How Zoom Changed Small Business
Imagine if you will that this pandemic happened before today’s advanced videoconference abilities. How would offices stay together without the ubiquitous Zoom conference? How would small businesses stay in touch with their customer base? I admit I was not a big fan of the televideo call at first, preferring the social conventions of the in-person meeting. But, time and experience changed my mind, and I now embrace the idea of the Zoom call.
Most of us had no choice in adapting to the Zoom process, and there have been a great many stories of “Zoom fails,” but for every lapse there are thousands of success stories to be told. Think about how many more businesses might not be operating today if it were not for this communication facilitator. Here are some tips on how to make the best of the Zoom situation:
- Treat it like an in-person meeting: Would you really show up for an in-person meeting in sloppy clothes without paying any attention to your appearance? Of course not. So it’s not okay to do that with Zoom. Get up, put on professional clothing, look your best, and start that call with a smile.
- Watch your surroundings: People pay attention to everything the camera can see. If your “real” business looks organized, your Zoom business should look good, too. A messy environment will give the impression that you are not a professional, or that you simply do not care.
- Always think everyone can hear: Even if this is supposed to be a private meeting, even if you put yourself on mute, even if you think the meeting is over – always, always assume everyone can see and hear you. If you would not say something negative to someone’s face, don’t say it to someone else as “pre-meeting chatter.”
- Learn the system: There are filters and backgrounds that might make you look better, but you can also look worse. Remember the cautionary tale of the lawyer who made a presentation as a cat! If you don’t know how to use them, leave these options alone.
With those tips in mind, here are some ways you can use Zoom to the advantage of your small business:
- Meet new and prospective customers: If someone shows an interest in your business, you can use Zoom to set up a “getting to know you” session. This gives the prospect a chance to get to see you in-person. Put on your best personality and make the most of this one-on-one opportunity.
- Stay in touch with current customers: One great loss from the pandemic is the personal touch. Schedule regular sessions with your current customers to find out what their problems are, and discover ways your business can help.
- Q&A sessions: Perhaps there is a lot of information you need to present, or something has changed with your product or service. Schedule a Q&A session where participants can ask questions, and you can provide answers that will be of benefit to everyone.
- Product intros: You might have come up with a better way to use your product or service, or there might be something new you have to offer. Schedule an intro session and use social media, email or other avenues to invite multiple participants to see this new opportunity.
- Educational sessions: If your product needs to be seen in action, you can use Zoom sessions for this very purpose. Again, use traditional marketing tactics to promote it, and then you can include the video on your website, social media or YouTube page.
- Generating revenue: Some marketers are using Zoom as a sort of “teaser,” and then incorporating some type of call to action at the end. You might want to direct viewers to your website, sell a book or white paper, or ask them to purchase your product or service directly.
We don’t know what the new “normal” is going to be. Perhaps this represents a new way of doing business, or maybe you want to go back to the way everything worked before. No matter what direction you seem to be going, use your new Zoom skills to help your small business succeed.