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Google Hangouts. Fad or Fabulous?

Share the love & make a difference.

It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

I've been asked to be on several Google Hangouts recently. And, once I figured out the technology (well, at least figured it out enough that I can muddle through) – it's lots of fun! But, is it worthwhile from a business standpoint?

This week I asked our panel of experts…

Hangouts are all the rage these days.

Are you doing them? And, if so, what are you finding that works well?

Got examples?

I hope you like what my friends have to share.


rachelRachel Rofe of How To Get Every Book You Write Onto The First Page Of Kindle says:

I've done a few Hangouts. My favorite was the one I did on Christmas to hang out with people who had nothing else to do. A lot of other fantastic marketers joined me, and I think it helped a lot of people.

I haven't done them in a major monetization sense yet, but I'm looking forward to playing with them and seeing what happens. I can't wait to read other peoples' answers on this!

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DennisDennis Becker of Earn1KaDay says:

Yes, I've gotten on board with the hangout rage, and love them. I don't think Google really has all the bugs shaken out yet, because sometimes people have trouble getting on the panel, and a couple times people that do have a webcam aren't showing their video, but still…

I love the fact that you can see everybody on the panel at once on the bottom of the screen, it makes it seem more like watching television, and the personality of the participants can come through.

Google Hangouts - Dennis Becker Quote

“Love this post? Pin it!”

On Webinars vs. Hangouts:

I've been doing webinars for quite a while now, and are used to them, and they just aren't as much fun, I don't think. Plus there are always challenges with webinars in getting the replay recordings.

With hangouts, the recording is uploaded to Youtube in just a couple minutes, with GTW, it would take me sometimes half a day to convert the recordings, upload them to my server, and send out the links… and that would be on a good day.

So yeah, I'm having fun with hangouts, here's an example of one or our more recent ones that I think went relatively well:

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Be sure to check out Dennis’ group over at Earn1KaDay


aliceAlice Seba of Step-by-Step PLR Guides says:

We’ve been doing weekly Hangouts for Contentrix.com for the past few months. It’s just a casual everyone-welcome type of thing as we get to know the technology.

We have one more Hangout before the summer, but then we’ll be back in September.

You can see our most recent Hangout here.

It’s about using PLR to boost your business, so might be of interest to you as well.

The Hangouts are a lot of fun, but sometimes, it’s a little difficult to navigate. Inevitably, someone will have trouble finding the Hangout or connecting, but as people get more familiar with the technology, it gets easier. Just be prepared to give your attendees a hand and if your Hangout is attached to any sort of paid product, go the extra mile in ensuring they don’t miss out.

So far, we’ve kept things pretty casual and I’m learning the ropes myself. A few technical things I’ve learned:

The Hangouts on Air feature allows you to live broadcast your Hangout via YouTube. It also records the video for you, so it’s a super easy way to create video content.
If you or your attendees have any trouble getting in, try using the Chrome web browser. It seems to be optimized for Google+ (we learned that when Nicole herself had trouble getting into one of our Hangouts).

For improved performance, use a wired Internet connection. While wireless works well for some, the connectivity will generally be better with a wired connection.

Overall, just relax and have fun. I’m not a video person myself, but I do enjoy the Hangouts because they can be an actually conversation, rather than me sitting in front of a camera and yacking away. It certainly depends on your goal with the Hangout, but I always encourage participants to speak whenever they have a question or have an opinion or tip to add. It’s much more interesting to get a variety of perspectives in on the conversation.

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Alice has awesome PLR:

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jeanetteJeanette S. Cates, PhD of Plan Your Online Business says:

I am not currently doing hangouts. I've seen so many poorly presented hangouts that were just a waste of my time that I hesitate latching onto yet another new technology.

I generally do not do “face” videos, so hangouts are not the appropriate technology for my comfort level. However, I can see their value when used properly, particularly for truly informal chats – or as a substitute for a webinar.

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connieConnie Ragen Green of Affiliate Marketing Case Studies says:

I am experimenting more and more with Hangouts these days, not so much as an alternative to webinars but as a different way to communicate. My favorite use of them by far is for private mentoring sessions with some of my clients. It's almost like being in the same room with them and we are accomplishing so much our time together. I use a new YouTube channel I created just for this purpose so they're really private Hangouts. As with anything new, practice makes perfect, so keep on ‘Hangin' Out' to see if this is for you.

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WaltBaylissWalt Bayliss of Host Hangouts Easily says:

I am doing hangouts at least once – more like twice per week now with my subscribers and the public. I am finding that the engagement is really well received and my view count is going through the roof on Youtube. People are able to interact easily – and feel like they get to know you better – if they can see a face – and relate to it.

branding – heck yeah – the branding element alone is worth it.

I have found that the increase in responsiveness to standard emails is greatly increased, because the same people that pick up the emails – also saw me on a hangout in the last few days.

