How To Set Up Video Conferencing In Your Agency
A lot is happening right now in the world, and many businesses are making adjustments to stay afloat and stay competitive. One adjustment they’re making is moving to video conferencing to stay in touch with prospects and clients.
If you’ve never done a lot of video conferencing or are not sure how to set up a video conferencing process in your agency, then this is the blog for you! Today we’re going to discuss what video conferencing is, the apps and software you can consider using, and some best practices to keep in mind.
What is video conferencing?
Investopedia defines video conferencing as “technology that allows users in different locations to hold face-to-face meetings without having to move to a single location together.”
Not only is it a beneficial tool to have right now, but video conferencing is a fantastic tool to use even when we aren’t in a pandemic. It can save both you and your client’s time while helping you still feel that physical connection.
Especially right now, the use of video conferencing can help you stay in better contact with your clients. Providing this level of service, even just checking in to say hi, can help you achieve:
- Improved client retention
- Improved overall client happiness
- Improved chances of future referrals
And, honestly, now may be your most opportune time to give video conferencing a try. The major benefit of right now is that it’s a trial for everyone. Everyone is experiencing the shift and everyone is approaching it with much more patience and understanding than they may at other times.
4 Video Conferencing Apps & Software to Consider
Like anything, there are a plethora of video conferencing apps and software options on the market. We’ll discuss some of the front-runners today, but this is by no means a comprehensive list of all of the video conferencing apps or software available.
When comparing the apps and software, we looked at:
- Pricing and plan offerings
- Screen sharing capability
- Reporting and analytics capabilities
- Recording and storing capabilities
- Number of seats allowed in a meeting
- Duration and number of meetings allowed
- Level and types of customer support offered
- Integrations & plug-ins
For full disclosure, we’d like to note that we will not be covering messaging apps like Slack, Google Hangouts/Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams. These are more geared for internal use and communications. That’s not to say they aren’t worthwhile apps; they just may not be the best fit for client meetings.
The software we’ll be covering are:
For all 4, there is one common pro: clients and prospects are not required to have an account with that software in order to join the meeting/webinar.
Zoom offers a variety of pricing and plans while also giving you multiple options on how you meet. There is a free version available and paid plans start at $15/month. To learn more about pricing, check out their pricing page. Let’s go through the pros and cons.
|Screen sharing available with all plans
|The free version only allows for 40 minutes of meeting for 2 people. To meet with multiple parties at once requires a paid plan.
|Presentation and webinar with 100 seats available with all plans (Paid plans can have more seats available)
|Zoom is very popular right now and is running into some security issues. Many of these issues have been related to the free plans. So, to help boost security, it may be best to choose a paid plan that requires a password for access.
Recording capability available with all plans
|Video and audio quality can be poor and unpredictable at times due to the popularity and extensive usage of Zoom’s platform right now.
|Secure login with meeting password available with paid plan
|Ticket support available with all plans
Chrome & Outlook plug-ins available with all plans
Security features like SSL encryption and AES-256 bit encryption available with all plans
|Breakout rooms available with paid plans
|Company branding available with paid plans
|A meeting limit of 24 hours available with paid plans
|Unlimited cloud storage, reporting, and user management available with paid plans
|HIPAA/PIPEDA available with some paid plan
A fun aspect of Zoom is you can change your video background. This can be fun for internal meetings to boost company morale and keep each meeting interesting. We’ll talk more about this later.
GoToMeeting is built with collaboration in mind. Unfortunately, there is no traditional “free” plan available. The most basic plan, the Starter Plan, starts at $19/month. To learn more about pricing, check out their pricing page. Let’s go through the pros and cons.
|Screen sharing available with all plans
|There is no “free” plan.
|Unlimited meetings with no time limits available with all plans
|On-boarding and training are only available on the top-tier plan (Enterprise).
|Security features like SSL encryption, AES-256 bit encryption, and SOC2-certified data centers available with all plans
|Recording may be limited to certain types of paid plans which means you cannot keep a record of the meeting for documentation and reference.
|Personal meeting rooms available with all plans
|Plug-ins available with Slack, Office 365, Google Calendar, and Salesforce
|24/7 customer care and meeting diagnostic reports available with all plans
|Pin-based access for more secure meetings available with some plans
|Unlimited cloud recording and mobile cloud recording available with some plans
Webex is one of the oldest players in the industry originating from the ‘90s. They offer both free and paid plans with the paid plans starting at $13.50/month. To learn more about pricing, check out their pricing page. Let’s go through the pros and cons.
|Up to 50 participants and 40 minutes meeting length available with all plans (Unlimited meeting length and more participant seats available with paid plans)
The call-in audio feature, or your ability to call into the meeting via your phone, is only allowed on paid plans. This means you would have to use the mic in your computer if it’s available.
|TLS 1.2 and AES-256 bit encryption and full encrypted meetings and recording storage available with all plans
|Only paid plans allow for recording and storing recordings. Additionally, the type of paid plan you choose will affect how much storage you receive.
