In light of the recent advise from the UK Government now being that anyone who can work from home should do so, there are clearly a LOT of people and businesses who have had to begin the adaptation process to work remotely, or relocating completely to their own homes.
With the UK also strongly advised to minimise use of public transport AND reduce face-to-face contact, to help slow down the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), there’s very little chance for people to meet in person. Many people are now physically unable to conduct meetings, networking events and any form of “mass gathering” without risking the health of the attendees and staff.
It’s ironic, really, that we’ve been saying for many years now that “we live in a digital world.” We have a vast amount of technology to work with on a daily basis and even more technology being developed all the time! However, now that “Social Distancing” has been strongly advised across the UK, the “human” element of marketing has been temporarily ‘disabled’.
How will social distancing affect digital marketing? We have always said that social media isn’t the be-all and end-all of marketing and that digital marketing should ALWAYS be backed up with face-to-face networking. You can not beat face-to-face meetings with people. However, if you use your social media in the right way, you can build and maintain relationships with your audience!
More than ever, it’s important to use your social media channels and other tools to stay connected throughout this time. With that in mind, we’ve listed a few handy tools to help you with working from home:
Dropbox – file sharing in the cloud. We use this on a daily basis to share files across the Social Progress team and also with clients. You can download it onto your computer (there’s an app version too) and use it as you would the usual file system. It saves you filling up your inbox with large attachments and losing documents within your email account.
Zoom, Skype & WhatsApp – video calls and webinars. Make calls for free via the internet. Video calls may not be quite the same as face-to-face, but you can at least see the other person/people’s faces and body language – both of which help you to connect as human beings (it’s not quite the same talking to a still image is it?)
- You can also choose to screen-share with some platforms, which allows you to deliver demonstrations and presentations if required
Networking Organisations – We know we said that face-to-face networking isn’t really an option at the moment, however, check out your local networking organisations as they will also be having to adapt to digital.
- Business Networking International (BNI) is starting to use Zoom to allow their members to continue to meet on a weekly basis via webinar
- Mid Yorkshire Network are encouraging people to join and engage with their existing LinkedIn Group (it’s a bit like a revival seeing as though LinkedIn Groups have become less active over the past few years)
- Local Facebook Groups have been active and successful at bringing communities together (even if they do talk about dog poo and potholes a lot!) If you’re not part of a local group for your neighbourhood or business location, maybe this is the time to have a look into it. If you have a Facebook account, join some groups to see what’s happening and to also see if you can be of service to your community. You could even start by joining our very own Facebook Group called “Social Progress Digital Hub“.
Next Door – specific social network for your neighbourhood. Verified users can connect and update neighbours on this platform. We’re only just looking into it but it’s worth noting. Could you help someone right on your doorstep?
Social Media – If you can’t meet up in person and people aren’t walking through the door of your office or shop, social media is the way to keep in touch and remind people that you’re still here and open for business. You can even become the inspiration that your followers need at the moment! You may need to adapt your services and delivery options (eg. some restaurants are now offering a smaller menu and delivery services) but that’s where you can keep people up to date with developments via your online channels.
- WhatsApp is another option to consider here in addition to the traditional social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. You can create groups and even video call on there.
The Social Progress Team are having to adapt to working totally remotely, thankfully we are able to do so, however we are keen to keep in touch with one another so that we’re not isolated and also so we’re keeping up to date. Communication is key within any business and between any relationship. Hopefully these tools will help you keep communication open with your own team, business network and you online audience too. At least until the Coronavirus outbreak has settled down and we can literally return to “business as usual”.
Are there any other useful tools that you know of or have experience using that help you work more efficiently from home?