Google+ Hangouts might be one of the most effective online tools that isn’t being used to its full potential. And good news: they’re free. This awesome tool allows you to make free video calls with up to ten people at a time. You can connect on Hangouts through your smartphone, computer, or tablet. If you have a Gmail account, you can even go from directly from chatting in an email to conversing in a video Hangout. But Google+ Hangouts aren’t just a way to bring the cross-country family together. They’re a quick, easy, and cheap way to hold international business meetings. They’re an awesome way to bring customers together and earn valuable feedback. They’re an incredibly effective tool to aid your marketing efforts – and we’ll tell you how. Connect Consumers Virtually – and Get Great Feedback It’s one thing to get customers engaging in a Twitter conversation or commenting back and forth on your company Facebook page, but it’s an entirely different experience when they’re talking face-to-face. Google+ Hangouts are an easy way to connect your customers to each other. Facilitating a Hangout is free and simple – and it gives customers an open forum to talk honestly about your company’s products, services, etc. By starting with company-focused discussion questions, Google+ Hangouts become an easy way to get customers talking, peer to peer, in an honest, less strategic manner. When customers can take time to carefully type a Facebook comment or strategically share their ideas on a feedback card, their message is censored. In a group discussion, all bets are off and customers are more likely to say what they really think. Having these types of open conversations will show customers you’re serious about customer feedback and that you’re transparent about your weaknesses. To you, these Hangouts are an invaluable research tool, but to your customer, they’re a way to put a friendly, memorable face to the product or service they’re buying. Customers will feel instantly connected to your brand and you’ll learn how you can keep that connection alive. Share Via Stream Via Hangout On Air – And Create Awesome Content Through Google Hangout’s extension, Hangout On Air, you can broadcast your live Hangout over Google+, your company YouTube cannel and website, or share the Hangout online once it’s over. Though you can only have ten people actually entering into the Hangout at one time, through On Air, you can open that Hangout to allow millions of others to listen in. Because these Hangouts are connected to YouTube, your Hangout is capable of attracting a broad audience. Neil Davidson of Smart Insights reminds us that you can even record, edit, and archive your Hangout session right on YouTube for later use. Host a live company event. Hold a virtual panel discussion with competing companies. Stream your conference’s keynote speaker. Virtually interview an expert in your field. With Google Hangout On Air, the possibilities are endless. After these live events, not only have you invited customers to engage in-time, you’ve also created great, shareable content for later marketing. To grasp exactly how to work this great tool, check out Social Media Examiner’s step-by-step guide to using Google+ Hangout On Air. Interested in learning more about how to integrate Google Hangouts into your marketing plan? Let SocialNicole help you! Photo Credit
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