This is the Google+ Monday edition of the Daily Golden Nugget. Each Monday this year, I've been explaining different aspects of Google+ and how they can be used in the jewelry industry, and today I'm going to tell you about Google+ Hangouts.
The "Hangout" is Google's live conferencing system that incorporates chat messaging, video conferencing, and even telephone calls. Even though it includes all three methods, it's the video Hangout that has grown most popular. No other social network has a video conferencing system like this.
The video Hangout is incorporated into several areas of Google+ already, and I bet that more options are already in the works.
Video Hangouts are most often used in these ways:
1. Initiate an immediate video chat with up to 10 people.
2. Schedule an online event where you can have up to 10 people participating on video, 10 people connected via telephone, and up to 100 people watching.
3. Schedule a "Hangout On Air" that works just like a webinar, or a TV talk show. 10 people are able to participate in the video conversation and an unlimited number of people can watch.
4. Activate an immediate Hangout On Air between yourself and up to 9 other people.
Using Hangouts for yourself is only limited to your imagination. There's a new sector of internet experts that call themselves "Hangout Helpers" who provide training on using Hangouts, and then serve as producers during your Hangout events.
Types of Hangouts
Google+ offers two different types of Hangouts. The normal Hangout is initiated between you and up to 9 other participants. Others can watch if they are invited to it. These normal Hangouts are not recorded. It's like live television that's not recorded.
Then there's the Hangout On Air, or HOA for short. This is a live broadcast that the public can normally see. The HOA is available to watch on YouTube and Google+ at the time of the broadcast. The HOA is also recorded into your YouTube channel where future viewers can also watch it.
Once you dabble with the HOA you'll see how easy it would be to start your own internet show. Many people are already using this technology to broadcast their own weekly "TV" show, with reruns available on demand through YouTube.
As a retail jeweler you might think that there's no use for this video chat system, but there are plenty of reasons and ways for you to use it. Here are some uses that I've already used with jewelers, jewelry designers, and other people in the jewelry industry...
1. New Jewelry Demos
Jewelry manufacturers and designers can initiate Hangouts privately with retail jewelers to show their latest styles. I doubt this will every fully replace the need for retailers to attend trade shows, but the opportunities here are very exciting. Deborah Hecht with V-by.com has shown me how the techniques she's using with her video conferencing can be implemented with Google+ Hangouts using 2 different cameras within the Hangout.
2. Meet the Designer
Social media is supposed to be about engagement. Imagine how lucky your customers would feel if they had the chance to ask questions directly to a jewelry designer. As a retail jeweler, you could schedule an event and invite your customer to watch and ask questions. This would help establish a personal connection between the designer and the people wearing the jewelry.
If this concept seems strange then think of it as your own jewelry talk show where you invite a designer on for a 15 minute question and answer segment.
3. Designing Custom Jewelry
Designing jewelry takes a lot of creativity, and there's a lot of creative new technology that's helping this area of the jewelry industry blossom. I've already seen iPhone apps that allow designers to share CAD renderings with customers. Those rendering could be moved around in a 360 degree space and zoomed in and out. My own company has a custom design website module to facilitate the process of ordering and paying for a custom design through a website.
Using Hangouts, you can now do a live sketch with a customer and get their feedback without ever needing to meet them in person. You can then take the next step and show that customer the 3D model from your computer screen and get direct feedback. The video hangout is certainly a more personal touch than simply emailing images back and forth with telephone calls.
4. Consulting & Training
There's no shortage of consultants and coaches in the jewelry industry. When was the last time you hired one to help you improve your business? On-site consultations can be very expensive, and sometimes it's difficult to get a lot of value from a telephone consultation with a coach or consultant. I see a new wave of consultants and coaches inviting your to join them in a private video conference that can be recorded through Google+ Hangouts.
My own company is already providing one-on-one consultations using the HOA technology. Even though the typical HOA is assumed to be a public event, you can, in fact, invite a single person to participate. The HOA is recorded and then shared privately with that single client after the coaching session is over. The client is able to refer back to the video again and again as a business training refresher.
5. Weekly Jewelry Show
I already mentioned that many people are producing a weekly HOA show. With a little practice, you could also create your own jewelry show. It doesn't have to be long. Every week, you could demonstrate something different about jewelry repairs, show the latest inventory you have in your store, and talk about upcoming events.
Invite your customers to watch it live so they can ask questions, but they can also watch the show on demand through YouTube if they miss it.
After a while you'll develop your own following of jewelry fans. This would build your social buzz and lead to business growth.
6. Shoppable Hangouts
This is a bonus mention that's still in a closed beta at the time I wrote this. Google is experimenting with the ability to turn a HOA into a vehicle where a jeweler could should a bunch of products and link people directly from the Hangout video to a website where they can purchase right then and there. Think of this as Google's answer to the Home Shopping Network and QVC. I don't know when this will be available to the public, but I do expect it before the end of 2014.
Where to go from here...
There's a ton of information available to help you get started with Hangouts. In fact there's so much that I'm wondering if you'll even bother reading this Nugget at all.
First, I'd like to introduce you to David Amerland. He's an accomplished author of SEO and social media books. His latest eBook is called Google+ Hangout for Business.
Next, take a look at the posts, education, and communities created by Martin Shervington. Check out Martin's website www.plusyourbusiness.com if you want a faster track into Google+ than the basics I'm giving you every Monday.
Te combined information available from these gentlemen far exceeds what I've provided so far, but it's not jewelry industry specific. Please let me know if you would like me to produce a set of specific Google+ Hangout training from a jewelry industry point of view. Just contact me thought any of the social networks, just search for my name, Matthew Perosi.
[Please note: As always, the recommendations provided through jwag.biz are not solicited or paid. Links and recommendations made within each Daily Golden Nugget are done so because I feel they will truly benefit the readers here without financially benefiting myself. Therefore, my links proudly pass PageRank. My financial benefit comes from consulting services rather than paid blogging. Oh, and I do benefit a tiny bit by the Google AdSense you see on this site. I made about $177 in 2013 from AdSense.]