Google+ Hangouts are an interactive way to use your Google+ account. Hangouts extend the value of your Google+ profile by adding another dimension in the form of video.
You can invite up to 10 active participants to a Hangout session (15 if you have Google+ premium), so groups are small enough to encourage conversation. People can participate in the conversation via their computer, tablet or smartphone. You can see and hear each other, just as if you were in the same room and share screen shots, see the current speaker, etc. just as if you were using a video conferencing service.
Using your webcam, you can:
- Confer with your staff or hold training sessions for everyone at once, if your practice includes more than one location.
- Connect with patients one-on-one for a consult or to follow up after a procedure.
- Host a focus group of patients to consider improvements to your practice – amenities or new procedures you could offer, procedural details you could change that would increase convenience or comfort.
- Offer after-hours consulting services.
- Meet with colleagues to discuss a patient-related question or issue of common interest.
- Offer webinars or hold Q&A sessions for patients.
You can stream broadcasts live directly from your website or your YouTube channel, and you can record sessions to share later. You can even edit a session, if you wish. You can share recorded sessions via your YouTube channel, embed them or link to them from your website and link to them in social media posts, your email newsletter or follow-ups to patients or prospects.
In other words, Google Hangouts is not only a versatile practical tool, it’s a great marketing tool.
What does this mean for your dental practice?
Using Hangouts for educational sessions underscores your credibility. And when you explain in plain language or demonstrate what’s involved in a particular procedure, patients gain both knowledge and confidence because they know what to expect. During the Hangout they can ask questions, further allaying their fears.
You can host sessions that introduce existing patients and prospects to the latest trends or technologies used in leading-edge dental practices like yours.
That means you can use Google Hangouts to:
- Share your expertise, to establish and reinforce your credibility as a knowledgeable, leading-edge dental practitioner.
- Build your practice brand.
- Humanize yourself and your practice, by interacting via voice and video, demonstrating you’re not only skilled but approachable and personable – the sort of person who can make patients feel comfortable. That’s critical for every dental practice, because so often patients are unusually concerned about dental procedures and how they’ll be treated.
- Expand your marketing reach to attract new interest in your practice.
Producing videos in the form of recorded Hangouts sessions can significantly boost your search results, in two ways. You literally have more relevant content for search engines to display, plus you’re using YouTube. Aside from the fact that this is the second-largest search engine, it is owned by Google, so YouTube-based content automatically receives search results display preference.
But first you need to have a fully-fleshed-out Google+ presence.
Hangouts aren’t the first step, they are a value-added component of your Google+ account. In order to get the most from Hangouts, make sure you’re optimizing your account in other ways. Make sure your profile is entirely filled out, because that also improves Google ranking for your page. Use plenty of photos, not just to entice and inform viewers about your practice, but because images boost your ranking even more.
Fifty-two percent of consumers say they feel more confident about buying decisions after watching a product video. Hosting Hangouts can promote your practice and the services you offer and help your patients feel less apprehensive about moving forward with elective – or even necessary – procedures and choosing you as the dentist to perform those services.