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social media how toDo you use Google+ Hangouts?

Interested in ways to use them for your business?

Google+ Hangouts are a great way to hold group meetings, interact with customers, interview people and share your expertise.

In this article you’ll discover eight ways to use Google+ Hangouts for your business.

use google+ hangouts for business

Discover eight ways to use Google+ Hangouts for your business.

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A Quick Introduction to Google+ Hangouts

Before getting into ways to use Google+ Hangouts, here’s a quick look at the types available.

For public Google+ Hangouts, you’ll want to choose Google+ Hangouts on Air. Google+ Hangouts on Air allow you to have up to 10 hosts in a live hangout that is publicly accessible on Google+, your YouTube channel and your website. You can record hangouts directly to your YouTube channel for future use.

google+ hangouts on air image

Get started with Google+ Hangouts on Air.

For private Google+ Hangouts, choose Google+ Video Hangouts, which allow you to have up to 10 participants in a video chat that is accessible only to the people invited.

google+ video hangouts image

Get started with Google+ Video Hangouts.

You can run Google+ Hangouts from your desktop browser or by using the recommended Google apps. Try running a private Google+ Hangout with yourself and a select group of people to start with, so you can install the proper browser software and test out the controls before you go live with a hangout.

Google+ Hangout Controls & Apps

At the top of a Google+ Hangout, you see controls that (from left to right) allow you to invite people to the hangout, mute your microphone, turn off your webcam, adjust your bandwidth settings, configure your video and sound settings and end the hangout.

google+ hangouts top control panel image

Google+ Hangouts top control panel.

In the left sidebar you’ll find apps that allow you to do specific things during the hangout, some of which are available only in hangouts on air, not in the video hangouts. These apps may also be ordered differently depending on which ones you choose to use or have used in the past.

google+ hangouts left control panel image

Google+ left sidebar controls.

Starting at the top in the above image, you find the Group Chat app icon, which opens a chat box on the right side of your hangout. This is a great way to invite a person to interact during the hangout, even if he or she isn’t one of the 10 people in the video with you.

Next, you have the Screen Share app icon. This allows you to share your screen to show slides, live software demos and other information on your desktop.

google+ hangouts screen-sharing options

Choose screen-sharing options for hangouts.

The Tag icon allows you to showcase links from websites of your choosing on the right side of the hangout. These can be links to your website, social profiles, landing pages and other items that your hangout attendees and viewers would need.

showcasing website bio item on google+ hangouts

Showcase items from websites in your hangout.

The Q & A icon allows you to specifically start a Q&A in the hangout.

The Camera icon enables you to take a screenshot of the hangout while it’s live. You can use this feature at a specific point during the hangout to create a thumbnail image to use for your YouTube video preview. You can also use it anywhere you’re planning to promote the hangout replay.

The Video Camera icon allows you to control who is being shown during the hangout and how guests will appear when they join the hangout.

google+ hangouts cameraman options

Use the Cameraman options to customize your hangout.

Use the UberConference app icon to create a conference call number that people can use to call in to the hangout if they’re unable to access the live video stream.

google+ hangouts uberconference options

Give attendees the option to listen to your hangout via conference call.

The Control Room app icon allows you to quickly control which participants in the hangout are seen and heard. You can also use it to kick people out of the hangout if needed.

google+ hangouts control room app dashboard

The Control Room allows you to mute and hide a participant’s video feed.

The Hangout Toolbox app icon triggers a box of features you can use to further enhance your hangout. In the example below, you can see how to add a lower-third banner with your name tagline or a custom overlay image so every person on the hangout is identified when they’re on video.

google+ hangouts toolbox options

The Hangout Toolbox offers several options to enhance your Google+ Hangout experience.

The Effects app icon toggles special effects you can use on your video during the hangout. These are more for personal use than business use.

google+ hangouts special effects options

Use special effects in Google+ Hangouts to create a fun experience.

Finally, there’s a YouTube app icon that allows you to choose a YouTube video to stream live during your hangout.

At the bottom of your hangout (as shown below), you see additional options for starting and stopping your broadcast, as well as links to share to direct people to your hangout.

google+ hangouts bottom control panel image

Google+ Hangouts bottom control panel.

Now that you know a little about how Google+ Hangouts work, here are a few ways to use them for your business.

#1: Upgrade Conference Calls

Want to feel more connected to remote employees, contractors, vendors and others you work with outside of your office? If you have fewer than 10 people in attendance, upgrade your conference calls from voice to video with Google+ Video Hangouts. This will increase everyone’s engagement in the meeting, as you’ll be able to see attendees’ facial expressions and gestures.

Video hangouts can be used for regular weekly meetings, brainstorming sessions and more.

#2: Present a Webinar

Ready to present a webinar to your audience, but don’t want to pay hefty fees for a webinar platform? Try Google+ Hangouts on Air. Hangouts on air allow you to use your webcam, share your screen and watch other YouTube videos live with an unlimited number of viewers. You can also record and save hangouts on air to your YouTube channel.

One feature missing from Google+ Hangouts is the ability to get attendees to register for your webinar so you can capture their email addresses. There are a few ways around this. One option is to have a registration page for your webinar that has a simple opt-in form for your email list. Require people to opt in to get a link to your webinar before it goes live.

