Are you feeling overwhelmed by the endless sea of communication channels out there?
Well, you’re not alone. Choosing the right communication channels for your business can be a daunting task. Whether you’re communicating with customers, employees, or other stakeholders, selecting the right channels can make all the difference.
But don’t worry. We’ve done all of the work for you. So bookmark this guide for eleven simple tips to help you choose the best communication channels for your business.
Are you ready to learn more?
Let’s dive in.
1. Identify How Much Collaboration Is Necessary
Communication is key for many effective collaborations in the workplace. However, some collaborations require more hands-on contact between teams or team members than others do.
For example, some collaboration can be done asynchronously and can be facilitated in a collaborative environment, like Figma or Google Docs. Other collaborations require brainstorming and work sessions on a video call.
Instant messaging is a great way to get quick answers on simple collaborations, but if your question requires a more in-depth response, hopping on a call could be a better option.
2. Think about Where Your Team Works
Whether your team works remotely or in person will determine which communication channels make the most sense for your startup.
For example, hosting a face-to-face planning meeting makes sense if your team is local and works in the office. However, if your team is remote and located around the country, mandating an in-person meeting will come with travel expenses. You may opt for a phone call or video conference in that case.
Investing in an instant messaging platform is a great idea if your team is partially or entirely remote. You can pop over to someone’s desk or cubicle in an office setting for a quick question. However, this isn’t possible when the team is remote, where instant messaging comes into play.
3. Determine Your Budget
Your budget should play a major role in choosing the best communication channel for your company.
Most communication channels are available at different price points, ranging from forever-free options to options that cost thousands per month. The variety of options available ensures that there’s something for businesses of every size.
For example, Google Meets is free, but Zoom requires a paid subscription to access more premium features. For instant messaging, Whatsapp is free, but Microsoft Teams and Slack require paid subscriptions. The same goes for email servers, CRMs, and other collaboration dashboards.
Even though there are free options, investing in these communication channels can provide your marketing and customer support teams with more advanced tools such as a project management system, VoIP phone system, etc., to further streamline collaboration.
4. Observe Your Workflow
Observing your team’s workflows is a great way to determine the best communication channels for your business. It can be part of your team’s regular audits and productivity studies.
As you conduct our audit, pay attention to what is currently working, and identify any gaps in your current systems that can be improved with better communication channels.
5. Ask Your Team
If your research is inconclusive, ask your team to weigh in on the issue. Ask them which communication channels are most convenient and most effective. Also, allow them to share insights into their communication preferences.
You can open the door for this advice in a group setting or during one-on-one chats. You can also create anonymous surveys. Leaning towards an anonymous approach may yield more honest results, but it’s up to you to decide which approach would be most effective for your specific team.
6. Consider the Formality
Some communication is more formal than others. For example, if you’re promoting someone, you’d probably get on a video call or have a face-to-face meeting rather than tell them in a text message.
On the other hand, if you’re sending out a quick memo to the team to remind them of an upcoming party or company event, a quick text, WhatsApp, Teams, or Slack message will do.
Another thing to note is that an email may be more appropriate if you share a message that must be in writing for legal reasons, such as a contract change or project scope pivot. This is because email records are time-stamped and easy to retrieve in a legal dispute.
7. Does It Need a Meeting?
Choosing communication channels for your startup to use on an ongoing basis is one thing, but determining the best communication method for specific tasks or activities is another thing.
Automatically scheduling a meeting for every little task can be a major waste of time for your team members, which isn’t great for productivity.
If a task does require a meeting, determine who needs to be there. Consider who needs to participate in a brainstorm or who has action items related to the call. Don’t require participation for random team members who could be doing tasks that are a better use of their time.
Determining which tasks and projects require a face-to-face meeting, both in-person and virtual, may take time to figure out, but it’s certainly worth working towards.
8. Leverage Collaborative Dashboards
Over time, larger companies can set up an internal HR Team to improve communications, and this is typically not possible for small or medium-sized entities. Fortunately, various tools and collaboration dashboards are available to help businesses streamline and automate communication processes.
When it comes to managing meetings and communications, don’t skip the board portal from OnBoard. Designed to improve executives’ decision-making and streamline the flow of information throughout your team, OnBoard will ensure that communications can be shared with the remaining teams in an efficient and simplified way.
9. Account for External Communications
Business communication extends beyond your internal team. There are several calls for external communication, as well. This goes for communication with your customers, partners, vendors, etc.
These may require separate communication channels from those you use for communication within your team.
For example, let’s say you run an ecommerce store. You must keep open communication with suppliers, fulfillment partners, and couriers. And that may require special communication software and techniques to meet the needs of each partner.
When it comes to communicating with customers, be sure to highlight your preferred communication channels on your business card, website, and other contact pages. And yes, business cards are still hyper-relevant.
So choose an appropriate business card template that aligns with your online branding materials to create a cohesive brand image online and offline.
10. Consider Confidentiality
Many startups, especially those in the legal or health industries, require receiving sensitive information from customers and sharing confidential information between departments.
If this is the case for your business, you’ll need to choose private and secure communication channels to protect the sensitive data you’ve been entrusted with. This should be an encrypted network so that the data can only be accessed by those with permission.
Even if you’re using secure communication channels, including a confidentiality clause in the message is a good idea, so that the recipient knows not to share it.
11. Use Social Media when Appropriate
Choosing communication channels can sometimes become a big challenge for brands. Sometimes, brands leverage social media, but it can be difficult to predict if it’ll be useful for your brand until you test it out.
Social media is particularly valuable for external communication. It can be used for marketing, recruitment, and more. Since there are so many communication use cases for social media and social media, choosing the platform to help you reach your unique goals is important.
For example, clothing brands often prefer Instagram. However, the brand LeatherCult successfully presented one of its most popular products, leather jackets, with the help of a Facebook page.
Social media can also be helpful for internal communication, especially for large brands that want to build a community. For example, if your business has franchises, creating a LinkedIn or Facebook group can be a great way to connect your franchisees and their teams with other members of your organization.
Which Communication Channels Are Best for You?
As we’ve discussed, there are many factors to consider when choosing the best communication channel for your company. The key is understanding your business needs and checking the boxes to meet those needs.
And since communication channels aren’t a one-size-fits-all sort of thing, it’s crucial that you choose to intentionally and regularly test and assess what’s working best for your team.
With a little bit of reflection and strategizing, finding the best business communication channels for your company should be a breeze.
Are you ready to find the perfect combination of communication channels for your team?
About the author
Emily Krings is an SEO content writer and strategist with a knack for storytelling. She specializes in helping B2B businesses create blog content that connects with their audiences.