Google+ has a bad rap for being ridiculously uncool. It’s a running joke in society – and in the marketing community in particular – that it’s the least popular social network out there. What’s worse, Google keeps tying it to sites we love, like YouTube, so it’s like hanging out with your best friend and his dorky, asthmatic little brother.
However, there is a shining glimmer of hope that the dorky little brother could turn into a sexy nerd when he grows up, and that’s because of Google+ Hangouts. People are starting to realize how cool these are, and even a few brands are taking advantage of them.
Level One: Conference Calls Made Easy
At its most basic, and I do mean most basic level, Google+ hangouts are easier than conference calls and even Skype calls. The format of highlighting the current speaker while muting and lowering the other listeners is ideal to keep people from talking over each other and missing messages. Everyone hates traditional conference calls anyway; using Google+ is much more easy and effective.
Level Two: Creating Live and Evergreen Video Content
Now that we got the boring part out of the way, let’s talk about creating marketing content. With Hangouts on Air, Google+ streams video content at a certain time on Google+, YouTube, and your website. The content is then saved on YouTube to access later.
At CopyPress, we love Hangouts on Air. We’ll do a Google+ Hangout for our webinar with a guest speaker, field real-time questions from the audience in the chat box and on Twitter, and continue to share the URL as a resource long after the webinar has ended.
Plus, our guests really enjoy wearing pirate hats.
Hangouts on Air is a great way to involve your audience and create video content with whatever resources you have. A bakery could do a cooking demonstration live on air, and have the video as an evergreen how-to reference for years to come.
Level Three: Merging Technology with Real Life
Manchester United has found a way to merge online Google+ Hangouts with real-life events. Yesterday they launched their Front Row contest, which will let a select few Manchester United fans watch the game on sidelines via Google+ Hangout.
Fans must upload photos to Google+ showing their love for Manchester United, and the team will choose a select few to watch the game. After the game, winners will receive photos of their appearance at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s stadium.
Manchester United has more than two million Google+ followers, and this is a great way to get them involved. The team is internationally known and has fans all across the globe, many of whom will never have the chance to travel to Manchester. Manchester United is proving how far its reach extends with this global contest.
Almost everything we do has become digital, and now we’re moving back into the real world. I’d personally love to see more instances of using technology to create a real-life experience. Of course, I’d also like to see Google+ Hangouts used more often, too. Call me?