Thursday marked the fiftieth meeting for Social Media Breakfast Red Deer (SMBRD).

The club aims to help people get more engagement online, all while building better connections.

The breakfast offers the opportunity for local professionals to expand their online knowledge and presence.

“I’m always looking for new ways to find audiences, and I’m a bit old school,” said local business owner Phil Duncan, who admits he didn’t know what Snapchat was until he started attending the meetings.

For Meagan Parisian it’s a chance to connect: “We come here to show that we’re here to support this community event, and support the community of creative people in Red Deer.”

SMBRD started in 2012 as a small event, with only 20 or so people each month.

“It was super hard to get sponsors, super hard to get speakers and then it just grew, and grew, and grew,” said Team Lead Brenda Sargeant, who joined after the first meeting. “So many times I just wanted to shut it down because I thought ‘oh, we’re just never going to make it’ and now I feel like we made it.”

The group modelled their events after similar ones in bigger cities like Calgary and Edmonton. It gives entrepreneurs, small business owners, and bloggers tips to build their brands, and use online marketing tools.

“It has also been crazy awesome for the connections and collaborations that have been made by the people that attend this. We hear that often, and that’s like our key goal is the networking,” said Sargeant.

Popular Calgary blogger Mike Morrison was this month’s speaker, offering insight into influencer marketing. He explained, “Cities like Red Deer or even smaller cities have influencers, and have way of helping business sort of do a cross promotion of cool ideas, of neat businesses.”

Morrison runs ‘Mike’s Bloggity Blog’ which attracts over a million readers each year. In 2015 he was named Calgary’s second most influential twitter personality… just behind Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

His advice to attendees is to build trust with their audience.“When people post about a certain company, or brand, or event there's already that inclination of trust and so if those people are posting trustworthy content then there's a huge benefit for everyone involved.”

150 people were at Thursday’s event, with more on the waitlist. For that reason, people are encouraged to register early, to get in on this social network.

Meetings vary each month, from panels for teens or LinkedIn, and building brand foundations. More details can be found online.