Hangouts On Air (HOAs) are one of the most popular features of Google+. With an HOA, you and up to ten other people can participate in a video chat that is viewable by an unlimited number of additional people on Google+, as well as being live streamed to YouTube. You can even bring in a Facebook crowd using apps like 22Social, and designate a hashtag so that Twitter users can get involved in a live Tweet Chat simultaneously.
Brands and Businesses are using HOAs to educate, entertain and engage their audience on a variety of topics, and leveraging the tool to set up panels of experts and weekly shows, all the while generating massive amounts of video content that can then be repurposed in a variety of ways, including blogs and podcasts.
And while the Google+ Hangout interface and Event page is nice, there are still many who aren’t yet taking full advantage of the customization and branding capability and potential the platform offers.
On May 1, The Manly Pinterest Tips Show is being relaunched and rebranded as The Manly Show, and that includes an entirely new look and feel for the show with regard to graphics. Check out the first event page here. We’re going to be highlighting some of the things that +Jeff Sieh does to brand his show as examples of what you can do for your own HOA as well.
Branded HOA Banner Photo
First and foremost, lose the default banner image. When you create your Google+ Hangout Event, you have the option of using one of the stock banner images, or uploading your own. Now, if you don’t yet have a custom banner for your HOA, this is the time to create one. If you don’t have a graphic designer or the budget to hire one, head over to Canva.com and create one yourself.
The banner image should be 1200 x 300. If you upload an image that isn’t that size or ratio, you risk letting Google+ scale or crop and distort the image. Since this image is the first graphic people see on your Event page, I can’t stress enough how important it is to make this right. Even it means creating a basic color with text overlay as an image in Canva, DO THAT rather than upload an image that doesn’t fit and is made to look poor, thus reflecting poorly on you and your brand.
When it comes to the image itself, create one that offers a consistent look and feel in accordance with other design elements, communicates who you are and what your brand represents, and of course information about the show or event itself.
Another reason why I like Canva for this purpose is that Canva automatically saves your designs, and you can go back and edit the banner image you created to change event details for the next show.
Branded HOA Teaser Video
On Hangout Events, the most prominent part of the Event page is the Video block that’s front and center. That’s where the live broadcast and then recorded video will be displayed. But before your live broadcast, you have an opportunity to insert a placeholder or teaser video. So take advantage of that!
The best HOA hosts use that space to tease their next show, talking about what guests they have invited or topics they plan to cover. Like any film teaser, make yours no more than 30 – 60 seconds so that’s it’s just a brief intro to what’s going on.
But beyond being informative, it’s also another opportunity for you to continue to communicate your brand. Give careful consideration to the content of the video – what you’re saying and how you look and the overall tone. Just like for your live broadcast, make sure that your sound and lighting and overall video elements are excellent.
Once you’ve recorded your video, take the time to create and upload a custom thumbnail, but be patient as it will take a few minutes for the thumbnail to show up on your YouTube video, and even longer to propagate to the Hangout Event page.
Just as with your banner image, your thumbnail image should use the same colors and style and elements for a consistent, branded look to your event.
Branded HOA Event Promotion
Beyond the graphics and content of the Event Page, there are additional steps you can take to promote your event, which can also further your overall brand and image.
Share the Teaser Video – you’ve gone through the trouble of creating a teaser video, so share it! Create a new Google+ post out of it, as well as tweets and Facebook status updates. Hopefully you’ve created your Event at least a week in advance, giving you plenty of opportunities to talk about it without being repetitive and spammy.
Create an Alternate Video – another fantastic example of Jeff Sieh’s The Manly Show is the pair of alternate videos he’s made, specifically for Instagram. On Instagram, users can upload 15 second videos and while it takes some maneuvering, you can create an edited video that’s consistent with your brand and event. For complete instructions on how, click here.
Share Teasers to Pinterest – don’t forget that you can pin YouTube videos to Pinterest! You can have a Board dedicated to your Event and pin the teaser, links to blog posts, and even other resources.
The bottom line is that everything you do for your Event should have the overall business brand and image in mind. Taking the time to create that custom banner image, a teaser video, and other promotional activities will go a long way toward communicating not just your event, but what your business is all about.
And don’t forget, The Manly Show premiere is May 1 and we’re talking specifically about re-branding your business with the fabulous Mia Voss as our guest. If you’re reading this after the fact, just watch the replay!