So many people are now working from home (WFH) 100% of the time. Hopefully if this is actually the case for you, you can maintain productivity and stay positive through the COVID-19 pandemic.
While a lot of us are accustomed to living the entrepreneur life from the home office, it’s still a big adjustment to possess to self-isolate and stop all face-to-face interactions with coworkers and clients.
I encourage you to use this time to have a closer look at your overall business goals, focus on your wellbeing (both physical and mental) and self-care, and enjoy some family time at home.
I think many small business owners are experiencing to pivot their marketing strategy, and what they do when the coronavirus passes could look quite different from what they did before.
I wanted to talk about some useful tech tools that may make your day-to-day WFH life easier.
Team Communication Tools
This is probably the biggest WFH product decision you’ll have to make. Your team needs a reliable and easy-to-use tool that lets them instantly message coworkers. The right one for you depends on your business needs and challenges, team size and budget.
1. You may have heard about Slack. This tool gives you the ability to create channels around multiple topics and invite users. From marketing content ideas to social media marketing tactics to office dog photos, your team can make relevant channels for easy chat and collaboration.
In Discord bot , it integrates with many useful tools, including Outlook Calendar, Twitter, HubSpot and Salesforce, in order to see what’s going on all the time right in the Slack app (no need to click in and from the daily calendar or Twitter feed, for example). There are SO MANY fun and creative emojis you may use too, making remote messaging in a challenging time such as this a little more lighthearted.
2. Another popular platform is Discord. Popular with gamers, this voice, video and text tool isn’t only for talking to coworkers, but also for finding like-minded communities and new friends. It is possible to create “servers” and “channels” for specific topics, similarly as if you do for Slack channels. While Slack has more business integrations, Discord has voice channels, so you can easily chat with associates. Discord also enables you to set user roles and permissions.
3. Flock is a cloud-based team communication tool with video and audio calling, screen sharing, text chat, integration with other business applications and much more. It is possible to tag colleagues in comments and to-do lists, upload documents, images and videos and set reminders and due dates. Polls, code snippet sharing and group discussions can be found, and it integrates with other apps such as Trello, Github, Google Drive and Asana.
Team Collaboration Tools
Your employees need to be able to share their work, whether they’re creating on a marketing strategy or editing a news release. Here are a few that might fit your small business needs.
1. G Suite is really a Google product that’s made up of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products. In one suite of tools, it provides email, word processing, spreadsheets, presentation decks, shared calendars, cloud storage, and more.
It is possible to comment and make suggestions on specific documents through Google Sheets and Docs, edit documents online simultaneously and collaborate on projects and documents. You can give users permission to specific files.
2. Evernote: This is more than a note-taking app. Evernote helps you capture, prioritize and share ideas, track projects and to-do lists. I think it is super helpful for note-taking, obviously, but additionally as a sort of “digital filing cabinet” that simplifies organization. There is a free, basic and business package available.
CRM means “customer relationship management,” and CRM tools help you with things such as inbound lead management, sales tracking, social tracking and eNewsletter delivery. Here are three to consider:
1. MailChimp is an all-in-one marketing platform with tools to generate from emails to postcards. They have a great collection of templates to choose from that can then be further modified to suit your brand. Their intuitive interface and thorough reporting are excellent, but things can get expensive as your subscriber list or amount of emails increase. It is possible to compare their different plans on their website.
2. Constant Contact has always been a large rival with MailChimp to be the brand name in email marketing. It’s a huge company and a great option if Facebook is really a big part of your online marketing strategy. Constant Contact has an email option that’s designed so users can easily share your newsletter on Facebook.
This option can be considered the most social media-friendly and contains all the major features of the others noted. If your online marketing involves Hootsuite (you can integrate this into Hootsuite) and you also focus your time and efforts on gaining traction on social media then this is a fantastic newsletter tool for you.
3. AWeber is an extremely popular option and recommended by many professional marketing companies. It offers you five plans to choose from and a long list of features such as unlimited email marketing campaigns, follow-ups, lists and Auto Responders.
Many people believe their Auto Responder platform is more advanced than others, allowing businesses to automate the procedure of delivering personalized emails to customers on a schedule.
Project Management Tools
A collaborative task management tool lets everyone track and manage all of their projects. Think of it as an online scheduler, taskmaster, and collaboration tool to control your team’s workflows.
1. Asana is one of the leading tools and gets lots of positive feedback. It allows everyone on your team to follow the whole workflow of a project within an easy visual tool. You’ll always know where your team reaches and who’s responsible for what and when.
From daily reminders on an activity that’s due, to the ability to easily add collaborators or assign teammates a sub-task of a project, Asana makes it simple to see what everyone’s day, week and month looks like (but you can easily move things around if plans change).
2. Monday.com is a pretty simple, intuitive visual team management tool (it’s rather a project management platform). It runs processes, workflows, and projects in a single digital workspace. Visually, it looks exactly like an accumulation of very customized spreadsheets, where every team member can log their tasks and update them with status reports along with other relevant information.
That means that every person can see all active tasks and keep count on their progress. Team members could work on multiple projects without getting lost through the use of Monday’s weekly overview. The workflow can be customized just about any way you want it to communicate priority, what’s done, not done and so forth. The colourful designs and big buttons don’t hurt either!
Social Media Management Tools
Many small businesses will already have a social media marketing management tool set up. A social media management tool allows you to manage your entire accounts in one dashboard, which saves both of you time and frustration. These tools share your articles at the perfect times throughout the day, so your followers and fans see your updates more often. It’s a smarter and more efficient way to schedule and share your social media posts.
The best part about these tools is the built-in analytics system, that may provide you with a glimpse into what’s performing well, and when your social media marketing posts are making the most impact.
Here are two social media management tools I personally use:
1. Buffer shows your scheduled posts and analytics (how in-depth those analytics get depends on the plan you select). Many small business owners choose Buffer because of its sleek, clean interface that’s possible for beginners to obtain the hang of.
2. I find that while Buffer is ideal for less demanding social media needs, Hootsuite is where it’s at to be able to see your timelines, replies, and more across all your internet sites.
Both Buffer and Hootsuite offer free and paid plans, in order to always try them out and see which feels like an improved fit for your small business.
And while it’s not an instrument your entire workforce might use, I’m liking MoneyMinderOnline during these uncertain times. It not only gives you a location to track your spending, nevertheless, you also get insights into your spending habits, and you can look ahead to improve your cash flow, clear your financial troubles, and start saving for your big goals.
I am hoping I’ve given you an overview of some tools that will help boost your team’s productivity and morale while you’re all working from home. You may also benefit from our article on boosting business efficiency on our website.
Susan Friesen, founder of the award-winning web development and digital marketing firm eVision Media, is really a Web Specialist, Business & Marketing Consultant, and SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING Advisor. She works with entrepreneurs who struggle with having the lack of knowledge, skill and support needed to create their web business presence.
As a result of dealing with Susan and her team, clients feel confident and relieved knowing their online marketing is in trustworthy and caring hands so they can concentrate on building their business with reassurance at having a perfect support system in place to steer them every step of just how.