The following is an interview with myself. That’s right, I am talking to myself in this blog post. Why? To be honest, an interview-style format is the best fit for how I want to convey the strategy and methods behind my Hangouts on Air show, Google+ Business Spotlight. The show follows a blueprint that bestselling author, David Amerland, serendipitously lays out in his latest book, Google+ Hangouts for Business (Que Publishing, 2014). I say serendipitously because my show, and that of many others, have helped shape the best practices for effective Google+ Hangouts on Air. As Amerland says in his book, Google launched Hangouts quietly, in that they left it up to us, the community, to figure out the best ways to use the technology. Individuals, marketers, and big brands all got creative, and from that, we have learned what works and what doesn’t work with respect to using Hangouts in business and marketing:
- Private communities, like Ronnie Bincer’s Hangout Mastery, exist to learn the technical side of Hangouts on Air (HOA) production.
- Collaborative communities, some public, some private, bring together other show hosts to pool resources, support each other, and brainstorm.
- Hangouts, the chat and video portion, are used extensively between creators.
- Apps arose that extend the technology and its application, and increase production value.
Of course, hundreds of blog posts and tutorials on everything under the sun about Hangouts. And of late, some case studies showcasing brands using Google+ Hangouts…but none from show hosts, so I’m going to be the first.
Why did you start the Google+ Business Spotlight show?
To build brand authority around my core competence, which was helping brands use Google+ creatively and strategically. Showcasing companies large and small would help other business owners get ideas and tips for using Google+. As the dot connector (I brought the tips and stories to them through my show), I build brand equity and top of mind awareness with respect to Google+ and Business.
Talk about the framework for the show and its marketing.
I admit there are hosts who do more than I do when it comes to marketing. But, we recently re-launched the show as its own entity. Doing this offers the following basic assets in a centralized location for our audience:
All the distribution (Triberr, Pinterest, etc.) along with the content that we can create on those channels can then be pushed out by our entire audience from one central location. As a central entity, the show also does not have to compete with a profile for attention and share of stream. In other words, I don’t have to feel hesitant to share posts about my show for fear of being overly promotional on my profile. Which means I can share more content about upcoming guests, to give them more opportunities to connect with our audience (this was also illustrated in David’s book).
So the show is run as a Google+ Page, does that impact your personal brand authority?
No. In fact, it increases my personal authority on Google+ and Business. The high concentration of content related to the terms Google+ and Business on that page make it very authoritative for those terms. The Google+ page is verified with the associated website, which talks about nothing except Google+ and Business. I have Authorship for all the articles on the website. Lastly, the social signals surrounding the page’s Google+ posts, YouTube videos, and web page activity (tweets, likes, pins) are semantically relevant to the subject matter. If you’re sharing +GPLUSSPOTLIGHT content, you’re talking about Google+ and Business, period. Unlike a share from a profile which could be about anything.
RELATED: Google+ Pro Tips: Strategies for Posting and Sharing on Google+(Kindle edition, Chapter 7)
Like I said, it’s highly concentrated, more so than having a category on this blog which is about all aspects of web strategy.
Since making the switch to a dedicated channel, what results have you seen?
The response has been very validating to say the least. Our dedicated email list grows, our response rate (RSVP’s) to the events is higher, and we know that anyone who circles the page is interested in this show.
Speaking of which, a dedicated page adds an element of scarcity to the show, in that following my co-host Ben Fisher or myself doesn’t guarantee you will see information about the show. Following the page, however, and opting in to the Invite Circle, will ensure you receive timely notifications. I would also recommend that followers add the page to a circle that notifies them of every post.
RELATED: Google+ Pro Tips: Strategies for Managing Your Google+ Circles (Kindle edition)
Down the road, that could make for interesting partnership or prospecting opportunities, since my co-host, Ben Fisher, and I both make a living through Google+ consulting services.
Are there any other benefits to a Google+ Page versus running your show as a Profile?
In a word, coordination. Ben, myself, and any support staff that we may bring on in the future to help with marketing and event setup, can log in as the page and manage aspects of the show. To give you an idea of what’s involved with a show like ours, we need these assets to happen at about the same time, each week:
- YouTube thumbnail graphic
- Blog header graphic
- Event trailer video
- Blog post (it starts as an introduction, the recap is added after the event)
- Google+ Event page
- Email announcement with links to G+ Event page, blog, Pinterest, and YouTube
The rest of the tasks for each show include:
- Circle management
- Media kit updates & performance analysis
- Prospective guest coordination
- Show recaps for the blog
- Microcontent to highlight our guest’s content during the week before the show
- Other email announcements and reminders
- List building content
- Cross-platform monitoring
- Live participation in the comments as the brand page during the event
So you see, having a page allows us to split up resources but keep everything in a central place.
Wow, that’s a lot of work. What advice would you give to a business thinking about starting a Google Hangout show?
First, read David’s book. Seriously, it has a systematic blueprint for what goes into a successful production that will have a long-lasting effect on building your brand equity. You may or may not employ everything he suggests (I know there are things we are missing in our show), but you can identify your strategy. Strategy is critical, as you can see, this is no small feat, you want to make the most efficient use of your time.
Second, become very familiar with Hangouts. Be a guest before you are a host. Run tests with friends and colleagues. Practice a lot. And get good equipment, as David suggests in his book.
Lastly, watch television. Pay attention to the news anchors and “talking heads” on any show with a panel. Pick up on the way they look at the camera, their voice inflections, how they sit. All those little things add an element of polish that will make you stand out. You are fighting the biggest attention battle of your life each show, it has to be entertaining and personable, but polished, to have the greatest impact on your audience.
And the bigger the impact on your audience, the greater the equity your brand builds using Google+ Hangouts.