Hangouts as a Business Building Tool
Creating Hangouts can provide you with a wonderful toolset to help grow your business and cement its reputation… but don’t just fire one off here and there without a strategy.
- Why you want to use Hangouts
- What goals you want to achieve, using Hangouts
- How they can best help your business grow
- When you’re going to use them (how often)
Make a plan. Host regular Hangouts: Monthly, weekly – even daily, if video handling is a main component of your business.
8 Benefits of Google Hangouts
Hangouts offer some advantages that written-word content simply cannot equal:
- The sense of immediacy
- The sense that your attention is focused solely on the viewer, for his or her benefit
- Live, face-to-face contact with your business partners, affiliates, members or simply fans
- Versatility in how you use them
- The ability to create a strong, loyal team environment – without even having an office
- Allowing you to showcase your communication skills – invaluable if you are in a business such as coaching or consulting
- Demonstrating your competence and skill – in person
- Increasing your authority, celebrity, recognition and acceptance
All these benefits are what you can create by using Google+ Hangouts. To your audience, you will become more than a name and a static photo: You become real.
Viewers can see and experience:
- Your confidence and competence
- Your personality
- Your skills, demonstrated
- Your real-time authority
There’s no question you know what you’re talking about, and that your content wasn’t provided by someone else – you’re providing it, live, now!
They can also hear:
- Your voice
- Your tone
- Your assurance
- Your ease
This can make you an extremely comfortable person to be around: Someone they love to listen to… and look up to.
Ways You Can Put Hangouts to Use
Personality aside, Hangouts can be used in multiple ways to help promote and/or grow your business.
- Updating a large audience – If you are “just a name”, it is easy for a large audience to see you as remote. When you talk to people regularly and directly on air, numerous studies have proven again and again that popularity and trust increases. (It’s also a great way to do damage control, if you have to.)
Building a Team – You can coordinate online outsource contractors, actual employees, affiliates and anyone who has to work with you on a specific project or strategy in one spot (your Hangout), at one time (the Hangout date and time). Everyone can bounce ideas off each other, troubleshoot potential or actual problems, agree on actions and strategies – and save time.
You can also demonstrate how to use new systems or software, just for your team members.
How much easier would it be, accomplishing all this within the space of half-an-hour or less, rather than forwarding emails, waiting for feedback, making sure everyone is on the same page and so forth.
- Demonstrating a Product or Method – Showing people how to use something builds their confidence far quicker than if they were to read written instructions: You see, showing them how to do it also convinces them it can actually be done. And not just done, but done easily!
Even better, if your Hangout is recorded to YouTube, they can access this demonstration again and again, if what was demonstrated is something complex or outside their learning comfort zone.
- Regular “Round Tables” – This use is perfect for niche groups where there is a strong need to share tips, troubleshoot problems and showcase achievements.
It also creates a strong sense of community among this group. And not just among the participants – also among the YouTube viewing audience also in this niche, who tunes in to be part of the experience (as well as pick up tips).
And note that this type of Hangout may also give you great ideas for new products, manuals, tutorials – as well as future Hangouts.
- Customer Service – A Google Hangout can be a fantastic Customer Service tool; and it’s one you shouldn’t shy away from.
Consider this scenario: You realize that although your product is easy to use, people are getting hung up on one particular aspect. Create a Hangout showing exactly how you solve that problem for a particular customer (either a real one, with permission, or a staff member, standing in) – and instantly provide a training tool people can search and find online, as well as on your website among your Resources. This will prevent further calls on that issue: And if your Customer Service representative does get further calls, she can quickly send or share the Hangout URL and be off the phone or Chat Line in seconds.
- Your Online FAQ section – Create a series of Hangouts to provide your clients or customers with every FAQ they need to know (including those common ones you formerly got asked on a regular basis).
- Online Classes – Hold a class online, teaching actual students a specific skill. Again, they’ll have something to refer back to, if they grow hazy on any details.
- Showcasing Your Skills – Is your business based on kinesthetic or visual skills such as quilting, drawing, woodworking? If so, Hangouts are a perfect way for you to showcase your skill and build authority as a top niche leader – all while providing instruction and enlightenment.
You can also showcase intangible skills such as counseling or coaching. Invite participants to sample your skills firsthand, online, during a Hangout. This will leave you with a wonderful demo you can promote on your site or in social media.
- Promote your Videos — Make a video about your video by hosting a Hangout to promote it.
- Create a Hangout about Using Hangouts – This is one of the best ways to get your specific audience comfortable in both using – and viewing – Hangouts.
People need to know what something is all about before they will start engaging with it!
- Create a Video Showing People How They Can Start a Hangout About Your Video – Many of your fans and followers don’t know about this option.
And if you don’t know how to do it either, we’ll talk about it in greater depth in our next section…
Using YouTube Tools for Business-Building Hangout Promotion
One way to boost your business is by being aware of – and using – the tools YouTube has put at your disposal.
- Use the “Share” options underneath your Hangout to share it, during or afterwards.
- Click the “Share” anchor text
- Select the social network(s) you wish to share with.
- Do remember you can also expand the networks selection by clicking on the little arrow to share your YouTube Hangout with more social networks
- Ask others to share your YouTube Hangout – and let them know about this expanded share option too.
(Open your YouTube hangout in another browser screen to share, with the sound muted to avoid the dreaded “echo” syndrome.)
- Embed your Hangout video recording into your website or blog. Again, clicking the YouTube “Share” anchor text will instantly provide you with the embed URL.
- Check your Statistics. Checking out Google+ Social Statistics may be a waste of time for you, if you are not Britney Spears with a huge following, but there are other options for tracking Hangout stats.
On YouTube, open to your Video Manager by (a) clicking on your Profile photo and (b) selecting “Video Manager” from the drop-down menu that will open up on the left side.
Then simply click the Statistics icon…You can also check out stats for your own – and your competitors’ – recorded Hangouts by clicking on the Statistics icon underneath any posted YouTube Hangouts recording.
- Show People How to Create a Hangout about Your Hangout. An often-neglected part of business building lies in educating your audience how to help you build it. Share on your blog (and right within your Hangout itself) how to create a Hangout about your Hangout recording.
Don’t neglect either sharing or statistics options as Hangout tools to help build your business.
And especially if your audience consists of visual or kinesthetic learners (those who need to learn by seeing or doing), using Hangouts is one strategy you shouldn’t ignore!