Category: Tools to Use

Great social media and other communication tools you want to try.

Play Is a Great Way to Engage Remote Teams. I’m Serious!

Guest post by Alexandra Suchman, Cofounder and CEO of Barometer XP

We’ve reached the point where it’s almost a cliche to talk about how hard it is to make meaningful connections with colleagues through Zoom boxes and Slack channels.

“Ugh, I’m so sick of Zoom” has become the new “I can’t believe this weather” as the small talk statement to foster some quick agreement at the start of a conversation.

Yes, connecting virtually, be it over phone, video, or written message, is way less satisfying than in person.

Yes, we are all sick of spending so much time staring at screens, and have found ways to keep meetings focused and short.

And yes, these remote ways of communicating force a more formal structure that doesn’t leave space (physical or metaphorical) for spontaneous, serendipitous interpersonal conversation.

But there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of simple, fun, and very effective ways to encourage great connection and engagement among remote teams. And you already know many of them.


Games are essentially a problem solving opportunity: the pursuit of a specific goal within a limited time, space, and set of rules. Every time we play a game, we bring our own unique skills, ideas, experience, communication style, approach to problem solving, etc. to the room, and it gives us a chance to examine how we (and others) show up in a situation.

Playing games with your work team not only will give you a chance to relax and have fun together, you’ll also gain valuable insights into how each other feels, thinks, and acts in different situations. Plus you’ll create some great memories, which are essential in building strong team identity.

Here are a few of my favorite games to play with remote teams that are not only fun, they help teams find creative ways to communicate with each other and practice thinking on their feet!

Codenames: This is a communication game with an espionage theme, where the goal is for a team to call all its agents back from the field using covert codenames. Teams compete to provide the most efficient and effective one-word clues without tipping off their opponents or accidentally alerting a hidden assassin!

Fishbowl: Another fun communication-based game, Fishbowl is a faster-paced game that combines Taboo, Password, and Charades as one person tries to help their team guess a secret word. Two teams compete to see who can guess more words before time runs out!

Need help picking the right game for your team? No problem, just email me at and I’ll give you some suggestions.

About the Author

Alex is CEO and Co-founder of Barometer XP, a company that uses games and play to catalyze insights and conversations about how team members can better communicate and work toward shared goals. Alex facilitates sessions that help teams learn about themselves and make meaningful, sustainable culture change.

Prior to Barometer XP, Alex founded AIS Collaborations, a consulting firm that helped small businesses with simple systems, stronger organizing techniques, and better planning. She has an MPP from The George Washington University, a BA in psychology from Colby College, and is certified as both a Project Management Professional (PMP) and DISC coach.

Do Instagram Stories Work?

Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours. You may think that means too much effort for too short a time online. Not so fast. It may be worth a try – and definitely worth evaluating impact.

With top of the feed placement, links, and interactive stickers, stories can drive awareness, traffic, sales and engagement. There are a few ways to check analytics for Instagram Stories if you have an Instagram Business or Creator account. Without one, you won’t have access to analytics.

View Instagram Story Analytics in Instagram Insights

  1. From the Instagram app, go to your profile.
  2. Tap the Insights button above your Story Highlights.
  3. Scroll down to Content you shared and tap the arrow next to Stories.

You will see all of the stories you’ve posted as far back as 2 years. Tap the dropdown menu in the top left corner of the screen to select the metric you would like to access.

Available Instagram Stories metrics include:

  • Back
  • Call Button Taps
  • Email Button Taps
  • Exited
  • Follows
  • Next Story
  • Business Address Taps
  • Impressions
  • Link Clicks
  • Forward
  • Profile Visits
  • Reach
  • Replies
  • Shares
  • Text Button Taps
  • Website Taps
  • Story Interactions

Once you select your time period and metric, you can scroll all Stories to see how many interactions each individual Story collected.

You can also tap on any Story and swipe up to view its detailed analytics.

To see the results of a poll or other sticker actions, click the eye icon beside the insights icon (it looks like a bar chart).

Understanding Instagram Story Metrics

Instagram Stories metrics are split into three categories: Discovery, Navigation, Interactions.

Discovery metrics

  • Reach: The amount of accounts that saw your story. This figure is an estimate.
  • Impressions: The total number of times your story was viewed (including repeat views).

