Running a Business in a World of Social Distancing

Running a Business in a World of Social Distancing - #TwitterSmarter chat with Dan Willis - July 2, 2020

Even though many parts of the world are opening up their economies after the longest hiatus in modern history, the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly not over yet. What does this mean for our favorite businesses and brands? How can we navigate the challenges of working from home and social distancing measures and still run a business successfully? We asked marketing strategist, speaker, and #TwitterSmarter veteran Dan Willis to share some ideas. Here’s a summary of our chat.

Guest: Dan Willis
Topic: Running a Business in a World of Social Distancing
Format: Eight questions directed at the guest. Everyone’s welcome to share.

Q1: How has COVID changed businesses on social media?

One of the best things that happened as a result of the pandemic is that more and more businesses started social media for what they’re intended. As Dan explained, a lot of brands have taken to social media, prioritizing audience engagement instead of it just being a one-way interaction.

And like John said, people who relied on events have turned to hosting and attending virtual events, powered by live videos, webinars, and training software.

On the other hand, as Deb from Agorapulse and Nathalie pointed out, a lot of businesses are taking this opportunity to help out their employees and serve their communities.

Q2: How can you stay in touch with clients during a crisis like this pandemic?

Dan’s top advice is to get face-to-face with your clients. And of course, to do so online. He vouched for Zoom meetings and social media live to stay in touch. Watch the video to hear Dan explain how no matter which platform you choose to do live videos on, it can still help you connect with clients and ensure constant communication.

Rob & Kennedy shared a great idea too—sometimes too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. For example, you don’t want to bombard your audience with too many emails or a flurry of back-to-back videos. Instead, use a variety of channels to communicate—a couple of Facebook posts, a few tweets, a webinar here, a video there, and some well-timed emails. That way, you don’t overwhelm your audience but still get your message across.

Q3: What are some tools that make it easy to adopt remote working?

Our guest’s preferences, aside from Zoom, are Agorapulse for social media managing, OBS Project for video recording and streaming, and Restream. Watch his answer to understand how he uses Restream to go live at once on multiple social media channels like YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, Facebook, and more to engage with a lot more people than live streaming on a single channel.

Di also mentioned a few other important tools like CoSchedule, Google, Tailwind, and everyone’s favorite Tweet Deck.

Some other common tools our community members spoke about are Slack for team communication, Asana and Trello for project management, Hootsuite, and Evernote.

Q4: What role does video play in this new physically-distant world?

Video is a great way to meet your clients without leaving your home. And when you meet them, you get to have a real, human conversation as opposed to them reading a chunk of text. What’s more, a lot of people now worry about what business would be like a few months or years down the lane. Talking to them face-to-face gives you the opportunity to discuss genuinely and reassure them.

With most of the world in lockdown, so many museums and art galleries have started doing video tours—another exciting use of the functionality. Our friend from Salt Rank pointed out how the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art showcases their pieces through a clever and relevant, branded hashtag.

Q5: Share some tips to getting clients when you can’t meet them face-to-face.

The most valuable thing you can do on social media is to listen. Actively. As Dan explained, most social media channels have excellent search functionalities. Twitter’s advanced search, in particular, is so comprehensive that you can filter conversations by date, hashtags, users, and specific keywords. Use all of this to engage with your audience. Look for users who talk about their problems, and keep an ear out for what they ask for. With that knowledge, you can pitch in as a helpful guide (not salesy!), understand their needs, and have genuine conversations.

A great way to generate new leads and retain your clients at the same time is to share your knowledge online. Not just though articles and text tweets, but as Javier suggested, through more webinars, podcasts, and video conferences.

Q6: How can you balance work and life when working remotely?

It’s important to separate your work and life. As our guest explained, when you have a dedicated workspace, you can direct your complete attention to work. And when you’re away from your workspace, you can give the same attention to your personal life and family.

As Carlar also said, try and make a to-do list with designated breaks. Just like with going to an office, you should have start and stop times—even if you’re working from home.

When you work from home, it’s just so easy to immerse yourself in work and forget yourself. As Alistair from Two Hour Digital reminded us, carve out time in your day for proper meals. Eating with one hand while you work with the other may sound efficient but will only hurt your life balance in the long run. (#NoteToSelf)

Q7: Name some brands that have done a great job of embracing change.

Dan’s favorite is Nike. Watch his video response to understand how Nike’s been supporting its community throughout the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests.

Madalyn pointed out how some brands are giving back to their communities. For example, she mentioned Tone It Up who’re doing free live workouts. And Christian Siriano, a fashion designer, has been making masks to be distributed by donation to support their local audience.

Mel also mentioned that an entire Zara factory is now manufacturing masks.

On top of all that, many alcohol brands across the world have gone into making sanitizers to keep up with unprecedented demands.

Q8: Will the remote workplace remain even after the COVID wave?

You bet. Even though it’s been challenging. So many people have gotten used to the idea of flexible working schedules and the comfort of staying at their home office.

Besides, as Manuel pointed out, so many companies have invested in remote tools and home office setups for their employees.

Christine also explained that now that a lot of companies have been working from home, they’ve realized how unnecessarily expensive a physical office space can be. Besides, after almost three months, most business leaders have developed confidence in their team members to complete their tasks.

We’ve also seen second waves of Covid hitting many countries, as Dan pointed out. This means that businesses won’t be in a rush to get back to the office. Plus, remote working has opened up a lot of opportunities and we’re connecting with people across the world unlike ever before. All that’s here to stay, folks.

Well, that’s all from me this week. Thanks for reading, and for more insights from our chat with Dan, take a look at this Twitter Moment that Joana put together.

And if you’ve got time to spare on Thursday, join us for the next #TwitterSmarter chat at 1pm ET.


About me, Narmadhaa:

I write all things—technical and marketing copy to fill the pocket; haiku and short stories to fill the soul. A social media enthusiast, I’m a member of the #TwitterSmarter chat crew, and always happy to take on writing gigs.

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