2020 – One for the Books

Every year on December 31, I reflect on the year that has passed – what has been accomplished? What can we strive towards? What goals can we set for the year ahead? Last year, on this day, it was the end of a decade. 2019 was quite the year and there was a lot of reflection and a lot to be proud of. You can check out last year’s article here. At the end of the article, I mentioned that self-care, self-reflection and self-growth was a goal for 2020 – and boy was it ever.

2020 was one for the books – it almost feels like we are ending it off with a sense of relief, and though it threw us all for leaps and bounds, 2020 was a year of learning some of the most important lessons.

Here goes:

  1. The Shift

The most notable achievement this year was the obvious – March 15, 2020 –  when the global health crisis hit Toronto. I remember feeling scared – for our health and the health of our business. A flurry of what-if scenarios filled my mind. What if I have to let staff go? How will we bounce back from revenue loss? Just as my panic peaked, Dave and I sat down and gave ourselves advice that we would have given any client: reposition.

It was time to inject new meaning into our model – and from there came new opportunity. Having an online presence during this unprecedented year was not just a nice to have – it became more essential than ever. Retail needed to go online, professional service providers that were formerly reticent to embrace virtual service offerings, would now have no choice. Economic challenge of this magnitude required SocialEyes to pivot. This is when the Business Development side of SocialEyes had to take precedence. Instead of thinking only about online campaigns, we had to zero in on adaptation. Our team quickly mobilized. We came up with new business and distribution models, shifted messaging, launched nurturing and engaging campaigns, presented new proposals for reframing the narrative. Our social media specialists all became business development consultants and we found new ways to add value – and we are so fortunate that our services became even more essential as we discovered and flexed new muscles along the way.

2. Our Team and Our Talent

Over the last 12 months, we have been fortunate enough to have grown our team and recruit new and necessary talent that was missing from our internal team. We have grown quite considerably over the past 12 months and have realized what missing pieces were needed so that we can offer our clients new value-added services. We now have a team of 9 talented, dedicated and tenacious individuals at SocialEyes.

We have also realized and recognized our team member’s individual talents and interests and have gone through a bit of a re-structure.

Over the last 12 months, our team of social media strategists and content creators became very strong project managers, business developers, relationship builders and story-tellers. When Covid-19 hit, and content shifted, each and every account manager touched base with clients – we had to change the narrative, scrap our planned content and pivot. Our team has gone to the wall hustling for each other and for our clients – so that they could come out stronger!

Tatiana Rivers, initially a Freelancer, Content Creator and Account Manager has really honed her skills in client strategy and brand development. As of November 2020, Tatiana has stepped into this role almost exclusively and has built out new client strategies, optimized current client strategies and is responsible for implementing brand guides for each and every client that comes our way – as brand voice and positioning is becoming the most important foundational element necessary for any online strategy.

Ammi Parmar, started with us in January 2019. Over the last almost two years, Ammi has become a very strong project manager, task manager, an ultra-organized and detailed team member and strong process improver. As of December 2019, Ammi became our first Team Lead and Marketing Manager.

Over the last 6 to 8 months, we recognized the need for a strong email and ad strategist. A nice-looking social feed and strong branding is important for exposure and awareness; however, database building and nurture campaigns are as equally important. How do we turn contacts in to clients and customers? Adam Simmons joined our team in October 2020, and with his knack for nurture sequence emails and strong ad and targeting skills, we have been able to provide even more value to our clients.

And last but not least, in December of 2020, we brought onboard Lorinda Nepaul, our first Chief Financial Officer. This was a very exciting way to end the year for us. Lorinda will be providing us with insights and best practices for our financials, projections and will aid in strengthening our operations, profitability and effectiveness.

3. Article Contributions and Media Mentions

In 2018, I set a goal that I would seek out article contribution opportunities. Even though 2020 came with a whole set of new challenges that diverted attention to 100 different places, I still prioritized this goal as I enjoy writing, story-telling and feel that I am at a point where I am able to provide valuable information. I am even proud to say that 2020 was the year I wrote for Social Media Examiner!

The following 14 articles were published in 2020:

4. Webinars and Speaking Gigs

Speaking is something that I have never been so comfortable with but for the past couple of years, I have wanted to develop my public speaking skill set. This year, though speaking in person at events was out of the question, I was able to provide my insights via online webinar/events.

I hosted an online webinar for Financial Service Providers back in April and I was sought out to speak at the Durham Region Association of Realtors in June on hosting virtual open houses and utilizing the power of technology.

5. Content Collaboration: Video Series

At the beginning of 2020, content collaboration was on my to-do list. It was something that I had wanted to do for a while, and felt that we were perfectly situated to do so. We have an eco-system of incredibly bright, insightful and resourceful clients who have so much wisdom to share with the world.

I started 2020 off interviewing Susan Eick, CEO at Refinery on innovation, technology and leadership.  A few weeks later, I interviewed my brother Adam Stern, President of Resale at PSR Brokerage about the changing landscape of the real estate industry.

Then Covid-19 happened and these video collaborations became even more important, even more interesting and even more necessary. I sought interviews with leading experts in different industries to share some knowledge and insight on their own experiences. How were they pivoting? What opportunities came their way? What challenges came their way?

Check them out here:

6. Charity Initiative: Eli’s (Market) Place

For those of you who followed along for the ride in 2019, know that we put on a Charity Gala for Sick Kid’s Hospital. This year, due to the effect of COVID-19, we shelfed that initiative.

This year, we were proud to support Eli’s Place – which will be the first ever Canadian long-term residential treatment centre for young adults with serious mental illness. We launched Eli’s (Market) Place in November leading up to the holidays as a means to provide an online forum to “Shop for a Cause for the Holidays”.  The Marketplace had listed over 50 products from various vendors, donors and sponsors who supported us in our efforts to raise money for a much-needed resource in Canada.

The Marketplace will stay live until end of day today, so stay tuned next week when we announce the final amount raised for Eli’s Place Canada.

I would say that 2020 was different and challenging, but it was also eye-opening, revolutionary and likely one of the most meaningful years yet. It taught us to be grateful, to feel the power of community, the strength in our relationships, patience, kindness, perseverance and most of all, that at the end of the day, health trumps all.

Without health (mind, body and soul), what do we have left?

Here’s to a New Year of soul searching, goal setting and practicing gratitude!