Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Shouldn’t You Be Using Google+ Hangouts to Connect With More Customers?

What do the Black Eyed Peas, The Muppets and the technology giant Dell have in common?

They are all using Google+ Hangouts to connect with their fan bases.

Before you protest, not another social media site! I’m currently on Facebook and Twitter and they take up too much of my time already, let me explain . . .

At the moment, Google+ has an estimated 40 million users compared with Facebook’s 800 million. But please don’t think of it as “a smaller Facebook,” because it isn’t.

First of all, Google+ Business Pages are easy to create and edit – easier than Facebook in fact. Google+ allows you to interact with your fan base through a mixture of comments, tags, sharing and the soon-to-be legendary, Hangouts.

So what is a “Hangout”?

A Hangout is a video connection between your business and your customers and followers. You can host your own networking sessions, showcase your latest products and services, organize a focus group or a Q&A session – the possibilities are endless.

Many business owners use Hangouts as video conferencing tools, scheduling meetings with suppliers, partners, affiliates or resellers. You can use the Hangout facility to interact with a maximum of 9 other people at any one sitting (10 including yourself). Each Hangout you host will have a specific URL you can use to invite Google+ users to your video session.

Before you host your first official Hangout, I would suggest organizing a ‘dry run’, to ensure you are well prepared and that the sound quality is fully optimized. You might also want to start with fewer people until you get some experience of the facility, as 10 people sharing a conversation is likely to become somewhat chaotic!

I mentioned Dell in the opening of this piece. Dell is the latest big company to announce it plans to use Google+ in its customer service division. It’s quite surprising that many of the larger concerns haven’t yet picked up on the business potential of Hangouts. To be able to connect with your customers face-to-face is a fantastic innovation. Even better – you can then upload videos of those interactions to YouTube. There are huge possibilities for viral marketing here . . .

If you want to ‘hang out’ with more fans of your brand, Google+ Hangouts is well worth a look. You’ll be able to create and share content-rich video productions that spark exciting conversations. Getting more people talking about your brand is what it’s all about. Plus you’ll be in great company.

More people are catching on to the benefits of using Google+ for business. It’s worth signing up to Google+ for the potential of its Hangouts facility alone.

The unwavering popularity of YouTube is testament to the fact that people find the medium of video as a ‘create and share’ tool irresistible. Household names like the Black Eyed Peas, The Muppets and Dell have already come alive to the potential of Google+ as a means of gaining greater visibility and expanding their fan base. Just think what it could do for your brand. If you aren't sure on how this could work for you ask a marketing consultant to give you some ideas.

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