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Being able to talk to your team, current customers, or potential customers on a video platform is a great resource to have but not if it costs so much that you blow your technology budget each month.
If you’re a small business, there’s an option you can use that’s absolutely free and it’s brought to you by your friends at Google. Google Hangouts is a free conferencing platform that allows up to 10 people to video conference at once. Hangouts also allows for messaging and voice-only communications in addition to its video platform but let’s focus on the video feature.
If you’re not sure how you would use Hangouts for your business, here are a few ideas to get started.
Most truly small businesses only have a few employees—often under 10 until their company grows. This makes Hangouts perfect for bringing all employees together if they’re not all local, some are virtual, or in different offices. Scheduling a monthly or weekly call with your employees creates a team environment even if they’re not all in an office together. You can set the tone for the week, give some shout-outs to employees that went above and beyond since your last call, set goals, and introduce new products, policies, or team members.
Don’t underestimate the power of a video call for your team. An e-mail is good but actually talking and seeing them is even better!
RELATED: How to Get Started with Google Hangouts
Everybody loves to learn so why not conduct a webinar? You have a bank of knowledge that others want to hear. Maybe you’re a home improvement expert, an accountant, or a dog trainer. Whatever your profession, you have customers who rely on your knowledge so why not give them more of it? Invite 9 other people to your webinar. Give them the topic ahead of time and, of course, tell them to invite their friends.
No need to make it super salesy. In fact, you don’t want to do that at all. Just focus on giving to your customers without asking anything in return. Establishing yourself as an authority that cares enough about people to give to them for free will produce sales over time. Gone are the days when you could hard sell your way to success all of the time.
RELATED: 6 Tips to Produce a Successful Webinar
Interview an Expert
You’re smart but there are others in your field that might specialize in an area that you don’t. Bring them in and interview them as part of your Hangout. Maybe ask for questions from people that will attend the event and allow them to ask questions at the end. Once again, this is a way to give to current and potential customers in a low-stress environment that doesn’t make them feel like they’re having the hard-sell put on them.
Find Quality Talent
Small businesses don’t have an HR department. You, as the owner, aren’t in a position where you can spend a lot of time scouring the Internet or your community looking for the best talent and then going through a lengthy interview process.
How about using Google Hangouts? Invite people to a Hangout where you will talk about the position, how to apply, and things you’re looking for from the applicants. Then, ask for questions. This not only allows them to meet you but more importantly, you meet them without having to conduct personal interviews. You may find that some of them aren’t right for the company and you won’t have to spend time interviewing them. Others might really stand out.
Launch a Product
Want to create some hype about your product or service launch? Do it with a Hangout. Invite some of your best customers to attend as you talk about your new product or service and why it fits them so well. You might have to offer a little enticement to get people to attend your Hangout so be armed with free samples, coupons, or other incentives.
Partner with Others
Is there somebody in your industry that’s already hosting Hangouts regularly? Maybe you’re not the type to talk on camera but you would love to sponsor somebody else’s Hangout in exchange for some free exposure. Talk to the person. They’ll most likely be happy to do that.
If you haven’t used video conferencing to connect with your employees or customers, now’s the time to try. Studies show that people respond to video better than other types of media and you’re keenly aware of the age-old wisdom that people like to do business with people they like. What better way to create meaningful relationships than by using Google Hangouts. And who can beat the price!?!?
And if you grow out of Hangouts, other platforms like GoToMeeting have plans that start at $29 per month but you’ll most likely be just fine with Hangouts for quite a while.
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