2020 – One for the Books

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!

Navigating Your Business Back to Work & Utilizing the Power of Social Media

Navigating Your Business Back to Work & Utilizing the Power of Social Media

Summer is coming to a close and businesses are beginning to test the waters as they re-open their doors. For many, being closed or partially closed for the past several months has tested their planning, strategy, and resiliency. It has been a challenging time for all, and the future is still uncertain.

One thing that isn’t uncertain is the use of social media by consumers and businesses. Regardless of your marketing budget, you can effectively utilize social media for promotion, brand awareness, and increasing sales. 

As you plan your business’s next move, consider these tips for best utilizing the power of social media to optimize your business.

1. Share Information

Customers are concerned about visiting businesses that aren’t following safety protocols. You can ease their nerves by sharing how your business will be keeping employees and customers safe during this time. Make a series of posts about how your working environment is changing, the safety measures you are putting in place, and how your employees will be participating in those measures.

If your industry has unique challenges during this phase of reopening, talk about them. Share how you plan on tackling these challenges. Being transparent and forthcoming about health and safety information will re-establish your customers’ trust in you.

2. Utilize Video

Video content outperforms text-based content on social media platforms. In fact, 72 per cent of consumers would rather learn about a brand, product, or service, through video than read about it. With that in mind, now is the time to leverage your video content on social media.

In your video content (Instagram Stories, IG Live, Facebook Live, etc.), get real and raw with your audience. Share the struggles your business has faced these past few months and the ways you have overcome them. Show your brand’s personality in these videos; don’t worry about being super polished or professional. On social media, it’s all about being as authentic as possible so your audience can trust and relate to you.

3. Be Consistent in Your Communication

To effectively utilize social media in your business’s marketing, you must be consistent. Social media has the power to expand your reach to hundreds and thousands of new customers. But, it’s rare for these people to buy your offering after seeing just one of your posts.

You need to cultivate an online presence that showcases your brand, what it does, who it helps, and the proof that it works. Through consistently posting content that shows each of these things, you will reach more customers.

4. Make the Transition

While transitioning or pivoting your business can be scary, there’s no way around it if you want to survive. Every industry has had to pivot in some way. Lawyers have offered virtual services; realtors have conducted open houses online. Brick and mortar stores have pivoted to e-commerce.

Social media has supported these transitions through awareness-building and promotion. Experiment with which type of transition would work for you. You may discover a benefit of working remotely or virtually that you didn’t have before. It can allow you to expand your reach and your network, connect with new customers, and learn more about what your target consumer wants.

We Can Help You Navigate Re-Opening Your Business

At SocialEyes Communications, we are experts at growing online presences for businesses and utilizing all the amazing features social media platforms offer. We can help you establish your online presence and create a social media strategy that expands your reach, your network, and your sales. Contact us today to find out more.

How to be an ally of #BlackLivesMatter

How to be an ally of #BlackLivesMatter

As you have probably seen all over social media and the news this last week, protests are being held and calls to action have been shared to end the systematic racism and police brutality black people face. This isn’t a new movement; black lives have been battling racism and police brutality for years. However, in today’s day and age, to be silent is to be complicit. So, what can you do to support #BlackLivesMatter and be an ally?

  1. Educate Yourself

The first step to supporting the #blacklivesmatter movement is educating yourself. If you feel as though you don’t know enough to speak out, do your research. This doesn’t mean asking the black people in your life to teach you, they have enough to worry about at this time. Remember, it’s a privilege to educate yourself about racism instead of experiencing it. It’s important to do your own research to truly understand how to be an anti-racist. Here are some amazing books, shows/movies and voices to look at and share:

To read:

Shows/movies to watch:

To follow:

And more resources: https://www.whenwestandtogether.com/

2. Recognize subtle racism and racial inequalities around you

Racism is all around us, in health care, politics, criminal justice, education, and employment. It is in every sector of public and private life. Become aware of the little ways in which you and the people around you promote racism. This starts from noticing your own privilege. Have a conversation about racism in your homes, educate your children and challenge dated racist ideals. These conversations are uncomfortable, difficult and angering but they are vital in stopping the systematic racism happening around us.

