10 Ways to Get Live Viewers for Your Google Hangouts On Air

social media how toDo you want more people to show up for your next Google Hangout on Air?

Do you want a more interactive experience with your audience?

Hangouts are changing the way brands connect with audiences to share advice, interview influencers and more.

In this article you’ll find 10 ways you can entice your audience to join you in real time on your next Hangout on Air.

Why a Live Audience Matters

One of the most intriguing aspects of Google Hangouts on Air is how your live audience accesses your show. Each Hangout on Air is broadcast, recorded and uploaded to YouTube. You can even share your Hangout in real time on your website.

That kind of social media integration makes Google hangouts on air the future of broadcasting. The potential for viral expansion is enormous, especially if you have a live audience talking about your content on various platforms.

But what if you’re having trouble getting real-time viewers to your live Hangout event?

Use the following 10 methods to attract more attendees to your next Google Hangout on Air and every Hangout you produce thereafter.

#1: Use Consistent Branding

The power of consistent branding across platforms is unquestionable. Use a branded banner image (or theme) when you share your Google Hangout because it helps draw in viewers because they recognize you.

Chef Dennis Littley does this well with his Good Day Google+ Hangout series. His branded theme makes his updates immediately recognizable in the news stream and draws fans’ attention to his weekly show.

chef dennis header

Chef Dennis’ professional brand and quality content have helped him amass over 488,000 connections on Google+.

Tip: The Hangout on Air banner size is 1200 pixels x 300 pixels and you can make one for free using PicMonkey.

#2: Create Eye-catching Headlines

Google Hangout on Air headlines are extremely important. Potential viewers are not going to give you their time if your Hangout sounds lame.

Think what you may about the merits of the topic below, but the headline of this Hangout is going to grab attention. Any blogger interested in making more money is probably going to stop and give this Hangout a second look.

online money show header

No one goes to a Hangout with a boring headline. There are too many other things to do online and in life.

Tip: If you’re struggling to create great headlines, read How to Create Headlines That Go Viral With Social Media.

#3: Keep Track of Your Audience

Just like an email list, creating and updating a notification circle is a necessity for long-term Google Hangout on Air success.

Share your event in the public stream and any relevant Google+ communities. Ask people to comment and let you know if they’d like you to notify them about future episodes. When people respond that they want to be notified, add them to your notification circle.

notification circle

Ask people to opt into your Hangouts on Air notification circle.

Tip: After every Hangout you host, expand the Watched section so you can see who attended. Whether it’s 5 or 500, add each name to your notification circle.

If someone has attended once, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll want to attend again. Your notification circle is the trick to compound growth.

#4: Go for Friends of Friends

OK, so you’re sharing in the public stream and relevant communities. If you want even further reach, ask attendees and those in your notification circle to help you promote your Hangout everywhere they can. That word of mouth is powerful.

Make it easy for everyone to share your Hangout on Twitter by creating a ClickToTweet link for each new Hangout. ClickToTweet lets you come up with a tweet so your friends don’t have to. They click the link and they’re done.

I suggest including the ClickToTweet link in your Hangout on Air details, any email blasts you send out and all of your Hangout event page shares. And don’t forget to include your branded hashtag! (See #7 below.)

clicktotweet setup

Make it as easy as possible for people to share your event.

Tip: Ask your audience for more than Google+ shares and +1s. Twitter, Facebook and other platform shares can help you reach different audiences.

#5: Add Audience Reminders

It’s one thing to get people to click Yes under “Are you going to watch?” It’s a whole other monster getting those people to actually show up to the live event.

An informal poll of Hangout hosts I know suggested that 10-25% of people who responded yes actually showed up to the event.

I had similar results until I did one simple thing: I added a reminder image to my Hangout event page. Since then I’ve seen a 40-50% increase in live participation of registered attendees.

hangout reminder post

Just before your Hangout starts, add a reminder image to your event page.

When you add a reminder image to your event page, it pushes that image into your public stream and notifies everyone who said yes or maybe to attending the event.

Tip: Use Canva to create a picture that reminds your audience to drop what they’re doing and come soak in the valuable knowledge you’ll be sharing.

