Oh No! Not ANOTHER social network!!!
Hold on! This one is VERY important for growing your brand and business opportunities. It’s been around for more than a year with a dramatic increase in users. It’s Google Plus (G+) and run by Google…the same company that controls search results.
As Google likes to phrase it, G+ is more of a social “platform”. It’s the applications (apps), features, and interfaces working on their platform that makes the difference. Most importantly … the Google juice the applications, features, and interfaces provides to search!
The following three G+ apps are most intriguing for business opportunities:
• Hangouts On Air (HoA)
Hangouts are “private” (aka by invitation only) video conferencing events. Within the hangout application, you can use different apps to engage with your attendees. You can draw an engineering diagram or review a video. You can use slides or share your screen.
Each hangout can be recorded using screen capture software and stored on your YouTube channel. Imagine creating a visual and audio record of as a reminder of what was discussed or can be shared with those who could not attend.
Hangouts on Air are “public” events (with benefits). HoAs are your own broadcast channel. The HoA runs live on your G+ stream of posts and is RECORDED and immediately placed on your YouTube channel. Anyone can watch your HoA event (unless you specifically limit it). Everyone can interact through chat as the HoA appears as a post in your Google+ stream. Oh, one more thing…Google gives weight to HoAs in search results!
Both “Hangouts” and “Hangouts on Air” allow you to interact with up to ten web video devices (laptop, tablet, smartphone, PC, camcorder), including yours. Think of each of the 10 slots as seats at an event and you will begin to see the possibilities to engage (and make money) with existing and prospective clients.
Events are invites and a placeholder. Don’t be fooled, an “Event” is much more than an email or appointment notification. It is a nicely formatted invite (complete with motion graphics that you create) that becomes the “album” (web address placeholder) for comments, pictures, and videos for your event.
The Event becomes the place to discuss what is happening before, during, and after your hangout or hangout on air. A link is provided inside the event to “register” (link to eventbrite page or website page to accept payment) to attend the “event”.
Think about the possibilities (and money making opportunities). Here are just a few ideas:
1. A virtual seminar for your clients: You can have a “webinar” providing special invitations to your best clients to be one of the ten “seats” (at a fee you decide to charge). Hold a class about how to use a specific feature of your product. Using one of the many “apps” you can use “slide share” or “share screen” to engage while sharing the information. Pull in charts to discuss survey data and the impact of the notable trends. The YouTube app is the simple linkage to a video. You can play your YouTube “explainer” (aka what you do) video at the beginning of the hangout and get immediate feedback from your best customers.
2. A regular broadcast: In the same theme as a webinar, you can hold a series of live hangouts to broadcast to the world live once or on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Use this opportunity to include special guest interviews with people your clients would want to learn from. You can alert (and charge) clients about specific broadcasts via the “event” invite. Many up and coming experts are willing to pay for the opportunity to be in front of the right audience to share their perspective of industry trends, data analysis, their latest book or any topic of interest to prospective clients. An attractive element of Hangouts is that the people you are interviewing, that is the experts your clients are watching don’t have to be in the same location (greater involvement and interaction). Participants can use their PC, tablet, or smartphone to connect and engage. Participants can share pictures or videos you can store with the “event” or pull into the broadcast.
3. Multiple Camera Shoot: Create an experience others will want to be part of or want to watch later. You can have several smartphones using one of your hangout seats at an event like a client appreciation day, showing the excitement your clients feel about you and your company. Use the same setup when you attend an industry event or a conference that your clients may not have attended (careful, don’t video the actual presentation but do provide your take on what you see and hear).
Beware of trolls. Even the “public” HoAs can be protected by those individuals who just want to be anonymous and cause harm.
1. Use your Google+ settings to restrict who can leave comments on your posts (and hangouts).
2. Send “event” invites ONLY to those you know.
3. Always have someone monitor the comments:
a. Inside the event chat
b. Inside the post chat
c. Inside your YouTube chat
d. On Google Chat to you or any of your “seat” holders.
Don’t miss out on being the face of your company, brand, and industry. Take advantage of Google Plus Hangouts, Hangouts on Air, and Events. They are easy and free!
Get started by:
1. Registering for Google Plus as an individual.
2. Set up your profile to include links to your YouTube channel.
3. Create a “circle” of your existing clients, your best clients, and prospective clients. Create another “circle” of recognizable names in your industry.
4. Have a hangout for yourself (just to see how you look)
5. Have a hangout with one colleague (just to see how it works)
6. Add and use the “lowerthird” app within a hangout for branding
7. Create an event for a hangout and invite yourself and the colleague (just to see how it works)
8. GO FOR IT!
To have a successful, money making “event”, keep the following in mind:
1. Preparation is the key to success. Know what you want to talk about, how you will talk about it, and how you will interact through the many types of engagements. The topic you choose needs to be content your viewers perceive is valuable and in context (timing is everything). Use the “event” application to initiate branding yourself and the event. Announce the event with a G+ post using the same branding. Link the G+ post to all your other social media outlets.
2. Always plan on reuse. Even if you do not plan on “selling” or providing access to your hangout on air, present as if you will. You and those sitting in “seats” are on display. As you would for any video:
a. Position yourself over to one side. You may want to use that background space to add overlays later.
b. Record the audio with a separate audio recorder. The sound is always better than a webcam.
c. Use lighting that makes you look natural. Avoid dark shadows or blinding light spots.
d. Add branding to your “stage” with a coffee cup or shirt with your logo but remove anything in the background you don’t want others to see (including a calendar and messy desk).
e. SMILE! You are on camera!
3. Edit Offline. If you decide to do an offline edit, clean up any blurriness your webcam may have created. Remove any out of context or uninteresting parts (if a guest is rumbling through his/her papers to find a quote). Fix any audio imperfections. Add your intro/outro and music. Add overlays to emphasize a point made or a person’s name during the event.
4. Edit Online. Take advantage of what YouTube offers. Update ALL the fields. Create a transcript. Apply video search engine optimization.
5. PROMOTE. Whether you decide to make your event into a product for sale or for free, if the event has valuable information for others who weren’t invited or able to make it, talk about it on social media (including G+). Remember, promotion is always your responsibility.
Understand what speakers have known for years. Every speech can be turned into a video for sale, part of a training course, or made into a multi-media book. Every presentation can be REUSED and leveraged to make a “product” in which it can be used for marketing purposes or for sale. As long as the content is still valuable and timely, you have a product!
Hangouts, hangouts on air, and events can be viewed the same way. The material presented can be leveraged and reused either as a “for free” marketing offering or a “for sale” product. It can be sold on its own or as part of a package (think web series).
Many of the people who were part of the event, as well as those who missed it will want the information later on. The beauty of being able to capture your “event” is the ability to keep the information around for longer than a social media second! Tweets last about 10 minutes. A Facebook status update about 30 minutes. A YouTube video can be around and found (YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine) for days, weeks, months, and years. A video has a much longer shelf-life. AND … this is a biggie … Google adds more “juice” to Hangouts for searches.
Pat Ferdinandi is a Video Strategist who helps you increase your “search juice” with business online videos. Download her killer video tips checklist to help you take your videos up a notch above your competition!