As part of its strategy to provide a vast and inclusive ecosystem for individuals and businesses, Google has been providing apps and business solutions for years. So are its competitors, but they aren’t quite having the same adoption rates as Google is. A few weeks ago I wrote a post specifically about how Google Apps for business can be a big help to any business. Google+ Hangouts is a part of these apps as well as a free benefit to having a Google+ account. Hangouts could be a great tool for you and your business, and I’ll tell you why.
Hangouts for Your Business
When people think about services like Google+ Hangouts, they often think, “What a great way to have a virtual meeting” and their thought process stops. I’m not faulting anyone for that; it’s hard to think past what a product appears perfectly designed to do. I never considered how to use Hangouts myself until recently.
Sure, meetings with employees and customers is a great use of Hangouts. It gives you the flexibility of mobility in getting business done and having the important conversations that can grow your business. The thing is, Google+ Hangouts is more than just a way to have virtual meetings. It can do a lot more for your business if you make an effort.
How You Can Use Google+ Hangouts
Many agencies and businesses don’t realize that they are sitting on a very versatile tool with Hangouts, but they definitely are. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use Hangouts to improve your business or the businesses hiring your services.
Hangouts are a great way to involve customers in any marketing or social media campaign you engage in. With quality social media use, combining the power of virtual “face-to-face” conversations with people who have criticisms, complaints, or even compliments for your business can work wonders for improving how consumers view your brand. You can easily turn a critic into a warrior for your brand with a little recognition. The possibilities are endless for including customers with Hangouts.
A huge way to engage your customers is to ask them directly what they want from your business. You can get a wealth of information from the people who matter the most to your business. People love to share their opinion and ideas, especially if they are loyal customers and fans of your brand.
Another way to create buzz and engagement with customers is the Q&A. Hosting a Q&A with people in your business can be a great way to get people engaged in your brand online. People enjoy having the opportunity to ask questions to the businesses they like.
Create a Marketing Campaign Using Hangouts
It doesn’t take much to create a campaign designed around having Hangouts with customers or interested consumers. Provide them a forum to share their thoughts or share information they would want to hear from people within your company. Promote it like crazy online and traditionally. You could go on virtual tours of your business, show how certain things are made, and put a much needed human face to your business in today’s social media driven online climate. Heck, you can even incentivize participation with concrete rewards like discounts!
Use Hangouts with any Announcements or Product Releases
Organizing a Hangouts session that coincides with a product release or announcement for your business adds another layer of interaction for your business and your customers. This gives you a chance to have a much more concrete display of whatever you are supporting to customers. They will be able to see and take part in the event and not experience it as onlookers.
Take Advantage of Local Connections
For smaller businesses, having Hangouts related to the community you are a part of can go far to building your online presence with customers. The content or topic doesn’t even have to be directly related to your business either. Get employees or staff to share useful information about the local community or anything along those lines that would help out your customers in any aspect of their lives. This can go a long way in humanizing your business as well as getting people involved in your social media efforts.
Hangouts are a great opportunity to network with other businesses or other professionals in your field. Organizing monthly (or any time-frame, really) Hangouts that bring together people who run businesses similar to your own can help owners and managers improve their knowledge and skills. Think of it as a self-improvement round-table so you can learn from the experience of others and vice versa.
This is not an extensive list, of course. Use your creativity and experience to think about how else your business can utilize Google+ Hangouts. Tim Gray has a good resource on the Social Media Examiner site, as does Phyllis Khare on the same site.
Creativity and Persistence Will Pay Off
Hopefully the creative side of your brain is busy right now thinking about how you can use Google+ Hangouts for your business or the businesses you serve. There are some great opportunities here that go along well with running a strong social media and online campaign. Give Hangouts a shot, you really don’t have anything to lose!
What creative ways do you know of to use Google+ Hangouts?
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