A fun tool for dental practice marketing – Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts are a fun and interactive tool that you can easily learn to incorporate into your dental practice marketing. Here's an easy guide to using them.

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A Google Hangout gives you the opportunity to virtually connect with up to 150 people at the same time, or up to 10 people over video calls. The Google Hangout interaction occurs in a virtual room where participants can choose to meet via video, audio, or simply through text. It also allows you to share YouTube videos during the meeting. You can launch your own Hangout or join an existing one. If you start your own Hangout, you can invite selected people to be a part of the meeting, or you can make it a public event.

An overview of Google Hangouts
Google Hangouts has emerged as a popular live streaming video platform over a short period of time. However, the technology is still fairly new and many people are unaware about how to use it to their business or personal advantage. Dental marketers can employ this tool effectively to promote their practices, or simply use it as a powerful and free communication tool. Two primary types of Hangouts are Hangouts and Hangouts on Air.

Hangouts are commonly used for personal video chats with another person or a group of people. These private meetings are visible only to the people who have been invited, and they are not recorded for YouTube. On the other hand, Hangouts on Air are open to public view and are recorded automatically to the YouTube channel that is connected with your Google+ account. Up to 10 people, including you, can be part of such a Hangout at any given point of time. The general public cannot be invited to be a part of the meeting on air, but the meeting, by default, is viewable to everyone.

Comprehensive communication tool
Google Chat and Google Talk have been replaced with a very promising and innovative tool from Google. Google calls the Hangouts a unification of its chats, video, and messengers services, all under a single umbrella. Users can use it the way they use Skype if they so choose. The quality of audio and video is superior. You may use ScreenFlow or Camtasia to record private sessions on Hangout. As a dentist, you can use these sessions for meetings with your staff, training new members of your team, and meeting with vendors or other people connected to your practice.

When you launch a Hangout on Air, you’re in a position to create a group chat or give an individual presentation for potential patients, fellow dentists, or others. The tool allows you to manage who is shown in the larger screen, which is usually the leader of the meeting, and remaining participants show up on smaller screens. To link your recorded sessions on YouTube, it’s advisable to have your channel verified for uploads of more than 15 minutes. Most Hangout meetings with multiple active participants last longer than 15 minutes.

Extensive online video content
One of the key advantages to Google Hangouts is that you don’t need a prepared script to create a video. Your actual meetings, discussions, seminars, presentations, or chats become your online video content. Therefore, when you stream your hangout live to your YouTube channel, you’re simply creating new YouTube content automatically during the broadcast. That gives you the possibility to have unlimited YouTube content to market your practice. You can optimize your video marketing efforts effortlessly with this powerful tool from Google.

Another benefit with Google Hangouts is that when you stream your meeting live, it will run your Google+ profile page simultaneously. Once the hangout on air has been launched, you can also take the embed codes and share them via your social media networks, website, or blog. This allows your social media, website, or blog visitors and readers to watch the content through those channels. When you share the embed code on Facebook, you announce to everyone over the network that you’re going live on air. An exclusive “Hangouts on Air” page is available on your account that will list all your hangouts currently on air.

Does this replace a webinar?
Many users are viewing Google Hangouts as a potential replacement for webinars. Webinar platforms are usually fairly costly. If you plan to do only a few webinars, it may not be a cost-effective option. Webinar platforms may also charge on the basis of the number of viewers. However, with a Hangout on Air, you’re effectively achieving unlimited viewership without having to pay for it.

To launch your Hangouts on Air, Google does not require you to purchase expensive plug-ins for your website. All you need to do is enter your email address and then move over to a Watch Live page. You can invite potential viewers to opt in through your website and flip through to your Watch Live page. The technology is designed to promote engagement with viewers and keep them from getting distracted. Content sharing is possible with both Hangouts and Hangouts on Air by simply pressing the Screen Share button.

Support for your online marketing efforts
The very fact that Google Hangouts are linked with YouTube makes it a marketer’s delight. When it comes to Internet search, video content tends to gain higher search rankings. If the Hangouts on Air are search engine optimized (SEO) well, they have an excellent chance of showing up on the first page of Google. In fast-moving cyberspace, Hangouts on Air allow you to live stream your content to YouTube, as opposed to a regular video where you have to create and edit it before you can release it. With strategic optimization of your hangout on air content, you can enjoy top search rankings on Google and other search engines.

To reach out to your target audience effectively, you need to be convincing and generate their trust. Online videos and live streaming allow a great opportunity for people to come face to face with you and improve their familiarity with you. You can share useful information and teach people new insights from these live experiences. You can even create weekly, monthly, or quarterly web shows that will help build a dedicated following for your Hangouts. Finally, you can share exclusive content with your loyal followers and build lasting relationships over time.

Susan HutsonVikas Vij

Susan Hutson is vice president of marketing at Ekwa.com, a complete Internet marketing company that focuses on SEO, social media marketing, and the online reputations of dentists. Vikas Vij is the marketing manager for Ekwa Marketing. Visit the website at www.ekwa.com.

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