Chris Reeve proposed to his girlfriend and started a new social media business right at the start of the pandemic. Here he talks about how social media has been a lifeline for people this year, encouraging footballers to open up on his Talk Norwich City podcast, and his three-step plan to dealing with loss
If I had to describe what my life has been like this year I would say it’s been an emotional, crazy, epic adventure, breaking out of the normal 9-5 corporate mould and taking the plunge to start a business right at the beginning of a global pandemic and I also asked to marry my girlfriend so it’s safe to say that this year has been an absolute rollercoaster.
At the start of 2020 i was in a very safe secure pretty normal job really but very unfulfilled and then the news hits that Covid was a thing and of course the nerves kicked in and I then became very unsecure and very worried as the company I was in could unfortunately no longer run.
So lockdown 1.0 for me was pretty nerve-wracking, very challenging and very emotional but then also at the same time kind of thrilling because at the same time the comfort blanket wasn’t on any more and I had to do something different and I was doing something I wanted to do so at the time I was feeling kind of a lot more fulfilled and happy in my life and at the time of lockdown 1.0 I was purely going on adrenalin just keeping going. Lockdown 2.0 was very different.
Lockdown 2.0 kicked in and that was a bigger challenge because, being very honest with you, I was probably suffering from some sort of fatigue. The business was off to a really strong start everything was looking good and then the news of lockdown 2.0 kicked in and some of the clients I had won there was some fear over would they continue their work with me and luckily because of the service I was providing they decided to continue on with me. On a personal level it probably affected me more but on a professionally sales continued to rise and business continued to come in.
I would absolutely say that social media has definitely been a lifeline for people this year. It’s got a bad wrap and a stigma which to be fair can be justified. It can be used as a force for bad as well as a force for good. I think social media this year has been absolutely vital. There’s more people doing Instagram lives this year and keeping in touch with their friends. Social media has probably made people realise in 2020 more than ever is the value of community. A lot of people neglected this in their everyday lives and now we are in this world where we need that connectivity and we need that community. Social media served that up in many different forms: live shows, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, all sorts…
Yet there’s definitely been more of a need in 2020 for social media management. I think quite a lot of businesses were kind of turning a blind eye to it, still, and still not committing not enough budget to it and probably just seeing it as a bit of a tick box exercise and obviously in the light of just how important everyone now knows it is, in terms of getting their brand touch points in, a lot of businesses have really accelerated their digital transformation which has been vital to survive.
I run Talk Norwich City with my best mate, Jack Reeve, and yes it has been a bit of a revelation this year. We’ve really kind of just changed the game a little bit and rather than just doing pretty normal, bog-standard interviews we’ve really gone deeper with our guests and have started to ask them about some of their challenges in order to help bring strength to others, Darren Eadie being a great example; Bryan Gunn talking about the loss of his daughter; Luke Chadwick talking about how he used to get loads of stick about his physical appearance as a footballer so Talk Norwich City has been so important for people this year because we’ve managed to keep Norwich City fans together which they wouldn’t have had unless they were in the football stands.
Football for me is very important, like for others. The trend of this interview is community and I cannot emphasise enough how important football is for loads of people. Actually it’s very important for the people of Norfolk. We are a one club county and when Norwich is playing well the county feels happy and there’s a noticeable difference among business people, especially on a Monday morning after Norwich have picked up three points and, yes, I’m really looking forward to getting back to Carrow Road, but I am a little bit sad that we are not going to be doing our live watch-a-longs now, because they’ve been a great experience and we’ve been able to reach an even bigger audience than ever before but of course nothing else beats the taste of the pie and the sip of the drink and of course the epic atmosphere in the Barclay’s Stand.
My advice to anyone who has lost someone this year is the same as every year, to be very honest with you, and that’s three things that I focus on, having lost my mum in 2007 to non-Hodgkin Lymphoma cancer and they are perspective, gratitude and mortality and to break those down very quickly for you:
Thinking about perspective is important because someone always has it worse than you. That’s really hard to think of at the time but I promise you that’s the case.
Gratitude is important. A lot of people really don’t think about all the little things in life that you’ve already got, not the things that you don’t have, and that provides a tremendous amount of strength.
Your own mortality is super important as well. Not being afraid to think about your own mortality, particularly if you’ve lost someone, what you’ll find is it will become fuel to your fire over time and think about how you want to feel when it’s the end of the road for you and what you would have wanted to achieve. You’ll find yourself taking more risks but ultimately choosing happiness and sometime people over profit and I think that is the key to leading a happy life yourself and doing the person who passed away proud because their spirit lives on within you forever.
Christmas this year will be spent at home with my fiancé, Becky, with my two ragdoll cats, cuddled up by the fireplace after a full, proper British roast dinner supplied by local businesses.
In terms of of the 2021 social media landscape I think that community is going to go to a whole new level. I think we’re going to see a hell of a lot more people chose to go live rather than doing normal, static video and I think everything is going to be ramped up. It’s going to be a much busier place to be. Much busier than it is now and so it’s more important than ever before that you think about a social media strategy for you, your personal brand, to gain more trust with your prospective customers and it’s more important than before to build a cohesive social media strategy for your business to cut through the noise and stand out in the marketplace and attract your prospective customers.