Using Virtual Tools to Engage Your Clients
Video replay from live Webinar – How to Use Online Tools and Tips to Present a More Virtual You
Recently I sent out a simple message encouraging folks to stay positive and keep pulling for each other and suggesting that you get comfortable using an array of virtual tools to stay top of mind with clients and customers as they get to know virtual you.
In addition to plenty of messages of thanks, I also received a few questions about ways to employ digital tools for virtual communication so I thought I would put my ideas down and send them out.
First of all, there are many ways to create engagement with all of the tools we have available today but here are my favorites. (Nothing beats in-person for connection, but much can be done virtually with the right approach)
Great Use Cases and Tools
1) 1-to-1 video using a tool like Loom – Loom is a browser extension and you can do an instant video or screen capture and embed a link in an email – I call this 1 to 1 video because it’s a great way to personalize a video or review a report. I have clients who show off plans, share a website design, highlight a trend in Google analytics, give context to spreadsheet data, do a website review, and all manner of saying hello in the most personal way possible. One of the best aspects of Loom is that once you hit stop it produces a link that you can copy and paste into an email. In most cases, the recipient can view the video right in their email.
2) Video meetings and webinars using a tool like Zoom – This is my current video meeting and webinar platform of choice – We use this for larger webinars, group or team meetings, and one on one live meetings with clients. Zoom is very lightweight from a user perspective, meaning pretty much anyone who knows how to click on a link can get connected to your meeting. You can record the calls, people can join via computer or phone, there’s a mobile app, and you have lots of tools such as screen sharing and annotation during the call.
You could even consider this as a local alternative to say a networking or referral group that you already belong to but want to take to a virtual space. These kinds of meetups could help you stay connected while staying in the office.
3) Live streaming using a tool such as StreamYard – This is my current live streaming tool as it’s pretty affordable and you can stream to multiple platforms at the same time – Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc. A lot of people use live streaming in corny ways, que up the shot walking down the sidewalk or driving in the car, but livestreams can be an effective way to get a short message across. As in all things related to communicating a message, the best livestreams include stories. StreamYard also allows for some nice branding on-screen while you are broadcasting and automatically records the video.
Tips to take it up a notch
While the right tools make virtual you available, there are some things to keep in mind if you wish to take full advantage of this approach
1) Sound is important
While you can technically get your message across using your earbuds if you want to impress get a podcasting mic such as Blue Yeti
(In video meetings this isn’t necessary but for many other applications it allows you to communicate with more authority in your voice.)
2) Upgrade your camera
Most modern laptops come with a camera but taking it up just a bit to something like a Logitech C922x
will allow you to have wider shots, better focus, and far better light absorption. Okay, I don’t really know anything about light absorption, but I know you’ll look better.
3) Lighting makes a difference
If your office is the spare bedroom in the basement get some LED lights or you’ll look like you’re in the spare bedroom in the basement. If you can natural light through a window on your face is the best (no lights or window behind you or all we will see is glare.) Many people use these inexpensive ring lights
4) Get rid of distractions
Again, if you work at home or in a busy office, your background might not scream the professional message you want to convey. Recently I discovered a company called AnyVoo that creates simple pop-up backgrounds that you can put behind you anytime you have a video call or webinar. You can have any design printed on the backdrop, and it’s easy to assemble and disassemble on the go.
5) Try different formats
Online, virtual training differs from traditional in-person interaction mostly due to the fact that it’s harder to stay focused online. Meaning you should keep everything shorter and break it up into chunks. Do a 30-minute webinar instead of an hour. If you want to do something much longer you’ll have to think of a structure that gives people a break.
30 minutes of teaching, break to complete an assignment, 30 minutes of discussion.
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