I can positively say that the results are ALL good.


NicoleNicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

I don't have a whole lot to say on this topic. In fact, I asked the question because I wanted to see what my friends were doing that is working well. Sneaky, aren't I? 😉

The one thing that's really holding me back from Hangouts is the same thing that keeps me from doing video in general. I don't do 2D well, as my husband says. lol. Translation: I look goofy on video and in pictures, apparently. (Thanks, honey…) But, it's true. So there you have it. I don't have a face that flattens well, I guess?

Anyway, it's so hard to get over that self-consciousness that I don't know if I want to do it. Although, I know if I do video enough I'll stop feeling so yucky on camera. So right now, the only hangouts that I've done have just shown a picture of me on the screen rather than video.

And, yes, the learning curve for the technology is a bit of a pain. In my first hangout with Alice, I wasn't able to even get on until 20 minutes into the call. And, in my Hangout with Dennis, I tried using my iPad so that I could use a video camera (yes, I got brave that day) – but the app just crashed. So, I'm hoping the technology will improve so that it's a friendlier option to really hanging out with coaching clients, in mastermind groups, or in teaching classes.

What about you?

Are you doing Google Hangouts? If so, got tips or examples for us? Please share.

Warmly.
Nicole

23 Comments

  • Rhonda White
    Reply

    I personally LOVE hangouts, but haven’t done one myself yet. I love the relaxed atmosphere and the conversational flow that a “group” adds to the mix. It’s also a great way to get to know other business owners and bloggers…a peek behind the website. So, I think it will help build trust.

  • Eleanor
    Reply

    I personally love them, we just finished up a master mind with Zane Miller. I have started a Wine Wednesday Google Hangout and I have been incorporating them into my affiliate marketing. I believe they are here to stay.

    By the way Nichole I am looking forward to meeting you for the first time next week at Dennis Becker’s event here in Vegas.

  • Debi J
    Reply

    I’m loving Hangouts so much that I’m learning all I can about them (cause the more I know, the more I can assist others). For my business, I’m incorporating them into my product explanations, product reviews, featured bloggers & products, and anything else I can think of.

    I used to just go straight to YouTube to record a video blog (vlog), but since hangouts, I’m doing them using hangouts directly so that YT gets it transcribed… then I automatically (with some editing) have the text to post it to my blog post… double-duty content. Then I can Pin it… and strip just the audio… and split the videos into smaller specific topics discussed within the hangout…. and then… and then… well, as you can tell, I’m liking them and see huge potential in gaining business traction and automatic SEO. 😀

  • Bjarke Klüwer
    Reply

    Don’t worry about appearences. Focus on providing quality content instead. Ever wondered why YouTube took off and became so popular? Great content. Not (necessarily) great video quality.

  • Pam Costa
    Reply

    Nicole, Every time I see your profile photo it just makes me smile and wish I could meet you in person. I am sure your personality will come shining through on a Hangout. I find that I love Hangouts because I am not so concerned about what I or anyone else looks like – I really feel like they are sitting in the same room with me. I love the sense of community it gives and am so honored to be in this community of wonderful people.

  • Denise Wakeman
    Reply

    I love Hangouts! I have started a series of occasional hangouts called Adventures in Visibility. Sometimes it just me with a teaching point and tip about online visibility and sometimes I have a guest. While the technology is a bit of a challenge, hangouts are evolving and getting a lot more features. I love the Hangouts Toolbox app that makes it super easy to add a lower third with my name and URL. I’ve also used private hangouts for meetings with clients and colleagues. It’s more stable than Skype, in my opinion.

  • Caren Glasser
    Reply

    I have been using a GHO’s (Google Hangouts) for my two Internet television shows for the past 8 months. My visibility has quadrupled and it’s one of the best ways to create your digital footprint!

  • Adam Dukes
    Reply

    I am using Google hangouts to interview local (Vegas) business owners. I give them free press, I get content for my site and it’s a great foot in the door for local marketers.

    I love them and think G+ has a chance to give FB/Twitter a run because of Hangouts.

  • Sara
    Reply

    Nicole, I love Google Hangouts. It helps me get to know the people I blogging with. For my business (crochet) it is a great way to visually show someone something like a stitch.

    I’ve done interview hangouts. They aren’t stellar productions as my interview skills need some help BUT the information in the interviews is what is important.

    I also did a presentation on affiliate marketing for crochet bloggers. This ended up being 1-hour long. (Yikes) It was a profitable hangout for me even though technically it was just me hanging out. LOL

    With the above hangout, I offered a PDF download which went over different programs crochet bloggers could use to monetize their blog. I used my aff links in those which is still benefiting me. (this hangout is also on Youtube)

    Tip: Scripting your presentation will help you eliminate the uh’s and um’s and keep you on topic. If you catch yourself trailing, get back on target.

