Google Hangouts is a group video chat feature on Google+. The feature is available to any brand page and allows up to nine people – plus a host from your business – for any hangout.
You can invite specific users to your hangout or you can make it public, where hangout spots are awarded to the first nine people who enter. Then, once your chat is over, you can post a recorded stream of your hangout to your YouTube channel.
Businesses large and small are taking advantage of the new feature in all sorts of creative ways. The US Open tennis tournament hosted a live hangout from the men’s final, where Broadcaster Kevin Skinner and retired pro Taylor Dent interacted with fans from around the world. They did the same for the women’s final, too, and placed the entire event on their YouTube channel.
This is a top way for businesses to earn loads of YouTube views and even more word of mouth. Want to get started? Here are six more examples for inspiration.
Call in the experts (Asos)
Enlist help from a few well-known experts. That’s what Asos did in early August, hosting a one hour ‘shop-along’ with two fashion experts. An important lesson from this hangout was that there was no audience interaction. Instead, there was a moderator probing the two experts for shopping advice, making the video they created serve as a recorded, impromptu webinar.
Host a Q&A (The New York Times)
The New York Times hosts hangouts with Olympic athletes, political pundits, sources, and reporters. The format of their chats is live Q&A, with the questions coming from regular, everyday citizens. One quick lesson from The NYT: after you’ve posted your hangout to YouTube, embed the video onto your homepage.
Do live product samplings (Cadbury UK)
Cadbury invited members from its Tasters Circle to sign up for a tasting of some of the chocolate-maker’s new products. They sent three new chocolate bars to everyone who signed up, with nine lucky participants awarded the chance to participate in the live On Air Taste-Off. The results were stellar, as the post announcing the winning bar received 126 +1s and was shared 24 times, while the recording received 73 +1s and was shared six times.
Host a giveaway (Taylor Guitars)
To generate interest in its brand, Taylor Guitars teamed with singer Daria Musk for a series of concerts and live guitar giveaways. These hangouts generated interest and then some, winning over 500 views on YouTube.
Launch a product (Taylor Swift)
Taylor Swift hosted a hangout to announce her new album. Once the announcement was through, she answered questions from around the world, told people what to expect from the record, and even debuted the album’s first single.
Serve your customers (Dell)
Dell has hosted dozens of hangouts already, using it for customer service, sales calls, industry discussion and more. Their multifaceted approach shows just how much your business can do with a Google Hangout. One last quick takeaway: Dell empowers its employees to host these hangouts themselves from their personal Google+ pages. Any business can do this while still hosting live Hangouts from your official brand page.
*Like this article? Here’s another you’ll be keen on: Why Google May Have Changed Your Content Marketing for Good.
Photo: mrsdkreb (Creative Commons)