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!

Posted in Maine, Marketing, Portland, Social Media | Leave a comment

How to do Your First Facebook Live Broadcast

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?

Posted in Facebook, Marketing, Social Media Tips | Leave a comment

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