Guest Post: @StefanLia

2020 turned out to be an unexpectedly weird and a somewhat disappointing year. Yet, looking back, I must admit that, despite all the restrictions, I have managed to work around them. Who in a million years would have thought that a pandemic will hinder our daily lives? (Well, Bill Gates actually did foresee this).

For 2021, I have a couple of projects lined up. One of which are guest posts. Stefan sums up his experience of 2020. Have a read.

Looking back at 2020

Undeniably, this has been a strange year to say the least. For most it has been pretty difficult. Higher stress level from actual or potential job losses and cancellation of long-awaited holidays and big events such as weddings and graduations. For some, lockdowns proved difficult due to their personal situation.

People could not meet people. For most of us, not being able to meet your vulnerable loved ones for fear of inadvertently infecting them which could lead to much serious consequences is difficult. Worst of all, is the pain that those who lost a loved one as a result of the virus went through. 

Clearly, this was not a good year, a bad one for most, if I were to make a quick evaluation. Yet there is always a silver lining.

If, like me, you are lucky enough to work from home, I am sure you can appreciate the time spent with you family. Yes, kids drive you crazy and an important meeting may have been interrupted with your dog’s barks. Yet, look back at those moments with a moments of fondness and a way for colleagues and collaborators to see the other side of you.

A lot of people had free time on their hands – less going out, difficult in practicing hobbies meant that, for once, time could be on our side. A lot have taken online courses, refreshed their skills or learnt something new to take with them in the new year. That is surely one of the best investment one could make during 2020!

There was also increased realisation by some of our impact on the planet. We all saw the pictures of deserted major cities and quite frankly I am still sad to see no crowds in our capital city, Valletta which is generally bustling with local and foreign shoppers. Yet one cannot deny that we are pressuring our environment and greater awareness of that may lead to actual change in attitude that future generations will thanks us for.

Finally there is there was the realisation of the importance of front-liners in such crisis. Medical staff, law enforcement and other individuals putting themselves at risk on a daily basis as part of their daily job. Such key function within a country are sometimes underappreciated. With the pandemic, this was brought into the limelight and hope is that this will bring positive change for the people doing these jobs, being better conditions, salaries and greater appreciation.

As we prepare to celebrate a different Christmas this year, no work parties, no travelling and no big lunches or dinners, we can only hope that 2021 will be a better year. We will, for sure, take both the good and bad from 2020 with us to make the most out of it!

Stefan Lia is a governance & risk professional, father to 19 month old Bethany and 3 year old Nina (dog). He also happens to be my hubby ♡

Would you like to be featured on my blog? Let’s talk!

Amanda x

A shift to online shopping.

This is my twelfth official day of social distancing. Twelve days of video calling, online meetings, a deep yearning for cappuccinos (the real deal) and mobile shopping. I’m used to staying at home even with a baby in tow but not for such a long stretch of time 😞

In the past weeks, we have seen a general shift to online buying. Internet traffic spiked as more people resort to staying at home, working from home and distancing themselves from others*.

Think about it. We already spent a considerable amount of time on social media, pre-COVID-19. Everywhere you turned, people were on their phones. If people are spending more time indoors, chances are, they’re spending even more time online. Now more than ever.

Consumers have more time to invest in online research and browsing. They google, they follow local micro-influencers, and more often than not, they pose questions in Facebook groups to weigh their options before purchasing.

“Are there any supermarkets delivering before April?”

“From where can I buy toys for kids online?”

The doors to many businesses have been temporarily closed. At this stage, no one knows for how long. So, LISTEN UP 📣 In no way is this the time to disappear from social media. On the contrary, turn this unfortunate situation into an opportunity to get creative and step up your game.

Restaurant owners decided to introduce and reinforce take away and free delivery. Wine importer? True, the flow of orders from restaurants and bars has inevitably come to a halt. Why not connect directly with people staying at home? Introduce deliveries. If you do not have the capacity or riders, sign up with a local delivery service.

“One of the few good things that came of this: Delivery.

How many times have you read this on your Facebook timeline or thought about it yourself even?

During mobile marketing sessions I had carried out (in collab with the Malta Communications Authority), I always asked for a show of hands. Who shops online, who makes a purchase from their mobile device? This was a couple of years ago. I was surprised at the few hands raised. Then again, the sessions were targeted at small business owners who wanted to expand their digital marketing knowledge.

🔵 Businesses – if you haven’t already, get working on a plan. Think. How do people search online? Where is your audience – Instagram, Facebook, TikTok?

Online presence is essential in this day and age. Be in social media groups, follow trends, keep up. If this is too much for you to handle, find someone who can. But please find someone who knows what s/he is doing.

🔵 The big question is: What will happen after this? What repercussions, if any, will this have on your business? Change, albeit terrifying, can be beneficial. As in this scenario.

Business-permitting, consider having an e-shop. If money-wise this is not the ideal time to invest in revamping (or creating) your website and introduce an e-commerce platform, you can always take it to Facebook for the time being. You can take orders via messenger or Whatsapp. However, be prepared. Post-COVID-19, things will be different.

If nothing, the COVID-19 pandemic has urged people to take it up a notch and go digital. Remember, if people at home are happy with the service, they might keep at it. How convenient is it for consumers to order things online and have them delivered straight to their door? Not sure about this? Ask them. The easiest way to conduct a quick survey is to ask your clients directly and see for yourself what they think.

One last thing, help local businesses. As a freelancer, I know first-hand how hard things can get during times like these. If you need help setting up, let’s start a conversation 💬

➡️ Facebook

Meanwhile, stay safe!

Amanda x

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*Source: https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/internet-demand-surges-but-service-providers-say-theyre-ready.779693