We all know YouTube has its share of amazing “shows” where individuals have taken their webcam and turned themselves into superstars. Now, there’s a new wave of “hosts” coming on board, and they’re using Google+ Hangouts On-Air (HOA’s) to create a ton of exposure, not just for themselves, but for their guests as well.
If you are personable, know something about something, and can look into a webcam, you should be participating in Google+ Hangouts On Air. They are fantastic for personal brand exposure, let’s break down the reasons:
There’s a Hangout On-Air for everybody
Google Plus HOA’s are run by many popular users with loyal follower bases, and they really run the gamut on topics. For example:
- Larry Fournillier hosts Learning How to Cook Caribbean where he presents cooking with a twist.
- Mia Voss hosts The Mia Connect Power Chat which covers anything and everything related to social media, in a very high-energy, fun fashion.
- Chef Dennis Littley hosts Good Day Google+, a talk show of sorts where guests talk about a variety of topics, most of which are related to Google+.
- Jason T. Wiser hosts On Track Tips, which is a combination HOA and podcast show about online strategies.
- Denise Wakeman hosts Adventures in Visibility, a fantastic show that helps bloggers and online entrepreneurs gain more visibility for their web presence.
- I host Google+ Business Spotlight, a weekly spotlight on how different types of businesses are using Google+.
…as well as shows about SEO, tech, books, gaming, interior design, you name it.
To find a topic, just type the keyword into Google+ search, then at the top, under the “More” tab, select “Events”. Clicking on an event will take you to the page, where you can RSVP “Yes” and the event will automatically be added to your calendar.
Hangouts On-Air are promoted before, during and after
Well-run shows have a complete system in place for promotion before, during, and after the show. Nearly every host will set up a Google Plus Event page as the “hub” for the show. The broadcast exists on their YouTube channel as well, which also means it can be embedded into a web page, on Facebook, tweeted, you name it. But the best way to build a buzz for a show is to center it around a Google Plus Event.
Most hosts have email lists which get notified before, and even after, an event (for the replay).
Most shows have a blog post to complement them. You can get a fantastic template for one from Joan Stewart of The Publicity Hound if you want to do a writeup of your guest appearance for your own blog. And to understand how all the pieces come together for supercharged visibility, read Denise Wakeman’s recap of one of her Adventure in Visibility hangouts.
I have a Pinterest board, two, actually; one of HOA’s that I am appearing on each week, as well as a main board for the Google+ Business Spotlight show. Several hosts of HOA’s have banned together to create group Pinterest boards, tribes on Triberr, and other distribution mechanisms to get the word out about each other’s shows.
Also, the host isn’t the only one to promote the HOA. The viewers and fan base they’ve built typically share the event page and YouTube video before, during and after the event.
Once the show is over, many hosts will run through all the people who participated in comments, shares, etc. and put them into a Google+ Circle (like a Twitter list), which they will then share to their profile so anybody can follow them. Much like posting the attendee list of everybody who came to a social event.
All of this promotion can have a big impact on the guest’s exposure across Google Plus. Below is a follower count graph for a user who was relatively new to Google Plus, discovered a HOA where she participated in the comments (earning her a place in a shared circle), and then subsequently appeared as a guest on Mia Voss’s The Mia Connect Power Chat. Take a look at how her follower count continues to rise after the event is over, because of the exposure she received by actually being on the show. In other words, people got to know her, and added her to their circles because of who she was, and how she connected with everyone around the show that day.
A Hangout On-Air guest’s hovercard appears in high-visibility areas on Google+
A hovercard is like a “digital business card” for a social network, we see them primarily on Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. The Google+ hovercard appears in over 20 locations across Google+ and other Google properties, making it arguably one of the most important parts of your profile to optimize.
When you are a part of a HOA, your profile gets tons of exposure via +mentions (tags), which trigger the hovercard to pop up and tell people what you’re all about. They can also add you to their circles right on the spot. This is a huge opportunity to build a footprint of backlinks to your profile, too. You can bank on being +mentioned on, at minimum:
- The event description (especially useful for exposure before the event)
- The event comments as viewers talk about you
- Shares of the YouTube video or Google+ posts recapping the event
- YouTube comments that get published as Google+ posts
- The auto-post mentioned above has a special feature that shows who participated in the HOA, people who share that specific post also pass along a way for your name, and hovercard, to appear alongside the video.
Tip: Be sure to respond to everybody who has +mentioned you after your event. Being active in comments shows that you are appreciative of that person spreading the word, and builds brand equity for you as you build new relationships with followers.
Hangouts On-Air are incredibly social
We’re talking about getting exposure for your personal brand by participating in HOA’s, but in reality this concept of guest appearances on internet-based shows has been around a while. They have just been in audio format as podcasts and internet radio, which are still a fantastic way to get the word out, since podcast shows may have larger audiences.
But, there are distinct advantages of HOA’s over podcast or internet radio shows:
- HOA’s have a social element that an audio-only show can’t replicate. We can see the participants. We can comment and interact live with the host, and even see our question brought up into the video. The face-to-face interaction builds trust.
- The replay lives on YouTube, the second-largest search engine in the world (and also owned by Google).
- Blog owners love to embed videos onto their websites, as it boosts the time-on-site which can have a positive impact on SEO. The blog post will also get put into distribution networks for people outside Google+ and YouTube to see the video.
Hopefully by now you see how valuable appearing on HOA’s can be for your personal brand. Interested in throwing your hat into the HOA ring? The best suggestion is to watch and participate in event comments first. Get a handle for how the host runs their show, and what you could offer them as a guest. Do a few test-run videos of yourself to get your lighting and audio right. Then, assuming the host doesn’t have a process for requesting an appearance, send them a private message on Google+ and ask. Remember, to have a successful show, the host needs to be consistent. You could be just the guest they needed!
In fact, the website hoashows.com has a form you can fill out to put your name in to be a guest on someone’s show that is listed in their directory!
BONUS: Jimmie Lanley has created two outstanding articles about HOA’s. I encourage you to give them a read if these are at all of interest to you, either as a host or a guest.