I’ve used chat programs for many years… ICQ, AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, MSN Messenger, Windows LIVE Messenger, and Google Talk, just to name a few. Google Hangouts is also a chat program, but it is oh so much more! Google Hangouts is now a full-fledged business tool and if you aren’t using it at least on some level, then I think you are missing out. So what types of features do Google Hangouts have?
Well, when you are inside the Google Hangout window you can…
• Text chat
• Group video chat with up to 10 people
• View websites together
• View YouTube videos together
• Edit Google Docs together
• Share files with each other from Google Drive
• Share your screen with others to demonstrate something
• Record the video meetings
• Automatically publish the recordings to YouTube
And so now the question is… what types of things can you use Google Hangouts for? The good news is that there are a ton of individuals and businesses who are already using Google Hangouts for many things, so you don’t have to blaze a trail here. You can go see what others are doing and even participate in some Hangouts to see how others are using it. But here is my list of the 8 ways you can use Google Hangouts. There are surely more than this, but these are the things that I think are pretty obvious:
1. Meeting with your team – This is especially useful if your team is geographically separated. You can collaborate on documents, see and talk with each other, share files, view videos, etc. Sometimes, a phone call or an email just won’t do. You need face-time. Google Hangouts can give you that, up to 10 people.
2. Product demos – If you want to demonstrate a product you could publicize a regularly scheduled Hangout and make sure that one of your staff is there to do the demonstration. Using the screen share feature, your customers can at the very least watch you do whatever it is you want to show them.
3. Press conferences – If you have an announcement to make, instead of just sending written press releases to media outlets, let them know that you are going to hold a press conference in Google Hangouts. This could be espcially useful during events that may be happening which are of a critical nature.
4. Private consulting with customers – I use this all the time to meet with my customers. Google Hangouts can be made invitation-only, so you can have a private meeting with them that only the participants can participate in.
5. Webinars – Deliver training with Google Hangouts. Even though you can only have 10 video participants, you can have as many people as you want to view the Hangout and use the chat feature to ask questions.
6. LIVE customer service – Why not provide some face-time for your customers who just have a question or need to resolve a problem? As previously mentioned, you can have a private session, or you can make it public so others can watch while you deliver awesome customer service!
7. Interviewing subject matter experts – One way of providing neat content for your constituents is to record an interview with someone interesting, smart, or helpful. For example, if you run a landscaping business then use Hangouts to record a weekly interview with a gardening expert to help your customers learn how to take better care of their gardens.
8. Interviewing job candidates – Instead of trying to fly all your job candidates in for interviews, you can at the very least hold initial interviews with Google Hangouts so that multiple people from your team can participate and evaluate the candidates.
So there you go. 8 ways you can use Google Hangouts. I am sure you have even thought of your own, so post it in the comments below!