Say what you will about Google+ but the hangout feature brings something different to the table. From my perspective they are a great tool to increase engagement levels to your followers on Google+ and provide an alternative way of presenting new content. Recently the company I work for (Farfetch) celebrated it’s 5th Birthday and while we had an array of social promotions and content ideas one new route we decided to use was to host 5 Google+ hangouts.
I can’t say I came up with the ideas for the videos, that was someone in my team but the concept was to create 5 short hangouts in a “how to” style. The goals of running this campaign were to increase the number of followers and the engagement levels (in the form of +1′s, commenting and shares).
Here’s some tips from our experience of running these over the course of a week:
- Make sure you test your desired format beforehand, not every Google+ hangout is the same. You can host a discussion with your followers and public which is similar to an open forum. This format promotes good interaction by each participant, the drawback being it’s harder to moderate – there’s nothing stopping a member of the public going off the rails and spoiling the video
- We used Google+ Hangouts On Air, which allows you to invite a set number of people or specific circles. One person usually presents (on video or through screen sharing) and leads the hangout and others can watch – but can interact if you want them to
- It’s a good idea to use Google+ events as a way to help organise - this acts in the same way as a meeting invite in outlook but looks much more fancy. You can invite all those who you wish to attend and specify the times, dates and locations, from that each person will recieve an email invite as well as a Google+ alert, if they accept the invitation they will also receive reminders closer to the date. Once the day of your hangout arrives just post details on how people can view/join the hangout on the event page, you could even post the video directly in the event area and people can watch directly
- Buy a decent HD web cam, we bought the Microsoft Lifecam Cinema HD - it makes all the difference. It turns grainy video into quite crisp visuals which makes the recording look much more professional afterwards
- Ensure you have good wireless or internet connection, this is actually very important as if you have a bad connection it won’t matter what kind of webcam you have and the quality will suffer
- Lighting is also important, hosting a hangout in a well lit room will help improve the quality of the broadcast
- Before you start “Broadcasting” you can see all participants in a staging area beforehand – this gives you a good opportunity to set the ground rules i.e. mics off or questions at the end of the presentation etc
- You have around a 30-60 seconds delay from the moment you broadcast to when followers/the public can start watching the video
- Make sure your YouTube channel is linked to your Google+ account – once you’re connected and you’ve recorded your broadcast a version is automatically added to your YouTube channel – this can of course be shared on other social platforms if required
- Choose the title of your hangout carefully as Google ranks the content immediately i.e. out of the 5 videos we created 4 of them rank #1 for their titles in normal organic search
My only negative point on the experience is that once you’ve recorded your videos there doesn’t seem to be a way to track how many people watch the content, like normal YouTube videos. If anyone knows of a way I’d love to hear how?
We recorded the hangouts and you can view them here:
How to Make Pinata
How to Make a Chanel Cake Pop
How to Make the Perfect Cocktail
Top 5 Party Tracks with G FrSH
Top 5 Party Dressing Picks with Never Underdressed
About the author
My name is Matt Ridout, I've been working in digital marketing for 9 years; worked for agencies and currently Head of SEO at fashion startup called Farfetch. Try to test my own theories.