So, why am I here talking about Google Plus Hangouts when I should be talking about bloggers using videos? (Besides the fact that Brad’s computer had the screen of death and our video production has been put on hold…)Well, because some bloggers that plan on using the Google+ Business Pages may have a leg up on other bloggers/PR/Customer Service people. Yes, an unfair advantage for those that are thinking ahead and keeping up with the times.
Yesterday it was announced that Google Plus will be rolling out Business Profiles. At this point they are limited to only people who have the Google Apps for Business. You can pop on over to Google+ Profiles for Business Apps are Here! to see the full article posted on Social Media Today.
Who is going to have an advantage? The bloggers who have familiarized themselves with Google Plus Hangouts and sitting in front of a web cam. While some people can just plug in their webcam or video cam and chat away…others of us really need to work on our skills. So, if you are one who already loves the camera, you may think I am crazy for what I am about to say….
Google Plus Hangouts Video Skills.
You may find that you have customers, clients or even readers that have questions and you want to be ready to do a “web cam conference” using Google Plus Hangouts. Face to Face (or as close as you can get) may be a great way to deal with issues a customer is having. You can walk them through a process and get “side” questions answered all at one time. Heck, you can even have a question and answer hangout for multiple affiliates at once. While in Google Plus Hangouts you can even pull up YouTube videos. That means you can watch a training video with them and be ready for any questions they have afterwards. Google Plus Hangouts is a goldmine for Internet Marketers.
Here are a few things to check BEFORE you get a surprise request for a Google+ Hangout….
- Do you have a web cam that works? My (elderly by tech standards) webcam worked but, I found that I had to have it plugged in when I booted my machine. If I tried to plug it in after booting, I got nothing.
- Does the mic on your webcam and the external mic you may use for Skype or other things cause issues? This is an issue I had and it was simply that the 2 mics had a problem battling each other. You can adjust which cam and mic you use in Google Plus Hangout’s settings. Depending on what type of webcam you have you may also be able to adjust the settings there.
- Do you have any quick lighting? I am not talking about big fancy umbrella lights. I am talking about a room light or lamp that can be turned on so you are not just showing a black screen on your cam. I sit in what you may consider a dungeon and the people in the hangout with me would not see my face at all without a light being turned on. Your cam setting may also allow you to lighten or darken the picture so check those out in different situations.
- Is your cam’s position and focus adjusted to where it shows your face from where you have it sitting or attached? If you grabbed me in a fast hangout and I didn’t think about it, you would see the back of a monitor from my webcam view. It doesn’t sit in a convenient place so; it spends its “off time” tossed behind a monitor and out of the way. Sure it only takes a second to pull it out and place it but I am sure the focus would be a bit wack.
- What is also in your cams view? While many people will know and understand that you might be working at home, that doesn’t mean that others will be as accepting. What type of business you have may be a big part as to how people view and accept your surroundings. Either way, you will want to take a look at the wall behind you and decide if there are pictures of things you may not want everyone to see in camera shots. I am not just talking about that picture of your husband at the beach in a Speedo. Some of you may have family pictures that you would rather not share with the world. These may be things as innocent as pics of your kids, your dog, your vacation house, or a mirror that may throw a glare.
- Do you have an easy to grab shirt? While most of us probably don’t sit around topless all day, some of you might. Ok, even if you aren’t nekked you may be setting in a ragged old shirt that you wouldn’t even want your neighbors to see you in. If you are in a business where people expect to see you in a nice button up shirt…just keep one at the front of your closet handy. Ladies, if your camera points down at you…you may want to do a cleavage check or have a “less showie” shirt handy (sorry guys, I know this piece of advice may have just spoiled your day).
- Is your hair and makeup ready? Yeah ok, I know nothing about this stuff. My hair is always pulled back (or under a hat) and I don’t know where my makeup is…
So there are a few things you will want to check out and have ready BEFORE you see that “You’re Invited to a hangout” type message pop up. There is no problem in telling someone you need 5 minutes before you can meet them but they may not want to wait around while you do all of the above.
My suggestion is to find a friend or fellow blogger and try Google Plus Hangouts. Tell them ahead of time why you would like to meet with them so they can be ready to help with visual and audio testing on their end.
By the way, Google+ hangouts can be used now by anyone with an account so there is no need to wait for business pages if you are in a business that doesn’t depend on business brand backing or permission to meet with current and future clients.