    Thanks for this post. I learned a lot from it.

    P.S. Nicole, I interview people not only because my readers want questions answered but also because I want to learn. 🙂

  • Val
    Reply

    I haven’t jumped in on them either Nicole and it’s for the same reason as you. I hate most photos of myself so why would I want to be on camera. It’s also usually difficult for me to get on any event since I’m west coast and the preferred time runs EST. But that’s just an excuse I’m sure.

    When I first got video capabilities hubby laughed. He said and I quote,”why are you now trying to be on screen when you wanted to work in your pajamas?” How’s that for a bit of perspective? lol

    I still haven’t done video but maybe hangouts would help me break out of my shell of thinking I’ll hate anything I create? There’s no way to know except to do it and truly, there’s nothing to lose.

  • Susan Brown
    Reply

    Google+ hangouts are definitely here to stay. But aside from the camera shy issues, there are also many features that online business owners don’t know about. Like, do you know you can embed your hangout in a sales page?

    I think Google is trying to make this tool as easy to use as possible. You just need to get on there and try it out. For starters, here’s a short video that explains how to navigate the new Hangout on Air layout. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZGSkJz-MRc

  • Kim
    Reply

    So far I’ve only been frustrated with Google hangouts and prefer traditional webinars. I have had problems getting in them, technologically speaking. They seem like they have value if the bugs are worked out.
    Nicole – you should definitely not worry about video. I spent a lot of time worrying about it and not doing it and then I got over it and now it doesn’t bother me at all. (And you’re cute as a button!)

  • LaShanda
    Reply

    I have never heard of Google hangouts, but I think I am willing to give it a try. I love new technology and I have done a lot of networking of various social media sites but some of them are overloaded such, so I would love to use something new or at least new to me like Google hangouts.

  • Jendi
    Reply

    I have ideas for hangouts and am interested in doing them; just haven’t done my own yet. I have used them with others – teaching, consulting, brainstorming, or just for fun; and I enjoyed each of those things.

  • Kemi Quinn
    Reply

    I’ve been to a few but never done one. I’ve learned a lot from them though.

  • Crissy
    Reply

    I think Google+ Hangouts offer a great alternative to webinar services where you have to pay a fee. The technology is new and there are bugs that will be fixed. Like most things, you have to ask yourself is getting something for free worth a few headaches, or do you just want to pay for a webinar service?

  • Carol Farbe
    Reply

    I haven’t used it yet but it looks like Google Hangouts will be a hit. They are cheaper than many webinar services. It it seems there is a learning curve for everyone and it makes me wonder why. Even the experts that I have listened to seem to have trouble with Google Hangouts. Why is that? Is it that complicated?

  • Courtney Chowning
    Reply

    I feel so out of the loop. I haven’t use Google Hangouts even once yet! I’ll have to give it a try soon though so I can what the fuss is all about.

  • Tasha
    Reply

    I haven’t tried hangouts yet, but like Connie said, I also think it would be an excellent way to do one-on-one coaching/mentoring. It’s so much more personal when you can see each others expressions.

  • Geri Richmond
    Reply

    Hi Nicole,
    I read about you on Carol Amato’s blog post titled “The Lady Bloggers Roundup”. I see you on Justretweet and I think I have been here before but, not lately.
    You are a very busy person. How do you do it? I have to time myself for social media, blog commenting, forums, you know, the usual.
    I have not been involved in hangouts. Truthfully, I’d love to do one, but just can’t find the time.
    Let me know if you decide to get in a hangout. I would like some feedback.
    Thanks,
    Geri Richmond

  • Moira Wight
    Reply

    Interesting to read these experienced marketers views on Google’s Hangouts. I have been learning about and experiencing Hangouts through Celene Harrelson aka The Happypreneur who has started doing them herself too for her group coaching and for public viewing. I find it enables me as an attendee, to be able to get to know her better, through seeing her, watching her present her information, seeing her facial expressions means I can judge better whether I am going to like her way of teaching, and to trust her.
    Celene shared with us that after doing her first Hangout her views to her other videos on Youtube increased tremendously. As Hangouts are Google’s property I assume it will help with search engine rankings too…

  • Deb Rodriguez
    Reply

    I attempted my first Hangout for one of my sites, and was probably expecting more than I should have, especially now that I read everyone else’s experiences. None of my attendees could get in so that I could see them or hear them, but they could see my screen and hear me. It ended up being me talking while responding to text messages and emails. But I plan to learn it and put it to good use once the learning curve is passed.

  • Randy hilarski
    Reply

    I use Hangouts 2-3 times a week. This feature has helped us build our brand and find clients. The Google Plus community is so supportive and my Youtube channel is slowly benefiting. This is a game changer, as we are learning Gplus and Youtube are evolving.

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