Today’s entrepreneurs and business leaders are always on the hunt for ways to trim company costs, better manage time, and promote their services. Internet powerhouse Google has created yet another tool to help aid in this never-ending quest. Google+ Hangouts debuted in May 2013 and may soon become a regular fixture for your law firm or other small business.
What is a Google+ Hangout?
Google+ Hangouts are included in the Google Apps for Business services. The product essentially melds the features and functions of Google Chat, Skype and Join.Me, with video and voice chat and collaborative capabilities.
Users can employ a desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone to meet “face-to-face” with as many as 15 people at a time. The Hangouts even allow you to share your screen or simultaneously work on a file located in Google Drive (such as a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet).
How to Set Up a Google+ Hangout
Start by downloading the Google+ Hangouts application via Google Play, the Apple Store or by using the “for your computer” option. Use http://hangouts.google.com or “Start a Hangout” (located in the upper right corner of your Google+ home screen).
Once your window is open, you can name the Hangout for easy reference (i.e. “John Smith client meeting” or “Smith Law Firm Q&A Session”). You can then add attendees from your Google+ Circles, via their email address or by using their name (this works for people with Google accounts).
Click the “Hang out” button to begin the Hangout. This will send an invite to your attendees. Once they hit “Join hangout” you can get started. At this point, you can use video and sound, provided all participants have video/web cams and microphones. Other options allow you to use text chats, screen share or collaborate on Google Drive files. You also may add others people to the in-progress meeting.
Though it is not necessary for all hangout participants to be Google+ users, it will speed up and streamline the process. Note: Invitees can leave the Hangout at any point and it will continue. However, once the person who initiated the Hangout leaves the conference, it will conclude.
Why Use Google+ Hangouts for Your Business?
Google+ Hangouts offer you an opportunity to effectively communicate with colleagues and clients without having to meet in person. This can mean a tremendous cost savings for the company and cut down significantly on travel time. Hangouts also may be an efficient way to fortify business-client relationships, providing a new means to communicate with customers and quickly answer questions.
Attorneys may especially benefit from using Hangouts to communicate with clients who are unable to travel for health or other reasons. A Google+ Hangout provides an easy opportunity to “meet” with a client, legal assistant and other members of the team in a more personal manner than found with the traditional conference call. Some might even use it as a marketing opportunity, allowing the attorney to answer general questions from participants (without giving any legal advice).
Curious about how to make Google+ Hangouts and other Google applications work for you? The online marketing team at We Do Web Content has its finger on the pulse of internet trends in marketing. Call today at 1-888-521-3880 or complete our online contact form to learn how we can help you make the most of the online tools available.