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Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the government’s strict order to shelter in place, individuals and businesses are being forced to come up with new ways to connect online while out of the office. Suddenly, every business is a remote business, held together by digital links. With that in mind, here are just a few of the smart ways to work from home with social media.
1 – Google Hangouts and video conferencing
OK, this is almost a no-brainer, but you need to have some form of face-to-face contact with employees, vendors and other business partners. Right now, it looks like Zoom and Google Hangouts are the two preferred options for small businesses. Just be careful of what the New York Times calls “Zoombombing” – which is what happens when online trolls decide to crash your Zoom calls.
2 – WhatsApp and group messaging
Email is still great for many purposes, but if you need an instant reply for a pressing business issue, think of connecting your home office with a group messaging tool like Slack. If you run a smaller business, even Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp could be used effectively to connect teams.
3 – Facebook Live and livestreaming
You need some way to connect with customers if they aren’t showing up in person at your store or place of business. One of the best options here is a livestreaming option like Facebook Live. At the very least, you can use Facebook Live as a regular, once-a-week “touch base” with your customers. One really surprising result of the lockdown to date has been how many schools (ranging from pre-schools to universities) are transforming into remote learning hubs. So this might be a great chance to offer classes, how-to’s, and micro-classes to your customer base.
4 – Social media marketing
If you are being forced to work remotely, you can’t forget about your digital marketing efforts. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the logical choices here, simply because they are so easy to manage remotely. Depending on the size of your team, however, you might want to investigate social media apps that enable you to schedule posts in advance and get a big-picture view of what’s happening across all of your social media platforms at once.
5 – New social media collaboration tools
Necessity, as they say, is the mother of invention, and that holds true for social media as well. One of the most popular new social media inventions is a new co-watching feature from Instagram known as “Watch Party” that enables friends to look at Instagram posts together, transforming what might otherwise be a solitary pursuit into something very social.
6 – Chatbots
Finally, taking a longer view of what might be a very long lockdown, you might want to look into social media chatbots to help solve your customer service needs. Customers are bound to have thousands of questions for you (when is my delivery going to arrive? Can I get a refund for a purchase?), and you don’t want to squander all of your hours replying to the same question, over and over again. Chatbots might be one way to stay connected, while freeing up time for you and your staff.
Without a doubt, these are anxious and uncertain times. Stay mentally strong, and realize that there is an end in sight to this crisis. Social media might be one way to work smarter during this crisis period.