Compare reach and impression numbers to your follower count to gauge how much of your audience is watching your Stories.

Navigation metrics

  • Forward Taps: The number of times someone tapped to the next story.
  • Back Taps: The number of times someone tapped back to see the previous story.
  • Next Story Swipes: The number of times someone swiped to the next story.
  • Exit Story Taps: The number of times someone exited your story.
  • Navigation: The overall total of Back, Forward, Next Story, and Exited actions taken with your story.

If a lot of viewers exit or skip to the next story, it’s a good sign your content isn’t capturing attention. Back taps, on the other hand, suggest your story shared content or info people wanted to see twice.

Interactions metrics

  • Profile Visits: The number of times your profile was viewed by someone who viewed your story.
  • Replies: The tally of people who responded to your story.
  • Follows: The number of accounts that followed you after viewing your story.
  • Shares: The number of times your story was shared.
  • Website visits: The number of people who clicked the link in your profile after watching your story.
  • Sticker Taps: The number of taps on the location, hashtag, mention or product stickers in your story.
  • Calls, Texts, Emails, Get Directions: Tallies the number of people who took one of these actions after viewing your story.
  • Product Page Views: The number of views your product pages received via the product tags on your story.
  • Product Page Views per Product Tag: The number of views of a product page for each product tag in your story.
  • Interactions: The total count of actions people took after viewing your story.

Interaction stats help you measure your success in achieving them. If your goal is to get more followers, compare Profile Visits with Follows. Did you want your story to drive traffic to your website? Website visits will show you how it fared.

Optimize your strategy based on your Instagram Stories analytics

Understanding how your stories are performing over time will help you pinpoint top performing posts. If you spot photos and videos that outshine other stories, look for ways to recreate it.

On the flip side, don’t panic if something flops. Stories are an ideal place to experiment and learn. Fortunately, if an idea doesn’t take off, it disappears in a day!

TikTok 101: Ideas and Cautions

TikTok is a growing platform for short form mobile video. Gen Z and Millennials spend about an hour a day watching content on the platform. Is this a platform you should consider for your marketing mix?

TikTok By the Numbers

The latest data from Pew Internet indicates that 21% of Americans who use social media use TikTok. Other sources of data show:

  • 62% of TikTok users are ages 10-29
  • Males and females are equally likely to use the platform
  • Popular content is comedy, skits, lifestyle and tricks

If your content is about beauty, fashion, home, travel, food, drink, lifestyle, or music and these demographics align with your target audience, TikTok might be a good channel for your marketing. Before I share some thoughts on how to use the platform, you also need to consider some serious security concerns with the platform.

Security Concerns

TikTok has been at the forefront of countless rumors of privacy violations and security issues. It was banned in India, and by the US Army and Navy with accusations of national security threats.

In its privacy policy, TikTok states that it collects “information you provide in the context of composing, sending, or receiving messages.” Focusing on the use of the word “composing,” TikTok doesn’t just collect data related to what you share using the app. It also gathers data about content you created or wrote but didn’t share. It also collects information about your phone’s model, screen resolution, current OS, phone number, email address, location, and even contact list.

TikTok stores user data in the US and Singapore. It is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

Over the past few years, security researchers found multiple security vulnerabilities within the app. Serious questions are raised about the potential for data amassed by TikTok being exploited by the owners and hackers.

TikTok 101 for Marketers

TikTok content has a high chance of getting a large number of impressions and going viral. Content that is funny and creative combined with the right sound and hashtags will get the attention of users.

To define your brand on TikTok:

  • Create an account. Complete your profile and link to your other social pages.
  • Pick your sound. Sound is an important and expected element on TikTok. Brands that use custom sounds benefit from the sound discovery options on the app.
  • Partner with influencers. Find creators whose content complements your brand voice and values. Work with them, as the experts, to create original TikTok content.
  • Connect and engage with users. The app community expects brands to authentically show up on TikTok, participate in trends, comment on videos, and follow consumers and creators.

To find success, your brand will need to find a voice and originality that resonates with viewers. This is not a place to focus on sales or conversion. The vibe is lighthearted and fun.

Successful efforts are created specifically for the app and use sound and other tools that users expect. Challenges and campaigns that are simple and leave room for users to creatively respond get the most attention. Content that taps into “now” topics also does well.