to do it for you. Without the participation of alumni, her campaign would not have surpassed its goals. She also used video content throughout the campaign.

BowdoinOne Day – Participation Matters from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

BowdoinOne Day – Thank You! from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

Holly also mentioned that she used to aggregate all #bowdoinoneday content on the Bowdoin website.

spose-yard-sale-kickstarterRyan Peters, aka Spose, finished the morning by sharing how he used Kickstarter to tap his loyal fan base and raise over $28k to create videos to make sure that his music was heard by as many new listeners as possible. Why videos? Because visuals matter and as Ryan put it himself, “you don’t have a song unless you have a video for that song.” This was a 30-day campaign so he knew he had to work to keep things fresh. Keys to success? Create urgency. Make it exclusive. And show people, don’t tell them. If you tell them before you show them, they won’t care because you already told them. In this fast moving river that is social media, you only have a second to grab people’s attention. Ryan knows how to make that second count. And he respects the karma of social currency.

Here’s the full campaign details and video.

Thanks to everyone who came out, to our speakers for dropping all of their knowledge and to our sponsors for making it all possible: Portland Press Herald, Agents of Change Digital Marketing, Conference, Gorham Savings Bank, Vreeland Marketing, and Others! Fair Trade Coffee

According to comScore, Pinterest is taking the internet by storm – hitting 10 million monthly unique visitors (in the US) and becoming one of the top ten social networks. It’s easy to see why such a site would command attention; the simple and sleek design, image-driven content, and its ease of use makes it the best new way to bookmark online. For me, it has made online bookmarking fun!

We can already see how big brands like Martha Stewart, Whole Foods, and Better Homes and Gardens would be drawn to use the bulletin board-like tool for marketing their brands’ DIY items, recipes, and home décor ideas. But even smaller brands are utilizing the tool too; like using Pinterest to better show their personality, giving their brand more online visibility, and selling products through a new platform.

Before you jump in, know who the audience is.
As with any new tool, you should know what you’re getting yourself into first. Don’t use it just because it’s “the cool new thing” do it because that is where your customers are or because you are going to try to tap into a new customer base.

As we know, the majority of Pinterest users are 18 to 34 year old women (located in the northwest and southeast to be exact). If this is your target demographic then think about how you’d use Pinterest to engage with that audience. If that isn’t your target demographic but you’d still like to try using Pinterest for marketing; take a look at your resources and decide the best way to engage with that new audience. Would another platform be more worthy of your time?

How can it be used for marketing?
It seems like everywhere you look there are blog posts popping up about how this brand and that brand are using Pinterest to market their online business. Here’s a couple of good posts on how brands are engaging with the audience on Pinterest by holding contests, to get feedback on new products, and to promote other sectors of business.

Do your research first – what can Pinterest do in general and what can it do for your business specifically? I like this post, put together by Mashable, that gives tips and tricks to help those getting started with using Pinterest or those looking for advanced tactics. I learned lots of new things from this article!

Track it. Measure it.
This is the golden rule, right? So you’ve decided to use Pinterest as a marketing tool; PLEASE don’t forget to measure the outcome to see if your efforts are paying off.

  • Are you getting referral traffic from the site? How much?
  • Is that stream of traffic engaging with your site when they get here?
  • Are you getting any site conversions from the Pinterest traffic?

Those are all good things to measure and reflect on. Use the information to change up what you’re doing. If you’re getting a lot of good feedback on your Pinterest page but that traffic doesn’t translate to your site, maybe you need to alter your website or create a unique landing page for your Pinterest traffic.

Are you using Pinterest as a marketing tool? Have you seen any local (Maine) brands using it uniquely? Do you think it’ll stick around? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Flickr Photo Credit: Annie Mole

This post is a guest post from SMBME friend, David Pride. David owns Social Impressions, a Social Media Marketing company, specializing in the hospitality market. He is also the Sales Manager for the Portland Harbor Hotel. People can find David and additional blogs at

The cheese burger I had for lunch is causing me some acid, actually it’s making me wish I had some Pepto Bismol.

