Assisting clients with webinars is something that forms part of the job description for many VAs and, until recently, the software to work with has been dominated by one or two expensive major players. After the webinars themselves are over, there can be a lot of hard work involved in making recordings and saving them back online.

Google Hangouts for business seem to have crept in quietly in amongst the noise of other online social facilities. It’s a platform that works on Google+ and it’s becoming easy to make fantastic productions, automatically record them and make them instantly available on YouTube. They can even be available and streaming on your own website. Can it replace current webinar solutions? Use of the service by businesses is on the rise, so it makes sense to spend some time learning exactly how Google Hangouts work and how you, and your clients, can share their businesses with the world.

Here’s 3 things we think you can do with them:

1. Connect with clients

You’re working virtually, but who says you can’t see your clients? A hangout can be used simply to connect with them. Being able to see them enables you to have much more engaging conversations and build relationships

As part of products that clients have purchased hangouts can be used for one-to-one sessions or group coaching. A live video call for up to 10 people can create a feeling of intimate connection and exclusivity.

2. Gain New Clients

One of the hottest trends in client acquisition over the last couple of years has been the webinar. Instead of long sales letters, traffic is driven to webinars, where people watch and listen to a presentation, usually a combination of content and pitch. At the end of the presentation you’ll typically have an opportunity to buy whatever is being promoted, often accompanied by a scarcity ‘have to buy it now’ element of marketing. At the very least, your details will have been captured for lead generation marketing after the event is over.

There’s a reason that webinars have become so popular as sales tools – they work. The downside for many has been the cost, particularly for those just starting to use them. Systems such as GoToWebinar and Adobe Connect, while the top choices in the webinar world, come with a hefty price tag that can be too much for a newbie to manage.

Using Google Hangouts gets past that cost problem, and again, you can either limit people to those in the Hangout with you or, using Hangouts on Air, you can stream to an unlimited amount of people. As you start your Hangout On Air it will simultaneously broadcast on your Google+ profile, your YouTube channel, and on any website where you’ve embedded it. On your own site, adding a chat script to pages where you’re streaming your hangout will allow any number of people to interact, and all on your own domain.

When the Hangout is over, the recording is automatically published to your YouTube channel so there are also SEO benefits to doing and recording a hangout this way. It’s much easier to get Youtube to rank than your own website, especially if your videos are then shared socially.

3. Create Information Products

Some businesses are using hangouts just to gain authority. You can effectively have your own TV show and use it to interview others, teach something or review products. There are apps available that you can use at the time of your hangout that will allow you to create a very professional video e.g. the ability to put your name on the bottom as you speak – or to display virtual whiteboards and slides. Automatic recording to your YouTube channel means you can create a product with the potential to sell many times over.

Have you been using Google Hangouts for any of these things. What do you think? Let us know your experiences below.