For companies that are using remote freelancers, it is not always easy to keep track of how they are doing. There’s a tendency to concentrate on those physically present and neglect those working away from the office. This is why in many organizations, these freelancers are often left out of certain conversations.
While technology has made it possible for businesses to hire people from around the globe, few organizations can confidently boast of using remote freelancers to their maximum potential. Perhaps more than any other area of your business, your social media can benefit from the ideas that these people from different corners of the world and all walks of life have to offer. Here are some tips on how using remote freelancers to connect, engage and build your social presence can benefit your organization.
Make communication seamless
It is quite common to find remote freelancers feeling disconnected and left out. The first step to solving this problem is investing in tools that streamline communication. Some of the tools you can use include Skype, HipChat, Asana and Slack. By helping them understand the progress each project, you make it easier for them to do what they need to do to deliver their part in moving it forward.
Create a culture where using these communication tools is the order of the day. Whenever you call an all-hands meeting, it stops being all-hands when a section of the workforce is unaware of what is going on. Encourage collaboration and communication and find ways to offer incentives that all but guarantee that seamless communication will take place. This way, using remote freelancers becomes easy and you can smoothly leverage their unique talents and perspectives.
One common problem you will find with using the communication tools above is the problem of incessant failure in collaborative communication. Using several communication tools at the same time is often confusing and results to ineffective collaboration. The management must deliberately streamline the process to ensure everyone knows the tools they should use to communicate.
Instead of using certain messaging services with a number of freelancers and yet another messaging tool with the rest, make every effort to use the same messaging platforms with everyone. You will be surprised just how quickly the process can become confusing just because you are using different tools to communicate. When you finally streamline this process, you will start to see the greater benefits of using remote freelancers with the improvements in the output that they deliver.
Connect with remote freelancers
Effective communication has a lot to do with using the right tools and sending out messages at the right times. One problem you will often see with management is a tendency to stay quiet for an extended period only to later send out a long email to remote freelancers giving complex instructions, changing norms, etc.
The better approach is talking about an issue the moment it comes up. It will perhaps only require you to set aside five minutes to call or chat with that particular freelancer and talk about the issue. When it comes to building your social media presence, some emerging issues demand to be reviewed promptly. You would therefore need to talk to the person who needs to address the issue as soon as it comes up, lest you forget as seemingly more urgent issues arise.
One common practice that works is using custom services like Essayroo to send out single message emails and employing instant messaging apps to discuss projects or briefly catch up with remote freelancers. For moments when there’s a lot you need to say and streamline, go for video calls.
For example, if you have just learnt about a tool like Social Growr and you want to discuss how you can use the tool to grow your presence on Instagram, a video call might be a good idea. Most platforms with video call functionality will allow you to share your screen, where you can explain certain concepts about using such a social media growth tool. It also helps you to share with fellow business owners how they can start using remote freelancers to help them grow, which is especially useful if you hire through a marketplace like FreeeUp that has a referrals program.
Create opportunities for social interactions
While remote work gives career freelancers some level of freedom that would be impossible to get in an office, sometimes it can be noticeably isolating. By nature, human beings have an innate need to socialize. Creating an environment at the workplace that helps freelancers to socialize can benefit your organization.
While freelancers socialize, they will find themselves collaborating better. Sometimes the best ideas are born over a cup of coffee. Be deliberate about creating opportunities for freelancers to interact. As they share their experiences, strong bonds emerge, which ultimately create a stronger organization. Using remote freelancers with this strength, any social media networking site you can choose to conquer will have to give in to this incredible collaboration.
Encourage feedback & discussion
Sometimes management chooses the worst times to talk to remote freelancers. As a result, sometimes people working from home on the other side of the planet will go through the motions in a meeting just because they want to be done with it. Perhaps it could be that they are tired and just want to rest, though you are full of life and ready to face the day on the other side of the world.
To ensure effective communication happens, you should build a culture where freelancers feel free to express their views and ask questions. This stops all those errors that can be avoided. And instead of making every meeting a “do this, do that” kind of meeting, encourage them to contribute their thoughts and discuss them. It may surprise you what great ideas remote freelancers might present, convincing you of the argument that using remote freelancers really does improve your social media presence.
Choose (and use) the right technology for communication
To communicate effectively, ensure everyone in the company is on the same page regarding every project the company is about to undertake. Remember, the idea behind email, project management systems, phones and video conferencing tools is to streamline how people communicate.
Every organization has its own unique needs and challenges. This often guides the communication tool you end up using. Take time to onboard everyone on using these tools. If you hire from a marketplace like FreeeUp, you can even find remote freelancers who already use them effectively. Explain to them the communication process so that they know who to talk to as they do their part to move the company forward. Choosing the right platform is a big part of ensuring things don’t fall apart and that every project you take up becomes a success.
Empower local involvement
One way to make remote freelancers feel like an important part of your organization is to find ways for them to represent your business in their locality. You could send them to local conferences and industry events to represent your company and improve the visibility of your business in their communities.
Plan how they can attend fairs, talk to them about the idea of speaking at a local school’s career day, etc. This makes them feel that they are valued members and that their presence does make a difference. This can ignite a fire within them that makes them want to encourage people in their circles of influence to connect with your brand – people who would have otherwise never come to learn about the existence of your business.
Marquis is a writer, social media manager, and SEO content marketer. She currently lives on the coast of Ecuador, working remotely as a freelancer. Her primary focus is on building online visibility of new, up and coming brand, particularly brands that promote health and wellness. She lives a nomadic lifestyle, though is originally from California.