Google Hangouts are relatively new to the Internet world and an excellent way to market and grow your business. They are completely free, and all you need to get started is an account on Google Plus, a webcam, and a YouTube account. Sign up at http://plus.google.com and at http://YouTube.com.
A Hangout is simply a video chat where multiple participants (including one admin – the person that runs the hangout) are interacting with one another. Other participants will appear in small screen thumbnails, underneath any participant who is currently speaking. You can have an informal chat with a closed group of people or a more open and public hangout. It’s entirely up to you. I’ve done both public and private Hangouts and each has great value.
Imagine hosting a Hangout with two or three of your employees to explain exactly what your business does to prospective customers. Each person could explain what part they play in the process and how you would benefit by giving them a try. I’m thinking of a restaurant or a retail store here, but almost any type of business would work well. Once your Hangout is over it is then added to your YouTube channel for your prospects to view and comment on at a later point in time.
Using Google Hangouts as a part of your marketing strategy will show your prospects and customers how much you know and care about the business you are in. There are so many reasons that Hangouts are superior to any type of written communication. These include the opportunity to meet with many people at once in a face-to-face setting, the sense of immediacy, showcasing the competence and skill of you and your team, and increasing your credibility in the marketplace. This is the next best thing to meeting with people in person, where they can see your face and hear the tone of your voice while you are speaking about your business.
Your business may be one in which you have lots of customer service issues on a regular basis. Hosting a Google Hangout once a month to address the most common questions that come up could be extremely valuable to your reputation and set you apart from the competition. You could also do this to share your requirements for job applicants and to roll out a new product or service to get feedback on a wider scale. How about letting people know about a seasonal or weekend sale by announcing it first on a Hangout?
Another possibility is to hold online classes for your clients on how to do something that is part of your business. In this regard you could turn Hangouts and your YouTube channel into a college extension program just for your business.
There are so many creative and innovative ways to use Google Hangouts for business. I recommend embracing this new technology and seeing just how far it will take you as you add it to your marketing strategies.