3. Donate to funds and support petitions

Support platforms and initiatives which aid black people through this difficult time. It’s time to directly support the organizations that help fight for black lives every single day. Here are some organizations to donate to and petitions to sign:

To donate:

Petitions to sign:

And more resources: https://www.whenwestandtogether.com/

4. Support black-owned businesses

Next time you’re thinking about getting dinner or going shopping, consider stepping out of your tried-and-true and supporting black-owned businesses. Not only does this allow you to experience cultures and flavours, but can create more opportunities for meaningful savings, property ownership and generational wealth for the black community. Small businesses and entrepreneurs are wealth builder in our society. When small businesses flourish, so do their communities and job opportunities are fostered.

5. Don’t stop!

Remember that this isn’t a trend; it’s a matter of human life. The in street protests might end and the social media posts may come in fewer but this isn’t a one-time battle. Continue to be vocally and blatantly anti-racist, call out those that have racist views and support black-owned businesses. Continue to learn, educate, donate and support. [!]

Allyship isn’t a one week act. It’s a lifetime commitment to educating yourself, listening, learning from your mistakes, doing your research and staying aware. Keep in mind that these resources are just the tip of the iceberg, keep researching.

[!] https://www.greenamerica.org/blog/6-reasons-support-black-owned-businesses

Do Facebook Page Followers Still Matter?

Do Facebook Page Followers Still Matter?

There are so many important metrics to track when marketing your business online. Each social platform has its own metrics with some that are more important than others. When it comes to Facebook, how much does your page follower count matter? Should you be worried if that number isn’t increasing? Here’s what you need to know.

Facebook’s Engagement Evolution

About 5 years ago, Facebook was vastly different. The more likes your business page had, the more people would see your content and hopefully engage with it. The more people that engaged with it, the more people beyond that initial group would also be exposed. At that time, people could only see the content of a business page if they followed or liked the page. There was an incentive there.

In 2018, everything changed. Over the last few years, Facebook has made it more challenging to reach people who have connected with your profile. Why? Because they want you to pay to play!  

It’s all about compelling brands to pay for ad space in their target market’s newsfeed. This article from SocialMediaToday explains it well. While likes still matter, they aren’t an indicator of revenue for your business. It’s better to focus your marketing budget on promoted content and paid ads on Facebook rather than campaigns to increase page likes.

Why Aren’t People Seeing My Content?

If someone likes my page, shouldn’t they see my content? The answer is no. In January of 2018, Zuckerberg implemented a Facebook algorithm that would affect exactly that. The change focused on “prioritizing content” based on “user experience.” The newsfeed was no longer based on “who and what you are following.” It was now solely based on user engagement.

This was the article that was launched in 2018 that took everyone in the social media marketing industry by storm as we had to start learning and implementing new and improved ways to target our markets and optimize reach. Zuckerberg was basically saying that only 3-5% of people who have liked a brand’s page would actually see that brand’s posts.

However, people would see posts from brands that they engaged with deeper than simply liking the page.

When this happened, all sorts of content was published (and is still published today) to direct people away from vanity metrics which are things like the number of followers or the number of website page views. Instead, we’re encouraged to track effective and measurable metrics like comments, shares, engagement rates, unique web visitors (not repeat views), bounce rates, time spent on the website, etc.

What Brands Need to Know

Engagement metrics assist us in understanding your impact, your social presence, and your brand’s ability to attract viewership.

People today are not as compelled to like pages in the way that they were before. At SocialEyes, we engage with the content we want to see more of. For example, let’s say you enjoy Amy Porterfield’s content. If this is the case, then you should like and comment on her posts so you can see more of them. Facebook will show you more of the content you’re most likely to engage with.

So, what does all this mean for brands? It means you shouldn’t get hung up on Facebook page followers. Instead, focus on increasing your reach, engagement, and exposure. Other than making you look popular, page followers have no fundamental bearing on who sees what. The key takeaway for your marketing to succeed on Facebook is that you need to pay to play.

SocialEyes Communications is committed to helping our clients stay ahead of the digital marketing curve. If you’re ready to maximize your brand’s reach and engagement on Facebook, contact us today.

How Lawyers Can Adapt to Today’s Climate

How Lawyers Can Adapt to Today’s Climate

Law firms are among the fortunate businesses that can still thrive during this crisis. Not only can you connect with your clients online and through technology, but your services are still in demand. Now is not the time to retreat out of fear or anxiety. This is the time to adapt and to come out on top. Here are some tips to help guide you.

