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offering tips, techniques, and thoughts from Maine's PR Maven, Nancy Marshall

 

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Em Robertson Makes her Mark with Mprint

Owner and Designer of Mprint, Em Robertson
Modeling the Mprint Honolulu Transit Pendant

New York City, Boston, California, Canada and Presque Isle are some of the places this week’s Monday Maine Maven has called home. Em Robertson is the owner and designer of Mprint jewelry, a Maine-based accessories company.

Robertson says her love for the world of design and fashion was cultivated at a young age. She says, “My mother was a retail fashion buyer and would tell me about her buying trips in New York City. That really opened the doors to the business side of the fashion industry to me.”

The Presque Isle native says that she is “extremely proud” that she grew up a country girl adding, “I think it is one of the main reasons I am so driven and hard-working. Yes, it is really far up north, freezing, and it isn’t filled with endless things to do, but it is a great community that is full of hard-working and supportive people.”

Em’s parents wanted their children to experience different cultures, so Em and her family would travel four to five times a year—trips that she credits for her development of “the travel itch” at a very young age.

However, when it came to making a career choice for herself, Em wasn’t quite sure that fashion was the perfect fit. She stayed local, attending the University of Maine at Orono to study business marketing. During her junior year, she interned in New York City with Macy’s corporate marketing division and she says, “It confirmed the idea that I wanted to continue my education in fashion.”

After graduating, Em spent her summer applying to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and moved to Los Angeles. She says, “I felt like it was a place I needed to conquer. Being involved in such a creative culture and community of talented people made the transition much easier.”

Robertson says, “I had a lot of learning experiences in Hollywood,” but ultimately, she decided to move back to Maine to launch her jewelry collection.

Just a sampling of the jewelry you can find at www.mprintjewelry.com

The launch of Mprint has been incredibly successful on local, national and international levels, with her jewelry being featured in online stores, magazines and various noteworthy fashion blogs. One of her necklaces even made an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America worn by correspondent Rachel Smith.

The success of the launch is credited to Em’s strong public relations background and the use of social media. She says, “I wrote everyone I knew to start spreading the word and tried to get as much information and product to top editors, stylists and boutique owners to build awareness of the brand.” She adds, “I think Facebook creates an unreal buzz for designers—people can express to their peers what they like, and it opens doors for other people to like the product. The accessibility to this kind of online marketing for a start-up company like Mprint is beyond beneficial.”

According to Em, social media, Instagram in particular, is a great tool for inspiration, too. Em says, “I definitely draw inspiration for my collection pieces by immersing myself in social media sites, but my go-to is Instagram. Maybe it’s because I’m a creative person, but I just feel like seeing an image speaks so much louder than words.” Other sources that inspire are local consignment shops, family heirlooms, street style and nature.

Em Robertson says that social media serves as a vital part of her branding strategy for Mprint.

What’s next for Mprint? Em says, “I’m constantly thinking about ways to expand Mprint, and to grow as a socially responsible brand.” This is why they will be introducing a new hair accessories collaboration in their Fall ’13 collection with a design-driven nonprofit social enterprise that supports women-owned businesses in Rwanda.

You will also find them at one of the world’s largest and most vibrant marketplace tradeshows, AccessoriesTheShow, in New York City next month.

To learn more about Em and Mprint you may check out her website, www.mprintjewelry.com, like them on Facebook, facebook.com/Mprintjewelry or follow @Mprintjewelry on Twitter.

Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs’ New Album Keeps You Dancing

Sam Shain, front man of Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs

In a recent webinar, the host suggested a modified version of the Pareto principle was applicable to social media, saying that 80% of your content development should be personal items that make you relatable to your audience and that sliding in the sales and marketing pitches in the remaining 20% is the key to social media success.

If that’s the case, then this week’s Monday Maine Maven, Sam Shain of Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs, is doing social media very well!

Shain grew up in Hallowell and credits its “charm and strong community” for keeping him here. Sam also adds, “I’ve been going downtown to listen to music since I was a little kid—Hallowell has an outstanding scene for such a small city!”

If you’ve been downtown yourself, then you have most likely popped into the Liberal Cup, Higher Grounds, The Wharf, Hoxter’s, Easy Street Lounge or one of the many other venues that host live music on a regular basis. The scene has come a long way since Sam first started booking gigs. He says, “I used to make events for gigs, but I rarely use that feature anymore.”

Why not? Facebook.

Shain says, “My Facebook page is a great outlet when it comes to getting the word out and posting my schedule.” Another thing Shain does on his Facebook page is connect with his fans (over 1,000 of them) by asking them questions, and getting their feedback on his show and music. He says, “More activity equals more awareness, so I try to keep it light in my posts and have fun.”

Sam Shain during an interview at WBLM discussing the band’s latest album, A Song We Know.