Another option (after the live webinar is over) is to embed a replay webinar on your website, rather than publicly listing it on YouTube. All people have to do to see it is to give you their name and email address, and you send them the link to the web page on which your webinar recording is embedded.

#3: Host a Q&A Session

Want to turn hangouts into an opportunity to interact with your audience? Host informative Q&A sessions with people in your business or industry leaders.

Simply find topics that relate to your products and services (topics that people typically have lots of questions about) and create a Q&A session around them. You can have one expert or a panel of experts (up to 10) to answer people’s questions submitted prior to the event or submitted in the text chat.

#4: Interview Industry Leaders

Video interviews make great content, and they’re easy to create with Google+ Hangouts.

You can choose to record the interview with just you and your guest(s) and share it later with fans after some editing. Or you can host a hangout on air with a live interview and open the floor for viewer questions at the end.

#5: Enhance Job Recruitment

Is your business hiring? Don’t just post a job listing. Hold a hangout on air session for potential applicants letting them know more about your opportunity, how to apply, tips for applying and insights into the job they would be doing.

You can then use Google+ Hangouts during the interview process with your potential candidates. This is especially helpful if you have remote employees who need to be part of the interview process, or if you’re hiring remote employees and don’t want to make them travel to your location.

#6: Launch a Product

Launching a new product? Use Google+ Hangouts on Air to host a live product launch party.

This event has the potential to get your customers excited all across the globe. You’ll get bonus points if you can get a celebrity on board with the launch, as shown in the above hangout.

#7: Hold User-Group Meetings

Want to virtually bring together users of a specific technology or tool? Hold a weekly or monthly user-group meeting.

Groups of 10 or fewer can participate live on video, and groups larger than 10 can view and interact in the hangout chat. Google+ Hangouts make the perfect environment for virtual user-group meetings because people can share their screens for tutorials and feature reviews.

#8: Sponsor a Hangout

Don’t want to host Google+ Hangouts on your own? You can get your name on them by sponsoring them instead. Similar to podcast sponsoring, find people who regularly host Google+ Hangouts in your industry and see if they’re interested in sponsorship opportunities.

In exchange, you can ask for a few mentions of your product or service during the hangout and a link in the YouTube video description when it’s shared after the event.

What do you think? Do you use Google+ Hangouts for your business? If so, please share your experiences and ideas in the comments!

use google+ hangouts for business

8 tips for using Google+ Hangouts for your business.

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  • Kenethe1234

    Superb post! Really an out of the box idea! i Will definitely use the tactics to improve my online business flow.

  • Google Hangouts has rapidly become my Content/SEO “Secret Weapon” of choice.

  • treb072410

    Another great post Kristi! Thanks for sharing!,,

  • Thanks Kenethe! 🙂

  • They’re great for content and SEO, especially since you can keep them on YouTube, download and edit, and much more.

  • Thanks! 🙂

  • Florence

    One big problem with Hangouts: Every night I get men who want to chat and want to know me better etc. So I had to close the hangout option down. How to solve this?

  • refuse the invites and block them.

  • Just like any other private messaging option, there’s usually stuff you have to just ignore and block. I have that same issue with Twitter DMs and Facebook messages.

  • Alternatively, you can just turn off Hangouts until you need to use them if you want it for business only purposes.

  • We’ve used G+ hangouts for a few unique situations at Spectrum Health System. We’ve used it to do a news conference with an adult bone marrow transplant patient. Due to a highly compromised immune system, we couldn’t hold a traditional news conference with the patient. G+ hangout ended up being a great solution. We’ve also used G+ hangout on air for a live broadcast with our employees for an all employee meeting with the president of our hospital group. We embedded the broadcast on our Intranet so employees could log in, view and ask questions.

  • Those are great uses Michael! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Sarah Hudson

    When you conducted webinars using Hangouts, what sort of technical issues did you run into? Do you generally, have to walk people through the process of making sure they were logged into their Google accounts and then navigating them to through the process of finding the hangout application and so on?

  • Jon

    Viewers don’t need to be logged in. You can even embed the live YouTube feed into your website & get people watching there 🙂

    Pretty sure there’s also a web version of Hangouts now so no apps or installs need to take place making it even easier 🙂

  • Love it, Kristi! Since this is basically what I do almost what you could call, full time (aka hangoutqueen), I can really appreciate it! You covered many of the same (critical) areas that we cover in our coaching calls.

  • treb072410

    Welcome

  • Thanks Deborah! 🙂

  • Great idea to use for webinars, because those webinar platforms can be pricey. Are there more benefits to using Google+ Hangout rather than Periscope or Meerkats for business?

  • Google+ allows you to do more – share your screen, share YouTube videos, create professional captioning at the bottom of your screen, and save your video to YouTube for future use. So even if Google+ went away, you would still have your video content. I don’t think you can save Meerkat videos at all, and the videos you save from Periscope will be in a portrait format instead of landscape, making them less useful for uploading to YouTube or elsewhere.

  • I agree that you definitely want to practice before you do a real Google hangout – especially if you are going to invite clients. It can be a little quirky. Make sure you know how to do a screen share as there are multiple options which aren’t self-explanatory.

    You also want to set up your lower third in advance. It is a banner you can put across the bottom with your name, title, or website.

  • Thein Win

    Social Media Examiner

  • erik

    Great article. Thanks!