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Build Business Connections in a Time of Social Distancing

A networking event. A quick chat over coffee. Even a simple handshake. What do these three interactions have in common? They all help us build business connections. Oh, and the pandemic has basically eliminated all of them. On top of all the other challenges presented by COVID-19, many professionals are having to rethink how they build connections with clients, coworkers, and partners. 

This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Building business connections is still possible in a time of social distancing. It just takes some creative thinking. Video can help you keep those business connections strong without putting anyone’s health at risk. 

Why you need video

There’s a reason why so many business leaders attend networking groups and make an effort to meet with clients face-to-face. Personal interactions are effective because they build empathy and put a human face on your company. Plus, it’s pretty hard to ignore someone who is standing right in front of you.

Less personal interaction means you need to take every opportunity to strengthen connections. Video can help fill the gap. It is one of the few ways to get your face in front of potential customers, long-term clients, and partners while abiding by social distancing guidelines. It’s more powerful and eye-catching than a still image and can often feel more personal. It helps the viewer see you as a real person and puts a face on your company. 

Plus, you can share a video with someone in another city, another state, or even another country. So, in some ways, it’s actually more powerful than in-person interactions. 

Ways to use video to build business connections

You’re probably already using video in some parts of your business. In that case, you have the basic skills and resources you need. All you have to do is apply them in new ways. Here are four ways you can use video to build business connections in a time of social distancing. 

1. Video meetings

By now you’ve probably attended quite a few video conference calls. Whether using Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts or some other platform, the best practices remain the same. To go get the extra benefit of building business connections apply these strategies:

  • Turn on your video. It’s not really a video meeting unless you have video turned on. It’s hard to connect with a black screen, so show your smiling face.  
  • Ask questions and listen to responses. It’s easy to phone it in when you’re just a talking head. Make an effort to ask insightful questions and really listen to people’s responses. That small talk at the beginning and end of a meeting can do wonders for connection building.  
  • Look into the camera, not at your screen. People tend to look at your face when you’re talking. When you look into the camera, you give the impression that you’re looking back at them. 
  • Avoid distractions. Background noise, those silly custom backgrounds, and a cluttered desk can all distract from the business of connection building. Avoid distractions so you and your attendees can focus on each other.

If you suspect your video conferencing game could use some improvement, this post might help. 

2. Video proposals

Instead of just sending new clients a boring document to read, consider a more dynamic video proposal. This video can take the place of the in-person meeting you would have had to go over the proposal. Here are some tips for crafting video proposals:

  • Call the client by their name. Even if your video is mostly stock recording, you can add a touch of personalization by including a short intro that calls the client by name.  
  • Keep it simple. A video proposal doesn’t have to be complex. Keep it short and to the point. 
  • Brand your video. Include logos, animated mascots, or other branding elements just as you would in any marketing video.  
  • Send the document version too. Clients still need a paper document for their records, so make sure you include it. 

Before you press record, check out these tips for being on camera

Video meetings help build business connections in a time of social distancing

3. Video conferences and events

Conferences and seminars offer opportunities for businesses to mingle with clients and others in their industry. Although most in-person events are cancelled, many have moved to a virtual model. Check whether your favorite conferences have gone virtual. If they have, consider ways you can be involved.

You might also explore ways to host your own virtual events. Depending on the size of your group you might use Zoom, Go-to-Webinar, or another virtual conferencing platform to host an event. Consider how animated video, brand-specific elements, and other enhancements can help you connect with virtual attendees. 

Lanette Pottle, Life and Business Strategist, recently held a virtual retreat. Before the event she mailed a box of swag to each attendee. 

“Mailing customized boxes to participants in advance of our virtual event not only created excitement and anticipation of what was to come, it created a shared experience amongst the group before we met. Overall, I’d say it had a distinct and positive impact on engagement — before, during, and after our time together.”

Pairing physical objects with interactive video helped her build stronger connections with attendees. 

(AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

4. Double down on video advertising

It might also be a great time to invest in OTT and social video advertising. Unsurprisingly, Facebook and YouTube have both seen increased usage since the pandemic started. So has Hulu. More users stuck at home means more eyes on your ads. Think about how to strategically place video ad content to make the most of this unexpected opportunity. 

Take action to build business connections

Even as you introduce these new video-based connection points, it’s important to keep your existing video presence strong. If you’ve been posting to YouTube every month for two years, now is not the time to quit.

If you’re wondering how you’ll have time to make all of these videos, consider the time you’re not spending driving to networking events, meeting with clients, and chatting over coffee. At least some of that time can be reallocated to creating video that builds business connections. Start by choosing one or two tactics that seem doable and work from there. 

There are dozens of ways that video can help you build business connections even during a time of social distancing. They all start with a high quality video that represents your brand. For help creating quality animated and live-action videos, talk to the experts at IdeaRocket.

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