As a kid I never liked the taste of it, pink, slimy, and slightly minty. In fact, it reminded me of the pink candies my Nana’s not-so-secret boyfriend used to bring her. She kept them in a glass jar on her table. Whenever he would leave her home the jar would be filled with these round pink chalky candies. Perhaps it was some sort of parting kiss that us grandkids shouldn’t have known about…

Enough of me reminiscing about lovely Nana…I started this story with one goal, to tell you about my amazing experience with Pepto Bismol, masters of Pink.

About six months ago I started following Pepto Bismol on Facebook because I somehow came across their fan page. I thought it would be interesting to see what they talked about and see how they interacted with their fans. Almost immediately I was impressed with their snarky attitude and willingness to poke fun at their gas preventing, fart squashing, pink slime juice.

The first post I noticed exclaimed “We make parties better.” It had roughly 110 responses from their followers everything from the expected “I chug bottles of this stuff” to folks just chiming in and agreeing with the Pink. Every person who interacted with Pepto was acknowledged and not a single comment disregarded. I was totally impressed and soon I found myself interacting with Pepto because I wanted to be part of the fun.

One afternoon I even tagged Pepto in my status begging them to bring me a bottle after a traditional Maine Beans and Weenie dinner I had consumed the night before. They acknowledged my tag and even commented back. I felt even more connected with the brand I once overlooked as a child. What really won me over was what happened next…

One unsuspecting afternoon I opened my email and there before me was a message from my Pink pals. It said “David, we appreciate you interacting with us and we would like to thank you for your friendship, may we have your mailing address?” At first I was suspicious of it being a scam but judging by the email address it came from and other legitimate items in the email I responded in kind, with my mailing address.

Three weeks later a box arrived. Inside of this box was all things pink:

  • A pink insulated lunch bag,
  • a Pink LL Bean beach towel,
  • a Pink LL Bean Canvas Tote Bag,
  • and a handwritten note in pink from Pepto that read –

    “Thanks for being our friend and interacting with us.
    Enjoy this gift and stay Pink.”

I was so impressed I immediately took all the stuff laid it out on my couch and began snapping pictures for Facebook and Twitter – tagging Pepto in every post. Soon roughly 1,000 of my closest friends were seeing Pepto pink in their Facebook and Twitter Feeds.

Guess what else happened? My friends and followers began asking me about Pepto… and I began telling them about Pepto. Before I knew it I was the Benny Hinn of the acid reduction world. Pepto Bismol had made me a product evangelist for just the price of the few items listed above and for acknowledging my comments.

The next week at Shaw’s I found myself noticing Pepto advertisements, and I even bought a bottle for the upstairs bathroom just in case my acid acted up again. Being a man of larger carriage I knew that Doritos consumed tonight meant Doritos consumed tomorrow morning also. Quite unexpectedly I found myself wanting to support Pepto and wanting to tell my friends to do the same.

There are many lessons to be learned here. One of which is don’t melt sharp cheddar cheese on Cool Ranch Doritos at 11pm, or the Pink stuff will be a must by 3am. But the other lessons are a bit more fun.

  • Lesson #1 is that Pepto posted fun content that made me want to interact with them.
  • Lesson #2 is that Pepto acknowledged the followers who commented back and continued the conversation.
  • Lesson #3 is that Pepto saw someone who was excited about their conversations and capitalized on it by making that person (me) feel even more connected to their brand. In return I made sure my friends knew that Pepto – for lack of a better term – is the shit. (Couldn’t resist).

Am I suggesting that all of us who have Facebook Business pages begin mailing stuff to our followers and fans? Can we afford that? Probably not, and we probably don’t have the budget that Pepto has either. What we do have that our friends in Pink also have is personality and the ability to make the members of our community feel special. When I feel such a connection to a brand that when I don’t check their Facebook page I feel like I may be missing out on something, guess what? They’ve done something right.

If a product that focuses on diarrhea, stomach aches, and flatulence can make me feel special – pretty sure I can do the same for the followers of the companies I represent.

I’ll drink (the pink) to that.

Cheeseburger photo credit: TheCulinaryGeek

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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?

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SMBME 101 –
Get Unstuck and Make a Plan!

August 16th 2019



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