By Andy Nathan at Web Designer Depot:
Google Hangouts have been at the heart of some of the hottest video conferencing technologies since it first debuted as part of Google+ several years ago. The Hangouts’ technology creates a dynamic place to engage your social network through video, chat, and other applications. Let’s uncover how to use this unique video conferencing system from Google as an attendee, and as a host.
If you are interested in creating professional connections through Google+, then you need to attend the various Google+ Hangouts. These hangouts are an excellent place to connect with other entrepreneurs, designers, and techies.
Find a good Hangout
Check out Google Hangout and Google Events to discover Hangouts that are of interest to you. The hangouts and events are listed on the left of your Google+ Page, on the side menu.
Another way to find relevant Google Hangouts is to join the Google Hangouts On Air Community. The community has over 8,000 members that are constantly posting new Hangouts.
Get there early
Google+ Hangouts are video conferencing events. For users with free accounts, the first nine people can be on video; for hosts with pro accounts that goes up to the first fifteen people. Everyone else can only interact with the Hangout via the chat or watch on YouTube. This is still worth doing, but the bigger benefit lies in joining a group of people to talk with on the video Hangout.
Be prepared to speak
If you join the hangout through video conferencing, you might have to actually talk a bit about the topic. While this might be terrifying to some, keep in mind that you cannot make connections sitting on the sidelines. The most profitable connections come from engaging with others online, not randomly submitting updates.
Google+ Hangouts are great for networking events
The social media community I run on Google+ has a monthly Google+ Hangout where the community members can gather to connect. We treat this as a regular offline-networking event, where everyone gets a chance to do their 30 second introductions, and then we discuss some social media challenge we are all facing together.
Not everyone will attend, but the people who do attend get a kick out of talking to each other through the video conferencing system.
Finding the hangout through the community is a little challenging. They place the live hangout link on the sidebar of the community underneath all the members. Unfortunately, they do not allow you to share a hangout link as a post, which would be more visible to members.
Use Google+ Hangouts for interviews and podcasts
What if you need to do a video or audio recording with someone, but do not have webinar or recording software? Google’s instant recording software is available to you free. This is great when you need to do interviews, screen shares, and video presentations. Afterwards, YouTube has your video saved for easy use.
Use Google+ Hangouts on Air (HoA) to do webinars from your website
This might surprise you, but with the technology available with Google’s HoA through YouTube, you can embed a video on your website and turn your hangout into a live webinar. We actually tested this during a recent hangout and everything went very smoothly.
There was a bit of a delay running the webinar through WordPress, however, WordPress is ideal for merging these technologies. You can now add WordPress plugins for chat boxes, social sharing, and any products you want to sell directly on the webinar page.
Google Hangouts is a technology that has the potential to re-define how people connect on the internet. It takes away the already outdated notion people can no longer develop quality relationships online. The tools are here to help you create the experience you want to develop with your prospects, clients, and referral partners.