How to Use Google+ Hangout as a Social Marketing Tool - dummies

How to Use Google+ Hangout as a Social Marketing Tool

By Shiv Singh, Stephanie Diamond

Google+ Hangouts can be a useful tool for social media marketers, and it’s easy to do! It doesn’t take much time to set up a Hangout, and no heavy equipment is required. All you need are these three things:

  • A webcam

  • A working internal or external microphone

  • Headphones or ear buds to minimize background noise

You can host a Hangout whenever the urge hits. Hangouts aren’t something you have to schedule in advance to use. Click the Hangout button and follow the instructions for hosting your Hangout.

You can either invite people to your Hangout, or you can set up the Hangout without inviting people. If you don’t invite people, your community will see that you have set up a Hangout and they can join if they so desire. The downside to not inviting people is that without an invitation, there’s a chance no one may attend.

Don’t wing it in a Hangout. Because you’re using a brand account, it’s different from holding a Hangout with friends or family. Although it’s okay to be off-the-cuff and ad-lib, it’s best to have a plan. Don’t choose topics you know nothing about, or think you can fill an hour-long Hangout without printing out a list of talking points. Don’t rely on others to fill the void.

The benefits of Google+ Hangouts abound. Here are some things you can use Hangouts for:

  • Put a face to the brand. Hangouts add a human element and personal touch to the brand name. This adds trust between you and the people who are your costumers or part of your community.

  • Receive feedback. Hosting Hangouts to find out what people think of your brand is a terrific way to discover the wants and needs of your customers.

  • Interview guests. Bring in experts to help your community learn, grow, and further benefit from interaction with your brand.

  • Give how-to presentations. Use Hangouts to teach everyone how to use your product or service to its maximum potential.

  • Create focus groups. Send active members of your community product samples and gather the members later to collect their thoughts.

  • Have a book or movie discussion. Not everything has to be business related. Use Google+ for discussion groups having nothing to do with the brand. Off-topic Hangouts once in a while are not only acceptable, they’re fun!

  • Answer questions from your community. Host a town hall and invite your community to ask questions.

  • Share documents and slides. Hangouts enable you to share more than your smiling face. Use them to host full-fledged presentations.

  • Share your screen with others. Use live examples to illustrate a point by sharing your screen.

  • Show rather than tell. Video allows you to add a new dimension to your content. When you offer video, people can see the expression on your face, hear the passion in your voice, and see exactly how to do whatever it is that you’re sharing.

  • Talk live with people around the world. Public Hangouts allow you to reach a bigger audience.

  • Hangout publicly or with only a few people. Open your Hangouts to everyone or invite only a few people for a staff or client meeting.

If you’re unfamiliar with Hangouts, sit in on a few first. See how they work and how others participate, and then you can decide whether it’s something you’d like to try with your community.

To find a Hangout to sit in on, simply click the Hangouts icon in your left menu to access all the public Hangouts that are available.