Hangouts are an important, yet often unused feature of Google+ for businesses. Similar to Skype or a webinar, Hangouts allow you to host a video chat with up to 10 people that you have in your Circles. What makes Hangouts better than the alternatives are the very reasons you should be using them for your business.

Use Hangouts to offer free demos – Many businesses offer a one to one demonstration of their solutions or services as a call to action on their website. Why not try to capture potential leads by offering a group demonstration on a hangout? This can entice people who may not yet be willing to step up for a private consultation to sample your solution in a group environment. Demos in a hangout also allow for multiple points of feedback, which can help you improve your demos in future.

Use Hangouts for client meetings – We all have had customer meetings where there are multiple players in multiple locations. By creating
a hangout with your customer and your employees, you create that “in-person” feeling without the need for travel. This can be of great benefit when your customer has multiple locations across multiple time zones, allowing your customers a certain freedom and flexibility.

Use Hangouts for focus groups – An immensely useful way to take advantage of hangouts is for focus groups. Imagine you are a medical device company that needs the buy-in of C-level executives to install your solution into their hospital. Why not set up a focus group of these executives (be they existing clients or prospects, or both) to uncover new avenues in which to penetrate this marketshare? Creating this peer group arena allows for the free flow of ideas and discussions, and be immensely useful for your business planning.

Join other Hangouts to network with influencers– The power of this medium lies not only in creating hangouts, but attending others. Build your circles with key influencers with whom you’d like to connect and watch for times when they are hosting Hangouts you can join.

Use Hangouts for telecommuting employees or satellite offices – if your company has multiple offices, or some of your workforce works from home, Hangouts can be a great place for meeting, or even for training purposes.

One of the best reasons to use hangouts is that they recordable. So whether you use them for demonstrations, focus groups, customer feedback, testimonials, client meetings, trainings or employee brainstorming sessions, you can use this valuable content as a video asset down the road.

As a business that is actively using Google+ hangouts for business purposes, you have created a space where you can rise above your competition, and stand out by being able to successfully harness the power of Hangouts.

Have you used Google+ Hangouts for your business? Share your story.