Tired of Zoom? You aren’t alone. Zoom (and similar video meeting platforms) have become a big part of our lives during the pandemic, especially if you work from home. But logging in for your morning Zoom standup can be exhausting and time consuming, which is why many people are looking for a Zoom alternative.
Zoom meetings are especially frustrating when the content doesn’t apply to you. If you work in human resources, why do you need a detailed breakdown of the latest sales figures? It doesn’t affect your day-to-day, so a quick high level recap is all you need.
Plus, scheduled meetings often conflict with other time-sensitive tasks. It’s frustrating to stand around listening to someone else chat about their weekend while you’re trying to meet deadlines. From a manager’s perspective, a live meeting has the potential to burn a lot of time your team could use more efficiently.
This problem isn’t limited to companies, of course. Plenty of people want to share news and information with their family, friends, and audiences without making a video. Sometimes we spend more time tidying our rooms and making ourselves presentable than we spend in the actual meeting!
That said, we still have plenty of information we want to pass verbally to our team members, colleagues, and others. But doing it over a live Zoom meeting just doesn’t feel right all of the time. There are other live meeting tools, of course, like Google Meets, Skype, and Join.me, but they all have the same “Zoom fatigue” problem.
In this article, we’d like to offer four Zoom alternatives that let you communicate with the people in your lives. This isn’t a list of different live meeting apps. We’re offering alternative communication methods you should explore.
1. Audio-Based Social Media
Audio-based social media is a new type of social platform that hasn’t quite caught on yet, but we expect it too in the future. (As a podcast hosting service, we’re obviously optimistic about audio content.)
But you don’t need audio-based social media to be popular because you already have an audience. You don’t need a community filled with potential followers. You just need the platform to host your content so you can link your followers to it.
Twitter Spaces is the most popular example of audio-based social media. It allows users to create an audio-only meeting their followers can join to actively participate or just listen in. The profile pictures of meeting creators are highlighted purple within the app.
Any Twitter user can create a Space. You don’t need a special account or anything. It works with everyone’s Twitter account. This is the main reason we think it’s a Zoom alternative.
A host can invite people to the space through Twitter direct messages, by tweeting links, or by sharing a URL anywhere. Hosts can leave a Space open for anyone to join or tightly control who is invited. Additionally, hosts can control who is allowed to speak and can remove a member at any time.
Clubhouse is another audio-based social media app we think makes a good Zoom alternative. It works the same as Twitter Spaces. Clubhouse describes itself as “a new type of social product based on voice [that] allows people everywhere to talk, tell stories, develop ideas, deepen friendships, and meet interesting new people around the world.”
In Clubhouse, you can jump in and out of different chats, like mingling among groups of people at a cocktail party. Hosts can make rooms public or private and control who speaks and when.
How would you use it as a Zoom alternative?
Audio-based social media is powerful because it takes advantage of the intimate nature of the human voice. It creates real conversations and evokes real emotions.
Let’s say you want to deliver some information or news to your team. Instead of gathering everyone for a Zoom meeting, simply invite them to an audio chat on one of the two platforms we mentioned above. No one needs to tidy their office or comb their hair. Your team can listen to it wherever they are – the car, train, or the doctor’s waiting room.
The downside to audio-based social media is that it’s live. Your team has to be available at the same time, just like a Zoom meeting.
2. Private Podcasting
A private podcast is exactly what it sounds like: a podcast that can only be accessed by people with the right permission. It’s not accessible to the general public.
The process for creating a private podcast is exactly the same as starting a traditional podcast. You record and edit episodes the same way. The only difference is that instead of letting people subscribe on their own, you have to do it for them.
With the right podcast hosting provider, private podcasting is simple: All you need to do is invite your individual private subscribers by their name and email address. Each subscriber will receive an email invite on your behalf. They can subscribe to your show through their favorite podcasting app.
How would you use it as a Zoom alternative?
Since podcasts are recorded ahead of time (they aren’t live), your colleagues, family, and audience can listen to them whenever they like, wherever they like, as often as they like. This makes private podcasts excellent repositories of information. For instance, you could…
- Include onboarding information for new team members.
- Explain task or project instructions.
- Recount news and latest events from your organization.
- Give feedback and criticism.
- Teach new skills, methods, workflows, or proceess
- Send personal messages from leadership.
Just like audio-based social media, private podcasting creates deeper connections between people thanks to the human voice. It’s far more personal than reading an email and a lot less exhausting than sitting in a live video meeting.
Furthermore, private podcast episodes are available forever. A new person could join your organization at any point and enjoy your entire show library, even episodes you recorded years before. If a team member has a particular question, you can point them to the correct podcast episode.
The one downside to this method, however, is that there’s no immediate conversation with your listeners because they experience the content asynchronously. You’ll have to respond to questions and comments on a one-by-one basis or provide your responses in another podcast episode.
3. Email Newsletters
You’re undoubtedly familiar with email newsletters. Like most people, you probably receive several every day. They aren’t just for big companies, however. Anyone can create and distribute their own newsletter.
Sending a newsletter through an email marketing service provider isn’t the same as dumping a bunch of addresses into a Gmail message. It offers several benefits:
- More customizations in terms of layout, designs, and imagery.
- The ability to schedule emails for future dates/times.
- The ability to customize your content for segments of your audience.
- Analytic tools to learn how people engage with your emails.
Which email marketing service should you use? There are countless tools at this point, each with their own set of features. We recommend using a tool that’s designed for beginners and comes with an intuitive designer (so you can make attractive emails). Here are some suggestions: MailChimp, Sender, Sendinblue, MailerLite, ConvertKit, and Constant Contact.
How would you use it as a Zoom alternative?
A newsletter is a great Zoom alternative as long as whatever you have to say can be explained through text. You can include images and links to resources and videos to enhance your content. Your team members, family, or followers can enjoy it on their own time.
Furthermore, an email marketing tool lets you track who opens the email. If you send critical information to your team, you can follow up with them if they don’t read it.
Let’s say you want to go over the monthly sales numbers with your whole team. You want everyone to be aware even though the numbers only affect the salespeople. An emailed newsletter gives you a place to lay out your report with charts and graphs (and maybe a few well-placed emojis). Your salespeople can study it carefully while everyone else enjoys the summary.
Like podcasting, there’s no easy way to respond to questions or feedback in a way that your entire audience can enjoy. Sure, people can reply, but the other subscribes on your list don’t get to see their comments or questions unless you share it.
Choose the Zoom Alternative That’s Right for You
If you’re tired of using Zoom, you have other options. But the Zoom alternative you choose doesn’t have to be another video chat app. The methods we outlined above are useful ways to communicate with your team and friends without using Zoom.
How do you communicate with the important people in your work and life? Do you use Zoom or some alternative?