Just about everyone has used or heard about Google’s search engine. In fact it has become so popular you will often hear people saying they’ll “Google it”, regardless of whether they use Google, Bing or another search engine. Google Hangouts, however, are considerably less well-known. They are rapidly gaining popularity and increasingly being utilised within small businesses as people are learning exactly how Google Hangouts can help improve their business.
What are Google Hangouts?
Google Hangouts allow you to participate in text, voice or video chats, either one-on-one or in a group. You can host a video conference with up to 9 people for free. It will save all your “on-record conversation history” so you can access it from anywhere you need to.
You can host a Google Hangout On Air, which can be broadcast live on Google, on your website and on YouTube, to a limitless number of people across the world. You also have the option to record your session to share with people afterwards. You are able to host a Hangout for up to 8 hours and record the entire length of the Hangout.
But don’t worry if you don’t want to share the full recording as you can edit a Google Hangout before you publish it.
Sound complicated? Well that’s one of the best things about Google Hangouts, it’s not complicated at all. In fact, one of the reasons Google Hangouts are increasing in popularity is due to how easy it is to use. It takes no time at all to get to grips with and it takes a matter of seconds to set up a meeting from your phone, laptop or tablet device.
How are Google Hangouts any different to Skype?
Although both services are similar, there are some distinct advantages that Google Hangouts have over Skype. First of all; Google is free – as is Skype, however, for video conferencing, Skype will insist that you have at least one subscriber on the conference that is a paid licence holder.
As Google Hangouts are integrated with Google Docs it makes editing and collaborating on documents a breeze. Screen sharing is quicker and easier to do with Google Hangouts, saving you time. The overall quality of the video, in terms of bandwidth, is a lot sturdier and more robust with Google Hangouts when you have multiple people on the line, this makes communication easier and more reliable.
One of the most practical ways in which Google Hangouts can help to improve your business is in the area of marketing. Creating content has never been easier! If you are considering launching a new product, or even just promoting an existing product, you can record a video clip or presentation to post to your website, social media platforms and to YouTube.
Recordings are hugely beneficial because they can be looked at by an infinite number of people, at their leisure, from any device with a connection to the internet, at any time.
Webinars are a fantastic way to market your business and with Google Hangouts you can hold them for free. You are limited to 10 users (15 users with Google + Premium), however, these small intimate webinars encourage a higher degree of participation and more questions. It’s also a great starting point to build your audience and your confidence before investing in programs for larger audiences, especially if you are unsure as to whether webinars are a good fit for your business.
Communication and Customer Service
Face to face meetings aren’t always possible or practical, yet there are those occasions that email and telephone aren’t ideal alternatives. Should a client feel the need to complain, wouldn’t it be much nicer to be able to seek to resolve the issue during a virtual face to face meeting rather than by telephone, or even worse, by email? Your clients may be very happy with you but you only deal with them remotely due to distance. With Google Hangouts you can offer a more personalised approach to client management. Rather than being a faceless company, you are a person they can see, and they can interact with you as if you were there in person. This will show that you are accessible and care greatly about your clients’ satisfaction.
What about all those interviews you need to do? It has become very common for initial interviews to take place by way of telephone to save time. However, some people come across well on the telephone, yet when in a face to face interview they present themselves very differently, causing you to realise that the initial telephone interview was of little benefit. An initial video interview using Google Hangouts will help you reduce the risk of that happening and make you more efficient in the long run.
Google Hangouts are also an effective way to connect with colleagues if you are spread across great distances, you work from home or you travel with work.
Reduce Costs – Increase Efficiency
Conducting business meetings on this application is a free and effective alternative to attending out of office meetings, or using paid for subscriptions to services you may only need once a month. Moreover, any money you may have spent hiring an agency to carry out an interview for you, or assisting with a product launch can be kept to a minimum as the tools are within Google Hangouts for you to do the majority of the work, if not all of it, yourself.
Issues can be resolved much quicker; your business costs are kept to a minimum, you can work so much more efficiently because all of these meetings can be done from your own office or place of work. No time is wasted repeatedly calling people, or reaching answer machines. In a matter of seconds; you can set up and arrange a Google Hangout for free.
So why not Hangout? Give it a try and let me know how you get on.