#6: Make the Most of Your Teaser Video

As a Google Hangout on Air host, you have the option to create a simple 20- to 30-second video describing your Hangout. This quick peek gives your potential audience a glance at the value they’ll get from your Hangout.

Your teaser is a great opportunity to introduce your upcoming Hangout guest(s) and share some of the topics or questions you’ll cover. Done well, your trailer can have a dramatic impact on attendance.

In the box with the Play button, you have the option to add a video or an image as a trailer for your Hangout. As you can see below, Wade Harman uses a branded image.

hangout trailer

People see your trailer when your Hangout event page is shared on Google+.

Tip: Check out Hype My Hangout to create 10-second videos and quickly upload them to YouTube to add as Hangout trailer videos.

#7: Collect the Conversation With Hashtags

Unlike on Facebook, hashtags matter on Google+. Use a relevant, branded hashtag to help you (and your attendees) easily collect and track conversations about your show.

When choosing a hashtag, make sure it’s relevant to your brand and message. Do some research and find out if anyone else is using that same hashtag. Too much hashtag overlap can confuse audience members who find themselves in unrelated conversations.

In his Get on Track, Stay on Track Hangout, Jason Wiser uses the hashtag #ontracktips as part of every show.

hashtag on hangout banner

A branded hashtag is one more way your audience can easily find you.

Tip: Your hashtag becomes part of your show’s branding. Use it on Google+, Twitter and Instagram so your attendees can participate in the conversation, no matter which platform they’re using.

#8: Make It Easy for Mobile Users

Depending on your mobile device, watching a Google Hangout on Air can be a little clunky.

If you want to make it easier on your mobile viewers (and you do), give them a way to watch your Hangout on Air on YouTube. Since Hangouts on Air livestream to YouTube, it’s as easy as sharing a link.

Be sure to share the YouTube link in the event details section for your Hangout and in the event comment stream as the Hangout draws near.

youtube link to hangout

Your mobile users would rather watch your Google Hangout on their YouTube app.

Tip: To find your YouTube link, click the Link icon at the top right of the Details section and then copy the YouTube link.

#9: Give Your Audience Options

Podcasting is incredibly effective for launching products and delivering a deeper, richer message to your audience, but one thing it can’t give you is live engagement.

Google Hangouts on Air changes that. In fall 2013, YouTube upgraded the sound quality capture from Hangouts on Air. The result is that you can easily create a Hangout and a podcast from the same show.

Here’s an example of one of my hangouts with Martin Shervington. After the Hangout, I downloaded the captured video from YouTube, then stripped the audio so I could package a podcast episode. I ended up with two ways my audience could enjoy the interview.

I’ve found that making Hangouts as interactive as possible is a strong draw for audience members to show up live.

Tip: You can use Audacity to take the audio from your Hangout on air to create a podcast.

#10: Hang Out in the Comments

There are few things that drive Google Hangout attendance more than your active participation in the Comments section of the event page.

Take time during the show or spend 10-15 minutes after the show to engage with your audience in the comments. That simple effort is the most important aspect of turning a one-way broadcast into an interactive experience.

comment tracker g+ header

Answer questions and acknowledge attendees in the comments.

Tip: With built-in tools like Comment Tracker, integrating audience questions and comments into your Hangout on Air is easy and intuitive.

Key Takeaways

Google Hangouts on Air take audience-building to the extreme by providing a two-way experience between you and your audience.

It all starts with attracting live viewers and then getting them to return again and again.

Make it easy for them to find you by branding your Hangouts via your cover image, event reminder, trailer and hashtag.

Once viewers find you, make it worth their while to return by offering options like watching your Hangout via Google+, YouTube or your website. If viewers are mobile, be sure to give them the link to your YouTube channel.

Creating a circle of interested and previous attendees and contacting them before each Hangout keeps you top of mind too. Don’t be shy about asking them to help you spread the word.

What do you think? Have you used Google Hangouts on Air? How have you attracted more people to your events? How do you engage with your Google Hangout audience? Leave your experience and questions in the comments.

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About the Author, Ryan Hanley

Ryan Hanley is a content marketing writer, speaker and consultant, as well as the founder of Content Warfare, a weekly podcast interviewing the web's best content creators, Content Warfare Podcast. Other posts by »




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  • http://navneetsau.com/ NavNeet Sau

    Great article Ryan. It is so much brilliant and deep information about Google Hangout. Thanks once again for your invaluable thoughts.

