Hosting Our First Google+ Hangout

Earlier in March I had the opportunity to work at +Alexandria Small Business Development Center to present a workshop entitled, Google+ for Small Business. Registrations filled the workshop space capacity within a few hours of  Alexandria SBDC pushing out a notification to its clients; a waiting list has formed and if all the stars align, I’ll be doing the workshop again for Alexandria SBDC in the coming weeks. And, while the attendees of the workshop have the last say on the efficacy of the training, I’d like to think the workshop was a success on many levels. So, to keep the momentum going for the workshop participants, I placed my thinking cap on and brainstormed ideas on how to continue reinforcing the value of Google+ for their businesses after the workshop. After many good and not-so-good ideas that I mindmapped, I came up with a short list and shopped the idea around a few colleagues and the staff of Alexandria SBDC.

Google Plus Hangout logoI concluded that two Google+ Hangouts where I invited only the workshop attendees were the answer; one for Google+ basics where attendees can tell their stories–successes and challenges–and another for Google+ intermediates where we can delve slightly deeper into the Google+ ecosystem beyond the material that we could cover in the workshop. Oh, so what is a Hangout? Check out the video below for a great video by Google explaining the concept. In short, it’s a way for you to interact by video (with audio) with up to 10 other Google+ users from your computer, smartphone or mobile device. You can even share Google Docs that are being live-edited, share your screen, and type live among the Google+ Hangout participants.

While I’ve been in dozens of Google+ Hangouts, both personally and professionally, this will be the first time we’re officially hosting a Hangout. I’m hopeful that these will go well and we can plan to host more on a variety of Web and digital technology topics. We may even be able to start doing training for Google+ right within the network!

Below is a video of the power of Google+ Hangouts. Of course, we won’t be trying the mobile power of Google+ Hangouts (or our singing voices for that matter) for this first Hangout session. However, just think of the power that Google+ Hangouts could unleash for your Small Business if you implemented this technology at the core of your company’s operations and marketing infrastructure!

Galaxy Nexus: Bohemian Hangout from Jeffrey Da Silva on Vimeo.

Small Business Marketing with Meetup

Meetup logoIf you’re a Small Business owner or marketing professional in a small business, you undoubtedly find yourself at a point where you go to networking events and keep running into the same people over and over again. The monotony is not only mind-numbing but it’s also bad for sales as you’re not building new leads for your “trusted referral partner” network by seeing the same folks all the time. Well, worry no further as Meetup™ is here! Er, they’ve been here for more than a decade, but we won’t mind that little detail. So, what is Meetup and why does it matter to Small Business marketing?

 

MEETUP, THE MOVEMENT

September 11th changed the world; strangers helped strangers that day in remarkable ways Scott Heiferman recognized. He wanted to keep that momentum going and it became the inspiration for Meetup.com. Meetup, according to their own website, is:

Meetup is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. More than 2,000 groups get together in local communities each day, each one with the goal of improving themselves or their communities.

Meetup’s mission is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.

I enjoy seeing the “Do something • Learn something • Share something • Change something” motto when you visit Meetup.com before logging in, and that’s the essence of what makes the platform so versatile. I feel like they should add “in real life!” to that message because that’s the key component to what I think Meetup does. It bridges the digital-analog divide so many of us face today with digital (email, phone and text message) and Social Media communications as our primary business contact throughout the workday (and perhaps even more so in our personal lives, trying to stay in touch with family and friends with ever-increasing work hours and workloads). All the Meetups are live, in-person group meetings coalesced around a shared interest. And, what does this have to do with your Small Business marketing efforts you ask? Read on!

 

SMALL BUSINESS MARKETING WITH MEETUP

Whether you’re trying to build your Small Business brand, increase sales to your local boutique or retail shop, or want to learn how to build a smartphone app, there’s a community of not only your target audience on Meetup but also like-minded small business entrepreneurs getting together to help you! That’s the power of Meetup! These meetings are usually free (though I believe in the give-what-you-can model since it does cost Meetup Organizers to create a Meetup group on Meetup.com and other administrative costs, plus the value of their time), you can see who’s going, and you can ask questions, share and collaborate before and after the get-together through Meetup.com.

I know that today with the proliferation of Web marketing, it’s easy to think that focusing as much of your resources on your Web presence is important but even I (a Web and digital business strategist) think that all the Web has to offer is worth nothing if it doesn’t make our physical, real world lives better! So, sign up for a Meetup account today, type in your industry, professional, service or product (or a current challenge facing your business), and RSVP for a Meetup in your community soon! You’ll be glad you did.