So, what’s next for Sam Shain and the Scolded Dogs? They are working their way into the Portland music scene and are currently pushing their latest album, A Song We Know. It is currently on sale at all of their shows and Musicians First Choice in Augusta, and will soon be available on iTunes and in Bull Moose.

Shain says, “With any luck, we’ll have a 2014 release to follow up on the success of A Song We Know. In the meantime, we are going to keep gigging it up and keep all of the awesome people that come to our shows dancing.”

To learn more about Sam Shain and the band, like their Facebook page at facebook.com/samshainmusic.

A Nightfly With A Rock ‘N Roll Soul

Frank FM Assistant Program Director and On-Air Personality, Leif Erickson

If you’re a fan of classic hits and live practically anywhere in the state of Maine, then you are probably familiar with 107.5 Frank FM.  As a member of Frank Nation, then you are also familiar with Assistant Program Director/Music Director/Afternoon Drive Host Leif Erickson.

Yes, he really does wear that many hats on a weekly basis—and that doesn’t even include the additional work he does for Snocountry Mountain Reports, and his recent official announcement of Leif Erickson Voiceover Services.

As a native of Massachusetts and Boston University graduate, Erickson was hired as a radio ski reporter for Snocountry Mountain Reports in Lebanon, New Hampshire after graduating with a degree in broadcast journalism. He soon made his way onto the air with Classic Rock station Q106 in Claremont, and after a few years he was recruited by a start-up station called Frank FM.

After eight years, Erickson says he can’t imagine living anywhere else. He credits the broad audience as the best and most challenging part of his job saying, “We’re a local station to not only Portland, but to Lewiston, Augusta, Bridgton, Sanford, South Paris, Farmington and well into New Hampshire! I enjoy bringing people together under that umbrella—Frank Nation—one big community, even if they do know I’m physically in the ‘big city’ of Portland.”

Social media has made Leif’s job a little easier, and he frequently uses it to test new material with listeners. He adds, “If I have some wise-crack on a relevant topic, I may test it out on my own Facebook page to see what kind of reaction I get. If the feedback is positive then I’ll repurpose it for my show later.”

Leif Erickson hits the slopes at Sunday River last winter.

Facebook is an incredible tool when it comes to connecting with listeners for Erickson. Even though he has a radio-specific fan page, listeners frequently find his personal Facebook page as well, and he always accepts their friend requests. He jokes, “I do have a brief disclaimer on my personal page that says:  Hey, this is me off the clock, don’t complain to my boss! I’m not above sharing a slice of life behind the scenes if I think my listeners might find it interesting.”

For Erickson, Facebook is also a way to learn more about his listeners, and he often uses it as a way to learn what they like, where they hang out, and what they want to hear—“This is a business that is all about connecting with the listener, is it not,” he asks.

That question is answered by the way he delivers content. Leif says, “Our listeners would rather I paint a picture of an odd individual’s antics on Monument Square that I’m witnessing from the studio window than whatever Lindsay Lohan’s in court for this week.”

When Leif isn’t juggling his work, he can frequently be found on the Portland Peninsula. He says, “I enjoy a bite and a brew at the Thirsty Pig, or Shay’s for dinner and drinks, but my favorite haunt is Slainte. It’s always full of interesting people, good brews on tap and kick- (enter expletive here)-bartending staff, and a diverse slate of music and culture just about every night of the week.”

To listen to Leif Erickson’s show, be sure to tune in to 107.5 Frank FM Monday through Friday 2pm to 7pm, or on Sundays 6am to noon. You can also check out his Facebook Fan Page at www.facebook.com/leifericksonontheradio.

We asked Leif to share five songs that describe him—click on the links below to find out what he picked! Did any of your favorite songs make the list?

Donald Fagen “The Nightfly”

Grand Funk Railroad “Rock and Roll Soul”

James Taylor “Country Road”

Todd Rundgren “There Are No Words”

Yes “Yours Is No Disgrace”

Why a Facebook Page is as Important as a Website For a Small Business Today

At one time several years ago, if a business did not have a website, it was as if it did not exist. Today, a business must not only have a website but it must also have a Facebook page.  Why?  Because consumers want to have a dialogue with the businesses they patronize. They want to be able to have a two-way conversation, and they want to know that businesses care about their opinion. They want others to know which pages they like, and they want to see what businesses their friends like, too.

Facebook has changed the rules for businesses and it’s important that you stay on top of the way you should present your business on Facebook. Here’s a good article from GeekSpeak about the recent changes to Facebook.  It used to be that businesses had ‘fans,’ but now they just have ‘likes.’  So as a business, you need to work to get as many ‘likes’ as possible. You can advertise on Facebook just like you do with Google CPC ads in order to target the people you think will like your business.  Continue reading “Why a Facebook Page is as Important as a Website For a Small Business Today” »