  • http://www.askchefdennis.com/ Chef Dennis Littley

    Excellent Post Ryan and thanks so much for the mention!

  • http://nexusaffects.com/ Shawn M.

    I really liked the call to add an opt-in for future notifications. Great reminder on how to create lasting engagement with your audience!

  • http://pegfitzpatrick.com/ Peg Fitzpatrick

    Thanks for the Canva shout, Ryan. Great tips for making hangouts a success.

  • http://www.devdigital.com/ Dev Digital

    I couldn’t agree more from what you said here Ryan. It doesn’t stops me to share at my Google+ profile.

  • http://daphnecohn.com/ Daphne Cohn

    this is a great article. thank you! I’m curious – when you do the hangout and the podcast do folks tend to prefer watching (via hangout) or listening (via podcast)

  • http://ontracktips.com/ Jason Wiser

    Great list Ryan, thanks for the inclusion, and I would also add a high importance on cross pollination. I love hastags because they work across all social networks. G+, Twitter, Instagram, and FB all have hashtag ability, right? use it.

    Also, I have been using FB ads and events to reach outside Twitter and G+ for new viewers. It is slow going, but it does work, and the CPV (cost per viewer) is justifiable for my business model.

    And remember Twitter and G+ HOAs play very well together.

  • http://www.denisewakeman.com DeniseWakeman

    Excellent article, Ryan. Pre and post Hangout promotion helps Hangout hosts create great audience engagement. Love your tip about adding a “starting soon” graphic on your event page.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

    Thanks @navneetsau:disqus! Google Hangouts are an amazing tool for connecting with your audience.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

    @chefdennislittley:disqus you are so very welcome. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you on G+ these last few years.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

    @disqus_s9tXaJN5OA:disqus Yup people will forget about us… not because they want to but because their lives are busy. Unless we can remind them.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

    Very much my pleasure @PegFitzpatrick:disqus. Canva has become such an important tool for my content creation there is no way I couldn’t mention them.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

    Thanks @blogsquad:disqus. That little graphic has done wonders for getting people to actually show up at hangouts. Dripping little messages into the event page screen works as well.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

    @DaphneCohn:disqus I’m currently still getting many more podcast listens then views of the show. But i know that podcast listeners are showing up and asking questions of guests from time to time.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

    @JasonWiser:disqus you are the cross-pollination master. I’m 100% with you on that dude.

  • http://daphnecohn.com/ Daphne Cohn

    cool. thanks for that answer – appreciate it.

  • http://www.hoashows.com/ Mark Seydel

    Another great article. I have heard a lot about Canva, lately. This post got me sign up:-)

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

    @Blogtrovert:disqus you’re going to LOVE Canva. Combined with PicMonkey you’re essentially a graphic designer.

  • http://www.xenonis.nl John-Pierre Cornelissen

    Nice article and great tips! Any thoughts on or experiences with webinarjam? They have created a (paid) shell around hangouts to make it easier to get subscriptions, send pre- and post notifications and interact with your viewers during the session.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

    @jpcnl:disqus I’ve heard some good things about webinarjam. There are few limitations but otherwise it’s a great tool.

  • Tammy St Louis

    how do you get the canva pic after you save it on the banner of your event?

  • Janet E Johnson

    Lots of great tips here @ryanhanley:disqus! Going LIVE soon. :)

  • Peter Esho

    Great article, I actually found it very useful. One of the things I was attempting to do though was invite people (without Google+) accounts to my webinar. When they accept my invitation and enter their names it says that they don’t have access to the webinar. Do people need to have a Google+ account to interact in the webinar/accept invitations and register or is this an error on my end. Otherwise, perfect explanation.

  • http://www.globalbusiness101.com/ Preston Odenbrett

    Awesome Article Ryan, good way to sum it up, perfect timing, passing on to my co-host for our new show coming soon to a HOA near you!

  • http://www.globalbusiness101.com/ Preston Odenbrett

    Make sure you place me on your invite list @janetejohnson:disqus- wish I could attend the live event talk to you this week.









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