There are so many shiny new toys in the social media sphere…sometimes we can’t keep up. Google has a tendency to test out new ideas (remember Google Buzz?) and this time around they have spun out Google Plus Hangouts. It’s an opportunity for individuals or businesses to utilize this virtual “hangout” to communicate with others in their community or business via video. The only disadvantage that appears right away is the restriction of 10 people per hangout. However, when it comes to meetings and having the chance to build a deeper relationship among community members sometimes fewer can be beneficial.
How individuals are taking advantage of Google+ Hangouts
Individual users are being creative and using hangouts for a face-to-face experience for hobbies like photography and cooking. It is a simple way to make your personal life more interesting with people who share your interests. It’s also an opportunity to join communities that you may not have realized existed…whether it’s with people locally or not. Google Plus Hangouts allow individuals to stay in closer touch with their circles and/or to expand them in a more personal way.
Possibilities for Businesses with Google+ Hangouts
It’s been reported that Michael Dell of Dell Computers has been very interested in Google+ Hangouts, especially for the ability to group video chat in order to assist customers with tech and customer support needs. Unfortunately the capabilities do not work with Dell currently and the restriction of 10 users appears to be a hindrance as well. For now it appears it’s a no-go but Dell hopes that will turn around one day so they can utilize the technology Google has offered with Hangouts. The company believes video chat for tech support could lend a great hand in real-time and personal support for their customers.
2. NBC Philadelphia:
Television has definitely jumped on board and realized that social media doesn’t have to be a threat to news-telling, but a great cross-promotional tool. NBC Philadelphia has recently used Google+ Hangouts for both weather and even more recently a chat with President Obama. The weather team hangout was to allow viewers to chat with the team up close and personally and ask any weather related questions they had. This demonstrates the team giving a closer look behind the camera and showing an even more human side to the team.
Even more recently, NBC Philadelphia hosted a hangout with President Obama. Unique? Yes. Cool? Definitely. The President spoke live and answered submitted as well as live questions during the hangout. It was an opportunity for some to ask questions that had perturbed them such as employment issues. Social media can be a tough venue, especially with all the different opinions and questions that can easily rise. I commend the president for taking the chance, opportunity and demonstrating his willingness to be there on a more personal level.
Tearfund, which is a nonprofit known for disaster response and advocacy, used Google+ Hangouts as an internal communications tool. It helped their team talk to staff who worked from home, or were off-site. Hangouts assisted Tearfund in doing briefings, staying on top of their objectives, and communicating more regularly with their teammates.
In short, there are many possibilities to interact, grow within communities, enjoy hobbies, have meetings, interviews, and/or build relationships on a more intimate and personal level. There are definitely other tools out there, which have similar functions, but being that Hangouts is a part of the Google ecosystem of Gmail, Apps, and more…it just makes it that much easier.
What would you use a hangout for? How would you use it for your business?
Note this post was originally written for Social Media Club, and the original post can be found here.