If you’re not familiar with Google Hangouts, they are quite simply an instant messaging and video chatting platform from Google. Google Hangouts allow you to communicate with friends, family, colleagues, clients, and customers across the globe on nearly any device including desktop, tablet, and smart phone.
As a small business, you can use Google Hangouts for a variety of reasons and I’ll be breaking down these reasons for you to understand comprehensively. Not only are Google Hangouts a great addition to your toolbox as a small business, but they are easy to setup. Head over to https://plus.google.com/hangouts and you’ll see the following screen:
Next you’ll click on the blue button that says “Start a Hangout On Air.” Google will send you a pop-up box and let you add some basic information as well as the option to start broadcasting immediately or to schedule the event for later.
It’s a simple set-up process (Thank you Google!) and can make a big impact on your small business. Below are 3 ways you can use Google Hangouts to boost your small business’ day-to-day operations, company awareness, showcase your expertise, and provide excellent customer support.
1. Customer Service
Google Hangouts allow you to provide personalized face-to-face customer service with people right in your backyard or around the world. You can respond to troubleshooting and client concerns over your product, thank a customer personally for a great review or referral of your services, and update your clients on progress on a project. Personally, I’ve been able to have private Google Hangouts as a Q&A session with clients who need face-to-face communication instead of email back and forth or even by phone. It’s a personal setting that allows us to really connect and see a smiling face.
2. Business Meetings and Collaboration
Do you have remote employees? Bring your team members into a Google Hangout to collaborate on projects, update each other on progress, and to brainstorm new ideas. This allows you to have a business meeting with your team without being in the same location. It cuts back on driving into the office for home-based employees and also allows you to bring in contractors and consultants in other parts of the country with ease.
3. Grow Your Business
Growing your business is a great benefit of what Google Hangouts can do for your small business. Some of the ways you can do this include:
- Virtually Training Your Staff
- Communicating with Customers
- Hosting Webinars
- Providing Classes and Workshops
Conducting interviews of potential employees, contractors, and consultants is a huge benefit of Google Hangouts. This allows you to bring in new team members that may not be local to you but have the expertise in your needed area. We then can move to training your staff, both local and remote, in one “room.”
The second side of using Google Hangouts to grow your business is to host webinars and Google Hangouts On Air. This one is a big piece of growing your business! Set up a Google Hangout for the future, create flyers and social media friendly images to promote the hangout, and then share your story. You can provide classes via these hangouts that show fun DIY projects that include your product, how to solve common troubleshooting issues, and showcase success stories of your clients and customers.
Google Hangouts allow you to publicly broadcast and instantly post replays to YouTube but also allow for private hangouts. As the organizer you can control what is seen publicly so you can stop it from sharing your hangout live to the masses and prevent the recording from ending up on YouTube. This is how we differentiate between using this tool as a team building tool with interviews and training but also as a way to provide classes and webinars to the public.
How are you using Google Hangouts? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments.