Google+. A lot of bloggers I know roll their eyes when I utter the name of this social network. Lacking the friends and family network that Facebook offers, and the ‘cool’ factor that Twitter boasts, Google+ is often seen as ‘that social networking I go on once a month when I get a notification’.
There are a bunch of reasons why Google+ is worth going on if you’re a blogger though (Social Media Today have a great article summing them up). But I’m here to talk about the best bit of Google+. The fun bit. The bit you won’t find on other social networks.
The best way I can describe a G+ Hangout is that it’s like Skype, but you can have a video chat with up to ten people – and it’s FREE. And you can wear virtual hats/beards/bow ties and use a bundle of sound effects. You can choose between having a private Google+ Hangout, or a public one (called Google+ Hangout Live) which streams live to your YouTube channel and then saves there afterwards.
The great thing about Google+ Hangouts is that you don’t have to faff about with editing it (most people expect the odd blip with a hangout), so it’s instant content! They tend to be more relaxed, and a great way to create video content if you’re new to it.
Still not sure what I’m chatting about? Here are three examples:
- Google+ quick overview httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohlHn6Kt5YM
- A Muppets Hangout httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hof5nlozAxU
- And a Blognix hangout! httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC6QJ9TvkeE
So, how can you use it? Below are five suggestions
Private catch ups
Hangouts don’t have to be streamed live to YouTube. Quite often, I’ll have a little catch up with friends/bloggers over a private Google+ Hangout. As Hangouts and Google Chat are integrated now, it’s not uncommon for me to be text chatting with a friend, then decide to jump on a video chat with them.
Interviews are always a great asset for a blog, and video interviews are even better! Know of someone interesting to your viewers, who could spare 30 minutes to jump on Google+? Then all you have to do is create the event on Google+, and tell people about it. As it streams live to YouTube, you can see comments as they’re left on your video live, which means you can get your viewers to be the interviewers. You could also cherry pick two or three to join you in the hangout and feed in questions.
Got skills? Want to showcase them? Do a tutorial on Hangouts. So, say you’re a skilled crocheter. You could invite other crocheters to have a crochet-a-long (I’ve said it too much, ‘crochet’ is no longer a word to me). Actually, the cupcake example from Google above is probably the better example. ‘Get ready with me’ videos are hugely popular on YouTube at the moment, so why not turn it into a Hangout before you go out? It’s a great way to get together with others to do something together, especially if you live far away from each other.
Want to get together with other bloggers to chat all things bloggy? Get on a Hangout! You can have up to 10 people in the hangout (and unlimited numbers watching if you make it live). And y’know what? The UK is lagging behind the USA for decent group hangouts, so let your imagination go wild here. And when you’ve completed your Hangout, you can download the sound from YouTube and turn it into a Podcast. Easy peasy!
Are you a professional blogger? Do you run a business from your blog? Over on my blog, I offer consultations to people who want to either go freelance or up their freelance business. 90% of these consultations are done over Google+ Hangouts, or Skype. I prefer Google+ Hangouts, because I can import documents from Google Drive, and use a ton of other apps and tools within it.