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January 16, 2013

The Beauty of Google Hangouts

Hangouts

Google+ has been a curious space since launching over a year ago. Social Media experts are on it because well… they had to be… and some claim to NOW actually enjoy it. Average users seem to be more keen on the photo storing and sharing options it offers versus Facebook but we haven’t seen a mass explosion of heavy use of Google+. At best it’s a back up platform to Facebook and maybe even a place to share information with a closer-knit “circles” of people but with a few recent optimizations made to Google+ Hangouts, the video chat platform quickly becoming a social media marketers dream come true.

Hangouts were always one of the biggest draws to Google+ but it wasn’t always clear as to why one should use a Hangout over a live Facebook stream, Skype, or even Ustream. Now with a few additions made in the recent months it’s clear as to the benefits of building your Google+ audience and taking advantage of the simplicity and reach that Hangouts have to offer.  Here are some reasons why you should start Hanging out!

 

Benefits/Optimizations:

  • Fullscreen mode: According to Techcrunch “This feature is now the default. It’s a pretty important one to have for professional musicians or news organizations, as the original display was kind of, well, amateur. Attracting these types of users helps Google build out a social platform that integrates with all of its products, as Hangouts On Air demonstrates by working quite nicely with YouTube. When you think about it, the service takes a lot of the hard work out of shooting live video, recording it and then sharing it to places like YouTube. It’s done seamlessly.”
  • Studio Mode: An audio-enhancement that allows you to switch from voice to studio mode and automatically optimize your audio output for music rather than conversation so you get the clearest possible sound when sharing music. Here is an example video from The Verge

  • Edit, Share and Broadcast a hangout using YouTube. Your hangout will be recorded as a public video and will be available on your Google+ homepage once your hangout has ended. You’ll also be able to edit the recording when the hangout is over. If you edit your video, your post (including the video URL) will automatically be updated to show the edited version. Invite circles or individual people to join you in a hangout, and then broadcast it to the world.
  • Camera App: Lets you switch the focus of the camera to the guest of your choice rather than defaulting to the person who is talking—who knows they may talk TOO much!

 

Marketing Opportunities:

  • Pitch live interviews that utilize hangouts. Bloggers/Editors can simply broadcast their interview and embed in their site or share from their Google+ homepage
  • Hangouts can be offered as prizing to fans. Win an exclusive hangout with your favorite band, athlete, celebrity, or virtually anyone you can get your hands on!
  • All live video stream hangouts automatically save to your YouTube profile so you can share and watch again. This is where the beauty of editing comes in hand. A Hangout does not need to be broadcast to the entire world if you’re worried that a live event could somehow tarnish your brand. Instead keep the Hangout private then edit the video from YouTube and share with fans later to ensure no blunders occur
  • Fullscreen and Studio modes make for broadcasting high quality content simple and virtually FREE! Share en exclusive concert, broadcast live news, or build a following through grassroots webisodes of a new comedy series. The world is your oyster so share it!
  • Camera App lets you control when specific guests appear to your viewers, so you can introduce someone before they appear in your live broadcast, or hide someone after you’ve interviewed them. Again, allows for some major control, as we marketers always like!

So what do you think? Will Google+ ever surpass the power of Facebook? Or is it hanging on by its Hangouts? Tell us in the comments about your experiences using the platform and if you’ve created any Hangouts for marketing purposes we’d love to hear your experiences!

digital marketing, Google, Hangouts, live video, streaming video

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