Tools and tips for getting the best from your remote workers
Have you dreamed of running a business that you can operate from anywhere in the world? As a result of the worldwide connectivity that digital media provides, you can. But to be visible on the same media to prospective clients, you need a strong marketing plan.
You could plan and execute it yourself, but that would eat away at time for running your business or enjoying the places where you travel. The smarter solution would be to hire freelancers or full-time marketing personnel to help establish your business online so you can focus on operations and delivery. In case you aren't sure how to get started with the process, here's a quick step-by-step guide.
Recruit the right talent
Remote work isn't an anomaly anymore. There are entire platforms dedicated to helping companies find, recruit and manage remote workers. We'll get to the management part later, but before you head to the recruitment platforms, you need to decide the characteristics and skills you want in your remote employees.
In addition to their technical skills, you will have to ensure that they have these qualities:
- Able to prioritize
- Can communicate comfortably
It's also critical to ensure that they have a local system of support and fit into the kind of culture you want to create for your company. If the candidates you are considering for the jobs aren't compatible with your way of being, you shouldn't hire them.
Put the right systems in place
It's not hard for teams to function across large distances, given the right support from communication and task management platforms. Since you can't verbally discuss work and goals or be present in person, you need a place to list and manage them effectively.
Slack is great for general communication and file sharing. The tool also integrates with Google Docs and Drive and lets you share access via its channels. It has some good marketing and sales integrations that you can use for multiple purposes. These integrations include website and social media analytics tools that you can install on Slack to keep track of your daily progress without having to log in to multiple platforms.
You can use Trello to stay on top of your team's progress from wherever you are. You can create cards for projects, assign employees to them, and initiate conversations to share your inputs or give feedback. You can also set deadlines on cards and sit back as the tool sends out automated reminders to assigned individuals to keep them on their toes.
Social media marketing
DrumUp is a good tool to manage your social media and blog promotions. First, add your evergreen content to the tool in "libraries" and set them on an automatic promotion schedule. Next, set keywords to curate industry-based content. Finally, check your DrumUp app once every few days. The 1-Click Schedule feature lets you set a post to go live at the ideal time, and you can add recommended hashtags and @mentions. You will see a rise in engagement and blog referrals with minimal effort. Instead of giving your social media manager access to your social media pages, you can give them your DrumUp password and review all the content they schedule before it goes out.
Google Analytics will tell you if your marketing team is effective. Keep an eye on website referrals before and after you hire your remote team. If you don't see a difference, it's probably time to review your current strategy or hire new employees. Don't limit yourself to your manual capability, because it will slow you down and make team management cumbersome. Locate and use the best virtual assistants, like the ones above, to streamline your work process.
Make time for small talk
When you work with remote employees, it's easy to obsess about work and forget about the rest. Most conversations you have with your team will probably revolve around what needs to be done and what isn't working. This can result in unsatisfying, friction-filled relationships.
To prevent this, it's important to prioritize small talk and build a rapport with each remote employee. Ask them questions about their hobbies, passions and family. Learn who they are as people and what makes them tick.
Plan perks to keep them motivated
When you work with remote employees, it's also crucial to demonstrate that you care, because it's harder to express in long-distance relationships. Do something to make them happy from time to time so they feel valued. The money you save on location-based employee privileges, like allowances for their commute and team outings, can be spent to purchase gifts for each remote employee.
Use video for important communication
We've all heard the estimate that over 50 percent of human communication is nonverbal cues. Location-independent businesses don't give you the privilege of seeing your employees daily, so it's important to find ways to compensate. Use platforms like Skype to chat with employees from time to time, especially when you want to discuss important things. Video will give you insights into their mood, how confident they are about a new strategy and other things that phone calls won't give you.
Meet in person at least once a year
Nothing can replace face-to-face meets. If you can, schedule them for at least once a year. If you are working with freelancers for a short period, try to meet them before you begin a project. Some remote companies plan vacations together, while others get together at summits. If you have employees working in the same locations, ask them to get together and livestream the meeting. These gatherings may be heavy on investment, but the energy they bring with them and the effect they have on vision and culture in the long run make them worthwhile.
Managing a location-independent business can a constant struggle without the right marketing team to create a consistent stream of business. By building a remote working marketing team to complement your business, you can kick back and watch your business grow without getting bogged down by the daily hustle.