|Calendar integrations available with all plans
|Limited online support available with all plans
|Administrative features, user management, and screen sharing available with paid plans
|Cloud-based recording storage available with paid plans
|Branding and customization available with some paid plans
|Analytics and troubleshooting available with some paid plans
Join.Me makes collaboration simple, instant, and continuous. Unfortunately, there is no traditional “free” plan available. The most basic plan, the Lite Plan, starts at $10/month. To learn more about pricing, check out their pricing page. Let’s go through the pros and cons.
|Unlimited number and length of meetings available with all plans
|The Lite Plan does not allow for webcam streaming. This means it’s an audio-only call and would resemble that of a phone call with screen sharing capabilities.
|Unlimited phone calls available with all plans
Some features are only usable on IOS-based devices.
|Screen sharing available with all plans
|The Lite Plan allows a max of 5 participants for a meeting.
|Customization of meeting room and join.me link available with all plans
|The top-tier plan only allows a max of 10 video feeds at a time. For larger client meetings or internal meetings with more than 10 participants, this could be problematic. More than 10 can definitely attend, but only 10 can be shown via video.
|User management controls available with all plans
|Phone and email support available with all plans
|Recording capabilities and cloud-based storage for recordings available with some plans
|Schedule and calendar invitations available with some plans
One of the biggest bonuses users find with Join.Me is that it is very simple and straightforward.
8 Best Practices for Successful Video Meetings
Now that we’ve discussed video conferencing software you can use, let’s go over some best practices to keep in mind when hosting meetings.
#1 A good internet connection is key.
It is crucial that your internet is able to support video conferences and calls. To help you better understand how effective your internet is and how to test it, check out this article from Medium: Is your Internet connection good enough?
#2 Test your audio and visual.
There is a lot to this step but it’s really important to check, check, double-check that your audio and visual are working. If they’re not, your clients will not be able to get what they need out of your meetings.
First up: audio. Ensure your space is quiet and that you have a mic. This can be accomplished with either a built-in mic or a headset.
If you’re using a newer laptop or tablet, you should have a mic built in. If you’re unsure, use this step-by-step checklist for your computer. If you are using a monitor with a tower CPU, your chances are slimmer of having a built-in mic. But again, follow the checklist above to see if you do or do not have one built in.
If you find you do not have a built-in mic, you will want to look into purchasing one. You can go the route of a stand mic or headset with a mic—both will work. Your other option is to use call-in audio with your video conferencing software. This means using your phone to call into the meeting.
Second: visual. Similar to the built-in mic, most newer laptops and tablets have a built-in webcam you can use for video conferencing. If you have one, it will be located in the top middle of your device. If you do not, or the quality isn’t there, you can purchase one that sits atop your computer and can be connected via USB.
Once you have your audio and visual setup with your video conferencing software, make sure you run a test.
This is very important. Set up a call with someone for a trial run and make sure your audio sounds good, there isn’t any feedback coming from other areas, and your video feed is professional.
Use this chance to better familiarize yourself with the controls and components within your video conferencing software. That way, when you’re on an actual call, you’ll feel more informed and more agile navigating around.
#3 Create a clean, professional space.
In line with the visual component of your video conferencing setup, ensure that the space you’re working in is both professional and presentable. Try to avoid folded laundry in the background or a space where your new “coworkers” are walking through.
For more tips on upping your visual game, check out Wistia’s blog: Look Great in Your Next Webcam Video.
#4 Look at the camera.
Video calls can feel a bit funky at first trying to figure out how you look, where you look, etc. When speaking, look directly at your camera. That is essentially the portal to your clients. It will look far more natural if you do that than looking elsewhere.
#5 Stay focused.
It’s easy to get distracted when on video calls and check your email, scroll through social media, read internal chat messages, etc. Try to stay focused solely on the video when you’re on it. Your clients will be able to tell if your mind is elsewhere and you're looking at screens that don’t pertain to them.
#6 Keep your look fresh and professional.
Much like the space you’re working in, you want to ensure your attire remains professional. Video calls will likely show you from the waist up, so make sure what you’re wearing on top projects the persona you want your clients and prospects to see.
For extra fun, you can also follow the reverse mullet trend. This means professional garb on top, comfortable garb on bottom. Just make sure you don’t stand up if you go this route!
#7 Try to not move around a lot.
Remember, due to popularity right now (and depending on your internet), video feeds can run a bit on the slower side. Try to sit still and not move too much. The camera will catch those movements and it can create a lag if the movements are extensive. Plus, they’re a bit distracting.
#8 If appropriate, have some fun.
Try to have some fun with your calls by setting themes. Some ideas are fun hats, favorite sports teams, or superheroes. Some platforms even allow you to change your background which can lead to lots of fun choosing and implementing.
We hope your video conferencing endeavors are met with resounding success! Using video conferencing, you have the ability to maintain the level of personal contact you have with your clients while keeping everyone healthy and safe.
Want more resources about finding success while working remotely?
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by Allison Babberl
on Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Online Meeting Scheduler