5 Examples of Brands Using Google Plus Hangouts

google_plus_hangout_logoIn the digital world where user interaction plays an increasingly larger role in marketing, it’s crucial for brands to reach out to consumers. While some brands interact via a tweet or a Facebook post, Google Plus Hangouts has struck a chord with users.

The low costs of Google Plus Hangouts – often available free for a simple production – coupled with the high level of user engagement make live Hangouts a killer innovation. Hangouts save brands the money of planning and executing a live event while increasing their potential reach with an online audience.

These five examples of major brands using Google Plus Hangouts provide important lessons that marketers should consider for their next campaign.

1. Glamour Magazine

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Glamour Magazine is taking advantage of Google Hangouts to engage their fans in ways that print can’t. This Hangout campaign by Glamour features staffers, online personalities, and brands.

Each Hangout is sponsored by companies such as Suave, Pantene, or SlimFast. Throughout the live broadcast, the sponsor’s products are subtly promoted or become the topic of discussion.

So aside from touching on topics that are of interest to viewers, Glamour Magazine is able to monetize the videos through product placements. However, since these product placements are part of the story, viewers are more engaged than they would be with a flat-out advertisement. It’s a win-win for both parties.

Furthermore, the featuring of guests and personalities in each video makes each Hangout unique from the last, while allowing Glamour the opportunity to take advantage of that personality’s existing fan base.

For brands thinking of using Google Hangouts in the future, consider collaborating with related businesses, brands, or personalities, to grow your audience and fan base. According to Gretchen Howard, the head of sales and online strategy for Google Plus, Glamour is the first brand to use product placements in a Hangout.

2. New York Times

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While the New York Times consistently uses Google Hangouts, one of their most notable moments comes from 2012, when they hosted Hangouts with Olympic athletes.

Aside from discussing the athletic events in London, the New York Times gave full power of the Hangouts to the viewers. The Hangouts allowed users to submit questions for the Olympic athletes to answer during the live broadcast.

This level of user engagement excites consumers. How often do you get to have a question answered by an Olympic athlete? By encouraging user interaction instead of simply conducting a live interview, the New York Times was able to continue building a loyal following for their Hangout series.

Also notice how the NYT embedded the recording of the Hangout onto their website. This ensures that viewers still get to see the content once the broadcast ends.

3. Dell

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If technology is innovative, then so is its customer service! Dell has already hosted more than 50 Hangouts, most of which were focused on customer service, and allowed viewers to troubleshoot any technical problems with an official Dell consumer sales group.

Aside from Hangouts that covered customer service, Dell used some broadcasts to focus on specific issues such as virtualization and cloud computing. By hosting Hangouts that appealed to both general and specific problems, Dell was able to attract both mainstream and very technologically savvy users.

Since customer service usually revolves around an individual issue per customer, brands should learn from Dell and their ability to relate to all viewers watching the broadcast regardless of the topic discussed.

4. National Geographic

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To celebrate their 125th anniversary, National Geographic decided to host a live Google Hangout.

This example has two main lessons for marketers.

First, a little creativity goes a long way! Similar to the previous examples, National Geographic had guests during their broadcast. What makes this creative, however, is that each of the guests was from a different continent, ensuring that all 7 continents celebrated the anniversary of National Geographic. This not only increased the potential reach of the audience, but showcased creative planning on the part of the producers.

Second, while many brands upload the full live recording of the Hangout to their websites, National Geographic edited it. While the live broadcast was certainly an hour long (maybe more!), the embedded version available for viewing is only 15 minutes long.

By editing out fluff content, brands can keep users engaged even after the live broadcast. Remember, any lulls in the conversation during a live broadcast are natural, but in a recorded upload, they slow the momentum and bore the viewer.

5. G+ Food Bloggers Community

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Chefs were some of the earliest adapters of Google Plus Hangouts, using the broadcasts to showcase cooking techniques on the air. What makes their recipe demonstrations so unique is that unlike edited television, the chefs show viewers how they can prepare and cook food in real-time. The recipes vary from the simplest snacks to gourmet courses.

Brands inspired by the Chef’s Round Table should use Hangouts for demonstrations. Hangouts that focus on demonstrations work well because they allow you to show the audience how to accomplish a goal – viewers are receiving something of value when they watch for free.

Demonstrations also compel viewers to act, which, in many cases, is making a purchase. Aside from broadcasting a demonstration, consider using a moderator to help keep the pace rolling along.

By implementing the lessons from these brands into your next Google Hangout, you’ll be one step closer to fully igniting your social media presence.

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