Story Amber Johnson
Photos Emma Thompson
In 2010, the internet was a vastly different landscape, but one that long-time Eagle residents, Blane and Angela Russell knew could be developed for success. He had forged a successful business in the mortgage industry, and in the wake of the 2008 crash, he looked to develop his future in a new business landscape ripe with promise and possibility.
Blane founded Social Eyes Marketing, and at the time it was just as it sounds– a social media company. With an educational focus, Blane and his team began providing classes for small businesses to learn how to grow their own social media. Before long Social Eyes Marketing grew into a full-service digital marketing firm, providing everything from web design and creative video production to strategic ad campaigns and SEO– all designed to get you found online.
Over the next 10 years, Social Eyes Marketing became one of the largest players in the valley in the digital marketing industry– opening their Downtown Boise office on the top floor of the Historic Hoff Building boasting 360-degree views of the City of Trees. Hosting events and client meetings was a daily occurrence in the space– creating an opportunity for growth and collaboration in marketing projects and beyond.
That is when COVID-19 hit. Social Eyes Marketing built its brand on being “social,” now the future of all things “social” looked uncertain. The team at Social Eyes Marketing didn’t skip a beat. Staff began working remotely a full week before the Idaho Stay at Home Order took effect. With remote tracking, project management, and communications already in place, the transition was smooth, but the unknown of the pandemic hit everyone in the company hard.
“We work with a lot of small, local businesses.” Blane recounts, “We knew immediately this would affect them, so we just had to help.” Social Eyes began providing free services to restaurant and entertainment clients, who were hit particularly hard by the crisis. They also continued to manage and host websites, free of charge, for clients who had to pause their services to get back on their feet again. While the team at Social Eyes continued to work from home, people’s attention turned to everything online– and in a time of uncertainty for many, Social Eyes has adapted to survive and thrive.
With the changes in the business communication landscape, Social Eyes built a growth plan for three new markets in 2020. June 1st marks the opening of the Social Eyes Marketing Salt Lake City branch. Reno, Nevada and Bend, Oregon offices are scheduled to open by year’s end. This growth comes as a response to people’s new comfort level with remote working– but it also comes with the clear growth in the digital marketing industry– the truth is, being seen online these days is sometimes the only way to be seen.
Growth hasn’t changed Blane and Social Eye’s focus on the Treasure Valley. In addition to helping out during the pandemic, Social Eyes continues to offer their beautiful downtown space for nonprofits in the valley and donates their time to several causes near and dear to the Social Eyes family’s heart.
Blane and the team at Social Eyes Marketing are confident about staying on top of their game, no matter what the future holds– “Digital marketing is the future, sure, but it’s also the ‘right now.’ If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that the internet has the power to connect us like never before– imagine what would happen if your business harnessed that power in its marketing.”