It has been some time since Google+ really made a push for hangouts, but that doesn’t mean they have left or become any less effective. Skype is one video deliverability service that has lasted the test of time, and while this is a great service that offers many of the same benefits as Google+ hangouts, Google+ can offer a few things extra; especially for businesses. Getting creative with the ways you deliver messages and talk with clients is going to be important in 2013, so now is the perfect time to get started understanding why hangouts are so great and how to use the simple feature.
Why Google+ Hangouts Are Perfect for Businesses: The Benefits
For those who are unfamiliar, Google+ hangouts is a video chatting service, or VoIP service that allows you to talk with anyone through the Internet. If you have a camera on your computer or a webcam attached, you will be able to see the person you are talking with on your screen. One of the greatest benefits of Google+ hangouts is the fact that you can hang out with up to ten people at once. As you can image, this opens up a lot of opportunity for businesses. Below is a screenshot of a Google+ hangout I had with a friend. As you can see, I can see her face as the large image and our small faces at the bottom. If you had more than two people “hanging out” then there would be more faces at the bottom. Whoever is talking with get the large image on your screen.
It is no secret that Google+ is a great way to build authority with Google and get your content out there to a relevant audience. When it comes to Google+ hangouts, there isn’t really any type of SEO benefit; however there is a benefit when it comes to users. A few of the ways that businesses can use Google+ hangouts includes:
- Recording/Hosting Webinars. More and more companies have begun creating webinars as a way to educate their audience. If someone wants to join the hangout, Google+ makes it easy and then that company can share their expertise. It can be much more difficult to do this through traditional email because it isn’t live, not to mention video has always been more engaging and interesting through video.
- Office Meetings. If your company has employees who work remotely, out of town, or several different branches, nothing is better than Google+. Using other VoIP technology can get you the same outcome, but Google+ Hangouts are free and make it easy to have everyone together at once as opposed to several different video chats.
- Demonstrations. It’s very difficult to talk with your potential customers or staff about how to do something. You need visuals, and a Hangout is great for that. If you want to write an article about how to do something, consider having a hangout with people who are very interested, and then re-posting on YouTube for the rest of the world to see.
- Re-Use the Hangout. On that note, you can reuse the hangout. This means that whenever you have a hangout (as an office meeting, webinar, demonstration, etc.) you can simply record it and post it on YouTube or re-watch it to create an article that answers questions you were asked in the hangout.
- Question and Answer. Because Hangouts are live, it’s great for question and answer. It does mean that everyone needs to be at a computer at the same time, so sometimes traditional email is best, but for complicated matters it’s perfect for a question and answer session.
Another great thing about Google+ Hangouts is the fact that you can bring in other sources—YoutTube, Google docs, chat, etc.—to help you get across your point. This is something that Skype doesn’t allow for, and traditional email makes difficult when you have to deal with so many attachments. It is often incredibly important for businesses to have other materials to work with, so Hangouts are perfect.
How to Get Started with Google+ Hangouts
This free feature is extremely easy to use. You simply sign into your Google+ account, and scroll down to where it says “hangouts” (occasionally you have to press “more” and then click the hangouts button). Once you do that you will be taken to a screen that says “start a hangout” and then you simply add in the person or circle you want to chat with! Below is a screenshot of how it works:
Most companies create a group on Google+ in order to make hangouts easy. Instead of adding each person one by one, you can just say you want to chat with the group. Everyone will get a Gchat asking him/her to click “join,” and it’s as simple as that.
Have you ever used Google+ hangouts for your business? Let us know how it worked for you in the comments below.
Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at the HigherVisibility.com, rated one of the best SEO companies in the country.