As you probably know, yesterday Google+ announced it will begin rolling out Hangouts On Air to the general public. Plenty of articles have already been written detailing exactly how the new service works (Hubspot wrote a great summary here), so I’ll spare the Internet another one. Instead, this blog will focus on a critical new functionality Hangouts On Air offers businesses and marketers: the ability to promote and host webinars that are open to the Google+ audience, and can be indirectly accessed by the billions who use Google’s search engine.

Google+ Hangouts already enables live video chat with a small circle of people (up to 10). With Hangouts On Air, however, you can broadcast to a much wider audience through your Google+ stream, YouTube Channel, or even your website.

Better still, you can see exactly how many users are viewing your Hangout in real time, and once your broadcast ends, it is automatically uploaded to YouTube for easy viewing and sharing.¹

Pretty cool.

Here are a few suggestions to maximize the effectiveness of a webinar hosted via Hangouts On Air:

Promote Your Webinar – As with a traditional webinar, make sure to promote your broadcast ahead of time through your social media, blog, website, and email marketing channels. Consider creating a hashtag so you can track and monitor the conversation leading up to, during, and after the broadcast.² Remember to keep promoting your webinar after it ends by uploading a copy of it to your website and other social media channels.

Edit Your Webinar – Once the Hangout ends, you’ll have an opportunity to edit the recording, so you can clean up any mistakes, or spruce it up with additional context or content. Make sure to do this right after the event and before you distribute it beyond YouTube.

Clarify Your Goals – Why are you hosting this webinar? What is it about? Who is your target audience? Asking these questions will help you decide whether to broadcast the webinar on your Google+ page or your website. With Hangouts On Air, users can embed a livestream on any web page. This feature gives you the option of driving traffic to your own website to add more punch to your lead generation and conversion efforts (make sure to use CTAs and landing pages to capture leads).

If your goal is to build up your Google+ user-base, however, then you’ll want to host the webinar on your G+ page.²

Hosting a webinar on Google+ Hangouts On Air offers a double benefit by expanding brand your reach and improving your SEO on Google’s search engine.

For these reasons alone, Google+ may have finally hit its first homerun.

How are you planning on using Google+ Hangouts On Air for your business?

¹ CNet, “Google+ Hangouts On Air: Broadcast yourself to the world”

² Hubspot, “Google+ Launches Hangouts on Air to the Masses: What Marketers Need to Know”

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