More and more health systems, hospitals and physicians are using Google+ Hangouts on Air to replace webinars and news conferences. These public broadcasts are a great way for healthcare organizations to showcase medical research, hold physician roundtable discussions, announce organization news or publicly comment on a timely topic or event. The benefits to Hangouts on Air are they are free, allow you to broadcast to an unlimited audience, and also provide an opportunity for interaction and engagement with viewers.
Once your organization has a couple Hangouts on Air under its belt, they are fairly easy to use and don’t require a significant time investment. However, if this a new healthcare marketing idea and you are just getting started with Hangouts on Air, it can be a little confusing. Follow the four P’s – Plan, Promote, Practice and Prepare – to ensure your Hangout on Air runs smoothly.
While this is an obvious first step, planning the Hangout on Air is crucial to its success. Pick your date and time carefully. You don’t want your Hangout on Air competing with an industry event or Monday morning priorities. Additionally, it is important to set up your Hangout on Air on Google+ properly and give it a professional appearance prior to promoting it. Make sure to include the time, date, description, presenter bios, hashtag and a link back to your website. Create a branded banner and video trailer for your Hangout. And finally, check that your Google+ page and YouTube channel are connected properly, as the Hangout on Air will automatically broadcast to your YouTube channel.
Now that your event is official, promote it! Share event details on your organization’s blog, Google+, Facebook, Twitter and any other social networks. Many organizations make the mistake of only promoting the Hangout on Air on Google+, but they have a much larger, more captive audience on their other social networks. Cross promotion can help ensure your Hangout on Air is well attended. Also, encourage presenters to promote the Hangout on Air on their social networks, and ask employees to add the event link to their email signatures. Promotion should start at least two weeks prior to the Hangout on Air.
Test video and sound on the computers that will be used for the broadcast. Additionally, make sure the light is adequate in the rooms where the presenters will be located. It should be hosted in a private location where the microphone won’t pick up background noise. Ask presenters to wear the same shirt they will be wearing the day of the Hangout on Air. If this is your first Hangout, download the Hangout Toolbox to obtain Lower Thirds, which is the banner that runs on the bottom of the screen to tell your audience who the speaker is. Test the appearance of the Lower Thirds to ensure it shows up the way you want it to the day of the Hangout on Air.
Have all presenters set up and ready to go at least 30 minutes before your Hangout on Air is scheduled to go live. Check video, audio and Lower Thirds. You don’t want to lose your audience because the Hangout on Air doesn’t start on time due to technical reasons. Click “Start Broadcast” and your Hangout on Air will begin!
Remember to keep an eye on comments in the Comment Tracker and by searching for posts with the event hashtag, so that you can address any questions during the Hangout on Air. Following the broadcast, check your YouTube channel and add an optimized title, description and tags. And finally, remember to keep promoting the Hangout on Air in the following weeks. Some people won’t be able to watch live, but would still be interested in consuming the information at a later date.
For more illustrations on how to use social media effectively from the provider side, check out our white paper on social media in the top 15 health systems.