Over the last month, the GROWL Team has been working remotely and finding new ways to adapt to our changing situation. Like innovation, uncertainty causes businesses to grow and change to meet the needs of their customers. For GROWL, this has meant finding new ways to connect with our community and our team, communicate with our clients, and provide beneficial resources to business leaders.

Remote work: internal processes

Prior to heading home, our team held various meetings to outline our WFH needs, policies, and processes. From understanding expectations to voicing personal concerns, we crafted a policy that was flexible for everyone yet rigid enough to ensure productivity. One key aspect of this policy was internal buy-in. Since GROWL had the opportunity to meet in-office, we reviewed the policy and processes as a team, ensuring that everyone was on the same page. Beyond the general remote work structure, our team’s biggest challenge was replicating a virtual shoulder tap.

Microsoft Teams has acted as our virtual ‘tap on the shoulder.’ The platform easily integrates with our Microsoft 365 system, including email and OneDrive. Beyond chats, Teams provides a way to host calls, video conferences, and screen shares. Considering the simple WFH rule of thumb: if takes more than three chats/emails, have a call, this feature has been fundamental in replicating in-person interactions. However, processes are not the only critical aspect of working from home – culture is essential too.

Keeping up culture while working from home

GROWL culture thrives off of connection. In-office, our team is notorious for jokes, team lunches, happy hours, after-hours chats, holiday and birthday parties, pancake breakfasts, and hundred other little things that keep us excited to get to work. When we first began working remotely, maintaining this culture was a priority. From developing weekly challenges and sharing experiences on social media to hosting weekly happy hours and show-and-tell lunches, GROWL ultimately built an even stronger team bond.

Working from home allowed our team to share parts of our personal lives that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. Additionally, as our team craved communication and connection, Microsoft Teams chats were always on. Signing on (or off) with gifs, sharing selfies, screenshotting meeting bloopers, and sending praise all became a norm. Plus, we learned an additional thing or two about our team members.

In addition to internal processes, culture, and growth, GROWL discovered new ways to continue our community connection.

Tech tools & connecting with community

The biggest shift GROWL made was connecting with our clients and community virtually. Our agency is well-known for hosting Connex panel events, happy hours, and more. When our community began working remotely and had limited interaction with others, it was our goal to drive digital connection. From happy hours to webinars, check out the tech tools GROWL used to foster social connection while being physically distant.

Going LIVE

Social media LIVES are a great way to reach your audience, and they receive the highest engagement, and during the pandemic, Instagram LIVE engagement increased by 70%. Businesses can host LIVES either natively on Facebook or Instagram, or by using third-party software. Here’s the rundown:

In-App Lives

Hosting LIVES directly on Facebook or Instagram allow for your business and up to one other account to go LIVE. Using app-only is simple, videos can be download, and does not require additional integrations. However, if your business wants to feature more than one speaker, in-app LIVES are not the best option.

Third-Party Apps

There are tons of third-party apps for hosting collaborative LIVES on Facebook and YouTube. Most of these platforms offer a limited free account or charge a monthly fee for premium versions. Two popular platforms are StreamYard and Be.Live – both enable users to create professional-looking LIVE streams, host more than one guest, and sync with Facebook and YouTube LIVE.

StreamYard: Host up to 6 guests on-screen with 10 on the broadcast, add CTAs, view audience comments on screen, and add branding elements.

Be.Live: Host up to 4 guests on-screen with 10 on the broadcast, customize with branding and overlays, add lower-third text throughout, and see audience comments on screen.
Be.Live offers a 14-day free trial of their premium version.

Zoom & Zoom Webinar

Beyond these streaming-specific apps, Zoom is an incredible resource for virtual-everything. Zoom doesn’t only offer video conferencing for meetings; the software offers a robust Webinar add-on. Zoom Webinar is perfect for hosting webinars, courses, and even virtual happy hours. Here’s how GROWL has maximized Zoom Webinar and its features.

We transitioned our typically monthly GROWL Connex panels and meet-ups into weekly resource webinars. With Zoom, our team could easily create registrations, automate emails, recurring lists, add panelists, use live Q&A, and add polls. Zoom also allows for “practice sessions” so panelists can get warmed up before the webinar begins. Following the practice session, the webinar host may opt to “broadcast,” making the webinar live to attendees.

By integrating our webinars with email marketing and social media (especially Facebook events), we were able to widely promote our webinars and increase both reach and viewership.Zoom Webinars can allow for up to 10,000 attendees depending on your subscription.

Zoom Webinars are also an incredible asset for LIVE streams. With this add-on, users can set-up a webinar (as we would for a Connex) and then opt to go LIVE on Facebook or YouTube. GROWL has used this feature to promote webinars LIVE on Facebook, and to host community Connex happy hours. With Zoom, our whole team can be displayed on-screen, and we can invite clients/friends of GROWL to participate, too.

From enhancing our culture to growing with our community, GROWL has learned various virtual lessons while working remotely. As we transition to a new normal, keep our mini-virtual case studies in mind! You can also visit GROWL’s resource hub for additional business support.

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