smb-tech-trendsNext time you want to get together with your small business customers, try doing it from the comfort and convenience of your office with a Google Hangout. The free tool, which is part of the Google + social media platform, enables you to hold a group conversation and, through the use of webcams, turn the session into a live video call with up to 10 participants if you choose. You also can share and capture photos, share your screen and message each other.

Google Hangouts also let you record your meeting or presentation so you can post it later to YouTube or your small business website (there’s a embed code for sharing). You also can stream live broadcasts from your Google+ page as well as YouTube and your website.

In addition to hosting Hangouts from your desktop, you use them on the go from your mobile devices. In either case, add a headset for improved audio and to cancel out background noises.

There are many ways that you can use Google Hangouts for your small business in addition to meeting with clients. Here are five:

Team collaboration:  Google Hangouts are particularly useful for getting your team together when some members are working remotely.  If someone wants to share a screen or a web page, all they need to do is push a button.  SMB_BigTrends_Video_Conf_WEB_Page_1

Training: Training is another area where Google Hangouts make it possible to get your team together wherever they are when they need to learn a new skill or get updates on new office procedures or technology.

Webinars: Google Hangouts provide a convenient forum to share your expertise in a webinar on a particular industry topic or showcase your products. You can make the webinar interactive by taking questions from participants. You can broadcast the webinar real-time or record and edit it for posting on YouTube later and then share it on your social media channels as part of your content marketing strategy.

Make an announcement: Use Google Hangouts to reach your customers and prospects about a new product or service or a major development affecting your small business – a merger or acquisition or expansion – and take questions. You can reach your targets across the country or even the globe.

New product input: If you are considering a new offering, Google Hangouts can be a great way to hold a brainstorm or input session with potential users or experts to get their feedback before you go into development.

Do you have other suggestions for ways to use Google Hangouts for your small business?

Help us get out the vote for 2013 Small Business Influencer Award

Vote-2013-125x125-red - Copy-4It’s an honor to be among the nominees for the 2013 Small Business Influencer Awards. Voting is underway and continues until September 9. You can vote daily until then.  We appreciate your vote!