In this blog series, we’ll hear Team Alice members share their areas of expertise that can help you with your business.
Stay-at-home orders have quickly pushed us toward digital tools to stay connected with our family, friends, staff, and customers. In particular, the face-to-face benefits of videoconferencing have propelled companies like Zoom from a position of corporate obscurity to hosting quarantine weddings seemingly overnight. Now small business owners must learn how to best integrate videoconferencing software to fit their specific needs.
At Hello Alice, we use various video conferencing tools such as Zoom to connect with our community of small business owners and Google Hangouts to host meetings among Team Alice. Our own Chief of Staff Jillian Benvenuti recently shared how Team Alice uses these tools to work remotely and stay connected internally.
But why should you adopt these tools for your own business? Hello Alice Director of Marketing Sandra Crawford points out that they can help founders stay in touch with their staff and customers. “Business owners right now should definitely be using some sort of video meeting, so that they can keep in touch with their team members or external meetings that they have while we’re all sheltering in place and quite isolated,” Crawford explains. “Having that video component is really critical in keeping connected.”
Crawford spends her days making data-informed decisions to ensure that our services reach small business owners. This includes hosting our regular business webinars and new Community on Call series, a twice-weekly meetup for business owners affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, live on Zoom.
With the advent of COVID-19, many founders are now using videoconferencing in creative ways to take their businesses online. “As a lot of business owners are needing to translate their in-person businesses online, tools like Zoom and virtual meetings are a good way to migrate some of those service-based businesses,” says Crawford. “I’ve seen yoga instructors doing online Zoom classes. I’ve seen educational content going online. There’s a lot you can probably do with your business that might be out of the box to stay in touch with your customers.”
We’ve asked Crawford to share her best tips on how you can make videoconferencing tools like Zoom work for you.
1. Use Zoom’s Security Features
Worried about someone “Zoombombing” your meetings? Zoom has added security features to protect your meetings from unwanted disruptions. “Definitely use the tools that Zoom has developed for security — enable the password, enable the waiting room. And make sure you check the admin controls before you go live, so you know how to boot anyone out that might be disruptive,” says Crawford. “It gives you, as an admin, all those controls so you can fix problems in the moment.”
2. Sharing Your Screen
Sharing your screen is useful when talking to clients, hosting a webinar, or giving a presentation to your team. But make sure to manage participant settings so that only the host can share their screen if you are doing a public meeting. This feature also allows you to share only a single app you have open, like a PowerPoint slideshow you’re presenting, so you don’t have to worry about revealing your entire desktop (and notifications) to your clients or customers.
3. Connect Your Broadcast to Facebook
Many business owners are using Zoom to host webinars and events. Broadcast your message even further by hosting on Facebook, too. “There’s an integration that can simultaneously host [your webinar] on Zoom and on Facebook,” Crawford explains. Making your broadcast available on both platforms can broaden your reach with audiences.
4. Record Webinars or Meetings to Share Later
Zoom enables users to record their meetings, making it easy to share webinars with your audience, even when the event is long over. “In terms of virtual events, we host webinars where we bring in multiple panelists and interview them. Zoom lets you do that quite easily and record it so you can repurpose and share that with people who couldn’t attend at the moment.”
5. Trim Webinars using YouTube
If you’re using YouTube to publish your recorded webinar, Crawford recommends using the site’s editor to trim the first few minutes of your video — the part when you’re getting ready to begin the event. “It’s really easy to use YouTube’s built-in editor to trim the beginning of the video when you’re getting everything set up,” she says. “Trim [the beginning part] until you say ‘Welcome.’” That way, you can cut to right when the webinar begins as the video starts.
Of course, Zoom isn’t the only videoconferencing tool, and Crawford says there are other many platforms out there that might better suit your business. “Founders should explore what works for them and figure out a way they can keep in touch with video meetings and keeping that human-to-human, face-to-face as much as possible,” says Crawford.
Looking to move your business online? Learn how you can pivot through the Hello Alice Pivot Your Business During COVID-19 Guide. Also check out the Hello Alice Host a Virtual Meeting Guide to moving your in-person meetings online.