Google+ is proving to offer many benefits for small business. Aside from being one of the largest social networking sites, it is proving to be an excellent platform for the early adopters.One key feature offered by Google+ are Google+ Hangouts.

Hangouts are essentially video interactions and conversations with other Google+ users. Not only can you have one on one hangouts, but you can have up to ten users participating in a hangout simultaneously.

You might be asking yourself “how can I use Google+ Hangouts to help my business?”

Great question, I like how you are thinking. While the concept of hangouts might seem overwhelming or even strange at first, I have put together a list of 6 ways that your company can utilize Google+ Hangouts for your business.

Let’s get started.

1. Online classes/tutorials

Your business services and offerings may leave customers with questions. Questions like “how do I use this”, “can you show me how this works”, or even “how will this benefit my business”?

Using Google+ Hangouts will allow your business a unique way to not only answer common questions, but answer questions you may have not thought of. Additionally, this interaction will help establish trust and ultimately build customer loyalty.

There are a few ways you could offer these tutorials to your customers. One way would be to create an event in Google+ and invite your followers and customer base. During this event, you could showcase some of your products and how to use them. You could field live questions and answer them on the air.

An alternative would be to create the event, invite others, and simply answer questions that have been emailed to you over the years, answer questions your sales people deal with, or show how your product or service can be used.

Another option would be to create a series of hangouts that are essentially an on-boarding process for new customers to your product. While these hangouts might be small in size/attendance depending on the nature of your business, it will allow you to create a strong relationship with your new customers and also help them get going with your product.

2. Interviews

Who doesn’t like to talk about themselves? Hardly anyone, and that includes your clients. Why not let your clients gloat about themselves and how their business runs better now that they use your product or service.

Using Hangouts, you can easily interview your customers or clients. Every business, including yours, can really benefit from positive customer testimonials. These interviews should be relatively short, ideally less than 3 minutes or so. Not only can you share these interviews/testimonials with your Google+ followers, but you can also use these in blog posts or even on your website.

Aside from interviewing clients, you could also interview anyone who your target audience might be interested in. It could be an industry leader discussing recent news and how it could impact businesses. Perhaps it could be your own employees (customers always like to put a face to a name). There are really no limits of who you could interview as long as it is relevant to your audience.

3. Customer Service

Hangouts are an excellent tool for customer service needs. For example, if you have a customer who has particular questions about your product or service, you could do a one on one hangout to answer their questions.

Additionally, you could use a hangout to welcome them once they have signed up to use your business. Basically, it could be a personalized introduction on how to get started with your product/service.

Every business has their own set of customer service needs. Using Google+ Hangouts may allow you to be more efficient and personal when talking these needs.

4. Q & A

Your customers have questions. Why not put a new twist on how to answer them. Most companies will typically use a canned response to answer common customer questions. While this can be efficient and somewhat easy, often times it is not all that engaging.

Using a Google+ Hangout can allow you to do something your competitors are more than likely not doing. Sure, it will take some initial time to set these up, but the end result will be more engagement for your customers.

A great way to get started would be to create a list of common questions your business often answers. These can come from customer emails, your call center, or even social media. Identify which ones make sense to create a hangout for. You could then invite the customer(s) who led this question (or ones closely related) to a Google+ Event for your Q & A session. For those that are unable to make it, simply send them a link to the recorded hangout. Also, as you create more and more of these Q & A hangouts, you can use them on your site in a FAQ section or even share them across your social media accounts.

5. Product Demos

What better way to introduce potential customers to your products and service than to hold a Google+ Hangout showcasing your product with a demo? Let’s face it, you know your product/service inside and out. Why not use that expertise to show potential clients what is possible when they use your product?

Whether you have a few products or hundreds, there are many ways to use these product demos to our advantage. For one, you could create a Google+ Event each week for a different product (if you have many). Not only will you build up an audience to attend your hangout, but you will build a library of demos that you can re-purpose for other things like blog posts, website content, newsletters, and more.

You could also do one on one product demos with current or prospective clients. Unlike the weekly example I mentioned above, this would simply take place when you and your client could find time on each other’s schedule. At the end of the demo, you could follow up with the client via email and provide a link to watch the video if they need it for future reference.

6. Contests

Adding an incentive to your hangout makes it an easy way to up the ante for those who decide to attend. For example, if you are using a hangout to showcase your products, why not giveaway your product at the end of the hangout to one person who attended the hangout? Simply make it known before hand that anyone in attendance will automatically be entered to win something just by attending. There are a number of ways you could spin the incentive/contest approach, but this is the most common.

Google+ Hangouts CAN Help Your Business

There is no doubt that your business can benefit from using Google+ Hangouts no matter what industry you are in. Whether you are a small business or a large corporation, hangouts allow you face to face interaction with current and potential customers.

Is your business already using Google+ Hangouts? If so, what are your experiences from it?
Perhaps you have not tried using hangouts yet…is this something you plan to incorporate in your digital marketing efforts? Let me know in the comments below!

photo credit: mccun934