Depending on what decade you grew up in, you will likely remember a time when picking up a phone to make a long-distance phone call was a big deal. A really big, expensive deal. Video was for the likes of Hollywood producers or home-movie aficionados, but it certainly was not a tool most businesses would have access to using. And the Internet, cell phones and tablet devices were the stuff of crazy science fiction and cartoon characters like The Jetsons.
Yet here we are, in an era where even as children, most of us could never have imagined the vast numbers of ways we have to communicate in business today. When you sit back and think of it, the options can be overwhelming.
The sad fact with all this truly revolutionary technology is that people seem to connect meaningfully less and less. True human connection is about supporting each other, being open and willing to answer questions, and empathizing around life’s events. In a fast-paced world like ours, much of that seems to go by the wayside. And that’s too bad.
The results have been devastating to our economy. The faster the world moves, the less we connect, and the easier it is for people to be fired, laid off, quit their jobs, buy from the competition, shop around for everything, and in short have no loyalty to anyone anymore.
One way to get things on track in your organization, no matter the size, is to treat people like human beings again and connect with them in meaningful – and even fun ways. When people are having fun, they’re not fighting, they’re not quitting, they’re not always looking for the next big thing… they’re enjoying themselves. And happy people get more done and are likely to stay where they are for the long-term.
With that in mind, let’s look at a number of the free or very low-priced tools you have available to you today using the Internet and some creative ways to build those connections with those important to your business success.
Whether it is your customers, clients, staff, colleagues, board of directors, or anyone you want to communicate with, the Internet offers a variety of tools you may not have considered for building relationships, creating connections, and just plain having fun.
Here are a few creative ways to use popular tools available for free or very low fee to have fun online and build relationships:
- Facebook: Create a group unique to the people you want to be in touch with. Make the group be a closed or secret group, even, so you are in control of those added to the group. Members can post photos of events, share ideas, and even upload and access files.
- Twitter: Create your own hash tag. If you’re not familiar with the way Twitter hash tags work, it’s simple (and for the uninitiated, the hash tag is the” #” symbol above the number 3 on your keyboard). There are no rules that govern hash tags, other than anyone can use any hash tag at any given time. So come up with a unique, short, sweet, and easy-to-remember hash tag, make sure everyone in the group knows it and knows how to use it, and #HaveFunPosting!
- Video: JibJab.com and Animoto.com both offer ways to create short videos to share with those you want to connect with. Both have a free version, which is often adequate, and both offer low-priced upgrades to access more features. With Jib Jab you can use photos of people’s faces to fit into a specified image that will animate the photos. With Animoto you upload photos and short videos that you can quickly and easily turn into professional-looking videos with a few clicks. Fun for birthday greetings, event announcements or following up after an event.
What online tools have you found and used creatively to connect with the people important to your business? Please share them in the comments below!