Google+ Hangouts: Give Your Conferences a Longer Life

The social-media-based videoconferencing platform offers ample opportunities to stretch your event's budget and reach.

Nothing beats face-to-face communication. Unfortunately, not everybody is working from the same location nowadays. Programs like GoToMeeting and Skype have attempted to make videoconferencing easier for the telecommuting workplace environment, but there’s always room for glitches.

Google+ Hangouts have been gaining momentum in the meetings and conferences sphere due to their capabilities and ease of use. Google+ members can invite other members to join a session, record the conversation, and then give it feet by posting it on YouTube or writing a blog post about the meetup.

Here are some ways organizations have used Google+ Hangouts:

A warm welcome: The International Franchise Association recently hosted a Hangout welcoming first-time convention attendees. The event allowed the association to connect face-to-face with its members, without having to travel or use other networking means to begin a relationship with them. “Being able to see who you are talking to helps reinforce the relationship you have with that person, or helps you build a relationship faster. Seeing their face will make it easier to connect with them online in other social networks,” writes Jennifer MacDonald, director of community and client engagement at the software company Engage121.

Lengthy lifespan: Hangouts are recorded and can be uploaded to your association’s YouTube channel and shared via social networks. Momentum blog copywriter Victoria Fields highlights the long-term benefits of hosting and recording a Hangout. “Google Hangout has videoconferencing capabilities with recording and production build in, so you can do a hangout tutorial with a client or business partner and automatically save the video on your YouTube account, hassle free,” Fields says. President Barack Obama hosted a Google+ “Fireside Hangout” after the State of the Union to address citizen concerns about his proposed plan for 2013. The Hangout was uploaded to the White House’s YouTube channel (shown above) and now has more than 111,000 views.

Everyone’s invited: Some organizations hold Google+ Hangouts for, well, anyone who wants to participate. They promote the session’s date and time and wait for people to join the conversation. Hangouts allow up to nine people to be on screen, no matter their location. Organizations can call for their members to submit questions via Twitter and Facebook, which they will answer in real time during the Hangout, as NASA will do Friday with astronauts from the International Space Station. (Want to talk to someone in Earth orbit? Join the Hangout from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EST.)

Has your association used Google+ Hangouts or other videoconferencing tools? Share your experiences in the comment section below.


Anita Ferrer

By Anita Ferrer

Anita Ferrer is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!