How and Why to Schedule Hangouts On Air Using Google+ Events

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Steamfeed HOA Google+ Events

Google Plus Hangouts on Air: Your own TV talk show

Do you give good face? It doesn’t have to be pretty or handsome, it just needs to be yours. TV personalities generate loyal fans because people see them regularly. Their faces become as familiar as their own family’s. They trust them.

A follower will understand what you know by reading your content.  They’ll understand who you are by seeing you deliver it.

A Hangout on Air (HOA) is a live video broadcast that is recorded and uploaded automatically to YouTube. You can host a HOA from multiple places; your G+ Profile, Page or website. My preferred place to host one is on the Google+ Event Page because:

  1. You can announce and schedule a HOA
  2. You can increase your brand profile by replacing the generic banner with your own and creating a video trailer to play before the scheduled broadcast.
  3. You can invite the public (which means is “findable”) but more importantly, specific communities, circles and people.
  4. When people reply yes, the Event appears in their Google Calendar and a reminder is sent 24hrs before.
  5. You can continue the conversation long after the Live event is over and increase your network by circling those that have engaged.

The Event Page is a free landing page where you can profile your branding, include calls to action (CTA’s) and link back to your website.

How do you set up a scheduled HOA on an event Page?

An important thing to remember is that a Hangout On Air and the Event Page are completely different entities. The former is the “activity” the latter, the venue.

I host a weekly Lunch HOA with my Google+ Tips & Topics Community. The screenshots and guide below demonstrate how I prepare for it.

Creating a Hangout On Air “Event”

1. Create Event: Go to the left menu on your Profile or Page and click on events. That will take you to the events page where you’ll see other events that are scheduled. On the upper right, click on: “Create Event”.

Google Plus HOA Event

2. Fill in fields and change cover theme. (Optional but a shame to waste such good billboard space.) Also fill in the date and time of the event. Always a good idea to place an “end” times as that let’s people know how long the live show will be. The time will automatically reflect the reader’s time zone.

Google Plus HOA Event Cover Branding

3. Event Options: Click on “event options” under the banner on the right. This will take you to the first basic option window. I suggest you leave this as is. If you’re holding a public event, you want to encourage as many people as possible to share it. Photos add to the interaction on the event page. If it gets out of hand simply cancel option. By clicking on “advanced”, you’ll be taken to the next “basic” window.

 G+ HOA Events OPtions

4. Advanced options: Important. If your intention is to hold a public event with as much interaction as possible, do not choose: “Hangouts” or “make this an event on air”. Hangouts is just that, it’s a Hangout Video Chat (HVC). No one will be able to see it unless they’re invited inside.

An “event on air” can be seen or found by everyone, but only those on the guest list can interact. There is no HOA option on the Event Page. Go directly to “Show more options.”

G+ Events options 2

 5. Fill in details, links and invite guests.

G+ HOA Events Invitations

a. Fill in event details. Treat like any G+ post. Bold the headline by placing (*) at the beginning and end of line. Use keywords. Include any links and mentions and encourage participation by asking for opinions and questions. This can be edited at anytime if things change or more information becomes available. Because people on mobile can’t view the video or interact with the event page, it’s a good idea to direct them to your YouTube channel.

b. Links: The most important is the YouTube field. This is where you will insert the URL to your YouTube channel (the channel associated with the page you’re running the HOA from.) You can only grab this inside the HOA.  I open my Hangout at least an hour before the scheduled broadcast so I can grab the URL and distribute it to other platforms. The first field is the “website url.” This link puts an “official site” tab on the Event page (under the details) that sends people to your website.

It’s a “do-follow” link meaning it passes along some of the PageRank (“link juice”) to your site.G+ Event Page site icon

c. Invite guests. I do this in two stages. When first setting up the event, I invite the “public” which makes this a public event. This is very important in order to be able to share and use third party tools like Comment Tracker I then invite my G+ Community so that the event appears inside the Community page.

G+ Community Page HOA Event

You can also invite +names, circles, or email addresses. Your guests don’t have to use Google+; anyone you invite will be able to see the event and respond to the invitation without signing up for Google+. But if they’re not signed into Google+, they won’t be able to interact in the comment area.

Once the original event is published, I go back a few hours or a day later and do another public share of the event including specific people or circles to make sure they see it.

On the day of the event, I also message those who have replied “yes” or “maybe”. This acts as a reminder and also gives me the opportunity to ask if they want to participate inside the Hangout On AIr.

G+ HOA Events Guest Message

Important: Inviting guests to your event is not the same as inviting them to participate in your HOA.

The only way to invite people to participate in the HOA (appear in the video as a filmstrip participant) is to send them a link to the HOA.

This link is available once you open the Hangout. You can copy the link from the address bar on top of the HOA and insert in a Google+ post that’s addressed only to those invited (make sure “public” is not selected and only those you want inside the HOA appear in the address field).

You can also invite directly from inside the HOA by going to the top of the screen and clicking on the profile icon (head with a plus sign next to it). I sometimes do both.

6. Last minute checkup and maintenance.

One of the biggest advantages of using the Event Page for hosting your HOA is the networking capabilities. Before, during and after the show, visit the page and respond to questions or comments. Take note of engagers and add them to your circle.

Check who has replied “yes” or “maybe” and add them to a circle or list of people to invite to future Hangouts.

Google Plus can seem pretty overwhelming. There is a lot of technology and strategies that can get in the way of your goals. Unless time isn’t an issue or you have a high frustration threshold, I recommend finding an experienced “plusser” to mentor you. I was fortunate to have built relationships with many generous people on G+. 

Here are three that I recommend highly:

  1. Ronnie Bincer. The Hangout Helper makes it his business (literally) to keep on top of the latest updates and glitches. If Hangouts are an important part of your strategy, he’s a must circle.
  2. Mark Traphagen. What to know about Authorship and how Google+ affects search results? Circle mark and follow his articles of Virante.
  3. Martin Shervington. If you’re in business and serious about Google+, join his Plus Your Business Community and circle him. He produces an exhaustive amount of Google+ help content.

Have you been incorporating Hangouts On Air in your marketing?

If you’d like to join my Google+ Tips & Topics Community, subscribe to my weekly Google+ Tips newsletter and you’re in.

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Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz is a Social Media Strategist with management roots in restaurant, hotel and performing arts. He's a believer in the power of collaborative communication and "humanized" digital networking. Ray writes about social media, social business and Google Plus on his blog: NewRayCom.com. His clients include hotels, restaurants, consulting firms, entrepreneurs, writers and freelancers. Ray is a popular speaker on Social Media, Social Business and Google+.
Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz
Ray Hiltz
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