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Google+ Hangouts – how to find Hangouts or host your own Hangout

July 18, 2011
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Making use of Google+ in your business

So far, the culture of Google+ has not yet established itself as much of the discussion inside Google’s newly launched social network is mostly about the social network itself as people feel their way through features that they recognize from other social networks while discovering new features.

It appears Google’s intentions for their video chat featured called “Hangouts” was meant to be informal, given the name and the tagline that “Hangouts are the best way for you to say, ‘I’m online and want to hangout!’”

Nonetheless, while users are experimenting, we encourage experimentation with business in mind so you’re not addicted to a time suck of a website that yields no business results.

Start or find a Hangout

In order to start a hangout, as the video illustrates above, click the green “Hangout” button in the right sidebar of your main Google+ home page. The button does not appear when you go into Sparks or your own profile, only on your main page. You’ll get a popup that instructs you as to getting set up, and it is very self explanatory and requires little to no tech savviness.

If you’d rather experiment with Hangouts hosted by other people first, there is a site that will show you all of the Hangouts currently being hosted and we encourage you to find one that suits your interests, even if it’s dogs or travel, just to get the hang of being on camera and how the functions work before hosting your own.



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Creative uses for Google+ Hangouts

Video conference calling is the default use we see for Google+ Hangouts and getting buyers together with agents, and we know that the rise in virtual brokerages will take to Hangouts for meetings and the like.

There are, however, creative uses for Google+ Hangouts, just think of it as a visit to Starbucks. We’ve written in the past about hosting coffee chats with the local community and in this case, Google+ is your local community.

Set up a Google+ Hangout for a specific time (recurring if at all possible) that you will host and each week try a new theme. One week can be “Demystifying the insanity that is short sales,” or “Open questions about complicated mortgages,” and invite your favorite lender in on the conversation. If you work with relocating clients a lot, if you’re friends with a client who relocated using you, host a “Relocating to Memphis, from the mouths of natives and newbies.” See where we’re going with this?

If a theme isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps a “Stump the Realtor night” on Google+ with prizes for any local who has the toughest question. Maybe host a local trivia night with you asking the questions and assigning points to people who yell in the right answers. Get interactive, there is are a lot of levels in which you can connect with others and although face to face is still the tride and true best method to market, computer face to computer face is even better than typing finger to typing finger.

Word of warning

Remember, Google has said that they will delete any profile set up on Google+ that is a business, brand or not a person as they are testing a separate module for that, so don’t waste your time. You’ll have to host under your real name and as yourself.

We will soon be announcing Google+ Hangouts hosted by AGBeat writers and staff via their personal accounts and we have some great ideas we cannot wait to share with you; we anticipate that other tech and national real estate sites will soon follow suit. Stay tuned for more details and tell us in comments what creative uses you will use Google+ Hangouts for!

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