Earlier this month, Google unveiled several new features and a refreshed interface for its video chat app Google+ Hangouts. The upgrade, which consisted of a new sidebar, new notifications and apps that are easier to locate and manage, came on the heels of Google reaching a huge membership milestone: 100 million monthly active users and 400 million registered users.
The social network’s free video chat feature can build your business by instantly connecting you with clients, colleagues and vendors, wherever they are. It’s also a trouble-free way to reduce travel time and expenses. Hangouts give you the ability to connect with up to 10 people from virtually anywhere. If you’re wondering how the platform can be used to increase engagement with your brand, try at least one of these four ideas:
Host a Q&A
Whether you’re in the catering business or financial services field, you have two things: a website and your expertise. Why not allow your clients to pose their questions to you directly, or a selected expert, on a monthly basis via Google+ Hangouts? You can choose how frequently you’d like to host the Hangouts and what topics will be addressed. When you’re done you can upload the video to YouTube or house it on your website. This is a great way to connect with your customers.
It can also help you to segment your customers for future targeted marketing.
Embrace Your New Meeting Room
In August, Google announced its enterprise-friendly features for its Apps users; Hangouts made the cut. Google Apps users are able to integrate meetings with Gmail, Calendar and Docs. Also, users can lose the pen and pad and write or edit documents during a Hangout meeting. Instead of just entering through invite, your colleagues can enter a video meeting directly from their Calendar entry. Conducting meetings through Hangouts will allow employees to maintain efficient communication, stellar productivity, and reduce travel costs for off-site workers, clients or vendors.
Unveil a Product
Getting the word out about a new product is no small feat, but this video chat platform’s on Air feature simplifies the marketing aspect a bit. I’d still encourage businesses to conduct their regular promotional plans but adding the Hangout on Air feature to the mix will brand your business as a digital-savvy one, to say the least. You can launch your product in a live broadcast and invite as many people as you want to attend. Since Google has removed the overhead associated with hosting a launch event, you can focus your efforts on other tasks.
Conduct a Giveaway
If nothing else, this will build interest in your brand. People enjoy winning free products and services.
Tip on Getting Started: Visit Google’s dedicated Google+ for business page and follow the prompts to customize your corporate identity. You should also link this to your personal Google+ profile so that those in your current circles are aware of your brand page. Keep in mind that you will help your organizations search engine optimization (SEO) by sharing content on this platform.
S. Lynn Cooper is a Washington, DC-based digital strategist and communications expert. Cooper is the founder and director of Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency that specializes in the creation of social and digital strategies and campaign management. Follow her on Twitter at @sociallyahead.