1. Leverage Social Media

If you haven’t already implemented a strong social media strategy, now is the time to do so. People are spending more time online these days, especially on social media platforms. Many are working from home and scrolling through social media for entertainment. Your firm should be active on your profiles as well as through social ads.

That also means doubling down on your engagement efforts. Reply to comments, create conversations, connect with your peers. Use the different features on each platform like stories, live videos, hashtags, and regular text and image posts.

What should you be posting about right now? How your law firm can help your clients through this difficult time. Show that you understand the challenges many are facing. What kinds of solutions can you provide? Be proactive, helpful, and authentic.

2. Optimize Your Website

Your law firm should already have a website that allows interested visitors to learn more about your services and contact you. Now is the time to optimize your website and make it even more useful. If your office is closed, people will be looking at your website for answers instead of calling your phone number. Have you made it easy for them to find those answers?

Here are some key elements of your site to focus on:

  • Clear and easy navigation
  • Cohesive branding
  • Downloadable forms and resources
  • Obvious contact information

Ensure your e-forms have e-signature capabilities. This makes signing documents even easier and more convenient for your clients.

Your contact page should now also include information regarding the crisis. If your physical office isn’t currently open, make that clear. Show them the best ways to contact you instead.

3. Offer Services Virtually

Service providers, like law firms, are fortunate because they don’t depend on brick and mortar locations as much as retail businesses do. Law firms don’t usually rely on window shoppers or walk-in traffic. Your essential tasks can all be done online with technology. For example,

  • To meet with your clients, set up Zoom or Skype calls
  • Communicate with your team through Slack
  • Scan paper documents into digital forms with mobile scanner apps

As long as you have a space to set up your laptop and take meetings, your business can continue as usual. Remember to adapt to your clients’ new realities by being more present on social media, optimizing your site, and making the most of technologies.

As for the court closures, request teleconference hearings when possible. Most hearings and general sittings of the court are being postponed, so be aware of that when creating timelines and deadlines with your team and clients.   Ready to level up your social media marketing strategy? Contact us today to get started.

Financial Service Providers: See the Opportunity in Change

Financial Service Providers: See the Opportunity in Change

Businesses that offer financial services are being faced with a huge opportunity right now. People everywhere are evaluating their finances and wondering how they’re going to make it through this crisis. Your business can provide immense relief, support, and information. Taking advantage of this opportunity in an adaptable and effective way is your challenge. Here are some ways you can serve your customers.

  1.  Provide Information

This pandemic is changing every day. For most people, that uncertainty is alarming and unsettling. You can ease their nerves by providing accurate and timely information regarding finances. How are the pandemic changes affecting financial services? Are you communicating those changes to your customers?

You can provide this information in several ways. Send regular email updates to your clients. Write blog posts. Be active on social media. Research the questions your customers are asking and find different ways to answer them. Take telephone and video meetings with clients who want to talk in person.

Now is the time to get in front of your community and provide valuable insight. Your reliable information and guidance can be amazing for easing minds and nerves.

  • Be Present Online

You know where most of your customers are spending their time right now. At home and online. They’re scrolling through social media for entertainment, news, and advice. Your business needs to be leveraging its social media strategy to take advantage of this increase in traffic.

How can you leverage social media? By posting relevant, accurate, and empathetic content. Use stories and live videos to share helpful information and to give tips. As an expert in the field, your opinion on finances is hugely valuable right now. Don’t hesitate to help your audience.

Consider hosting a live video discussion where customers can ask you questions and get answers in real-time. Talk about the state of the economic climate right now. You can easily host this discussion through your smartphone from home. Remember to be authentic to the situation. It’s okay to share how you’re struggling and relate to your customers. Just be sure to follow with real solutions.  

  • Adapt to Technology

Most financial businesses use technology quite a bit, so adapting even further shouldn’t be a problem. The biggest changes you’ll have to make are switching to online meetings and communicating with your team and clients remotely. Some tools that make this easier are Slack, Asana, Zoom, and Skype.

If you weren’t doing this before, start making your application forms usable online. Clients should be able to fill out forms from their laptops and send them back to you. Make sure your forms have e-signature capabilities. Insurance advisors can continue to attract and convert leads by making the most of different technologies.

The demand for financial services is high right now. People are ready to learn about protecting their financial future and stretching their money further. It’s up to your business to seize this opportunity and adapt to the changes.

For help optimizing your social media strategy, contact us today.