COVID-19 has changed the way that businesses operate. Offices are going remote, customers are staying home, and shopping habits have changed, at least for now.
For companies with remote employees, this means maintaining open communication and productivity. For brick-and-mortar businesses that rely on foot traffic, this means finding new ways to connect with customers.
Since in-person interaction is off the table for now, businesses need to be using more video. In this post, we’ll cover a variety of ways that your business can use video to fill some of the gaps created by social distancing.
If your business has moved to partially or fully remote work, video conferencing has likely become part of your daily routine. Face-to-face communication is important. It makes communication faster and easier, and allows you and your team to connect on a more personal level.
Additionally, maintaining personal bonds with colleagues is essential during any extended work-from-home situation. During these uncertain times, it’s all the more crucial. There are a number of free video conferencing services that you can use to connect with your team. Here are a few of our favorites:
Google Hangouts is a free tool for small and medium-sized meetings. To set up your meetings, all you need is an account with Google to create a calendar invite. Attendees do not need to join through a Google account. Google Hangouts features simple screen sharing options that make it easy for your team to share remote presentations.
Zoom’s free plan allows for meetings of up to 100 participants. As with Google Hangouts, these participants don’t require a Zoom account to join in. Zoom’s thumbnail gallery viewing options make it well-suited to larger team and whole-company meetings. While the free plan allows you to host unlimited meetings, those meetings are capped at 40 minutes.
Zoom also allows you to add virtual backgrounds to your chats—a fun touch for Friday afternoon meetings.
Whether or not your business already uses Slack for messaging, Slack’s video calling is a good option for when text just isn’t cutting it. Slack’s free plan includes 1:1 video calls, making it a fast and easy option for quick clarifying conversations, 1:1 meetings, or joke telling.
Facebook also offers a video chatting option through Messenger for up to 6 people.
You can actually have up to 32 people on a FaceTime call, but because it’s limited to Apple users, it’s not as well-suited to larger group meetings. That said, if you’re on the go—while keeping your social distance—it can come in handy for quick check-ins.
Video conferencing will allow you to maintain connections within your business. Video marketing will allow you to bring out the human side of your business to your customers, even as they keep their physical distance.
Animoto is a drag-and-drop video maker that makes it easy for anyone to create videos for their business. We also now offer a free plan! The plan includes tons of professionally-designed templates, so you have a guide as you make your video. They can also spark new ideas for videos that you can create. Whether you have images and video clips already, or you plan on using stock, you can create videos quickly with Animoto.
Stories has always been a platform for less formal videos. Your small business story will never be more personal than it is right now. We're all going through a completely new experience. Stay top of mind for your customers by sharing stories that chronicle the goings-on of your business .
You can also share relevant updates with your customers, such as blog posts and articles, like we’ve done in the example below. For vertical video creation, check out our iOS app in the app store.
Like Stories, live video gives your customers a direct look into your business and helps humanize your brand. You care about your customers, and your customers care about you. Update them on your business and let them know if there are any upcoming initiatives that they should be aware of. Connect with your customers directly, and let them know how they can support your business during these challenging times.
We know that this is uncharted territory. For our part, we’ll be here to support you however we can. You can find all our collected resources for small businesses navigating the COVID-19 pandemic right here. If you have any questions for our team, please let us know in the comments.