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My First Google+ Hangout On Air: Listening, Acting Human & Lessons Learned

I’ll be the first to admit it: I am not comfortable in front of the camera. I hate hearing my own voice or seeing myself on screen. But recently, an opportunity arose that I couldn’t pass up. So, last week I stepped out of my comfort zone (Oli knows what I’m talking about) to do something totally new in my role at Unbounce: I was a guest on my first Google+ Hangout On Air (the cool kids call them HOAs).

Kid making a funny face

What usually happens to my face when a camera’s nearby

Lately I’ve been on the lookout for new ways to get exposure for the Unbounce brand on social media. With a pretty good reach on Twitter already, and Facebook changes throwing everyone for a loop, I decided to start exploring the somewhat unfamiliar world of Google+.

Enter Stephan Hovnanian. Recognized in the social media space as an expert on leveraging Google+ for business, Stephan is someone I’ve been following closely online — reading up on his tips and taking note of the relationships he’s built.

Wanting to help brands learn more about the platform, he created the Google+ Business Spotlight (now co-hosted by Ben Fisher of Steady Demand): a show about how different businesses are using Google+ as part of their marketing strategy.

Since I’m still pretty new to it all, imagine my surprise when Stephan emailed me out of the blue to ask if Unbounce would like to appear on the show. Stephan was impressed by the “human” way we interact with users on Google+ and how we make brand monitoring a priority.

I agreed wholeheartedly — then realized: Oh no, I have to talk live, on camera, on the internet.

Luckily, Stephan and Ben were great about discussing how the conversation would flow beforehand (although most of the planned material got nixed when we realized how fast time flies by).

You can watch the video below, and get a timestamped recap here:

What I forgot to mention:

  1. HipChat is the bomb. We use it every day and it’s my like my “phone a friend” lifeline. When a user asks me a question via social that I can’t answer myself, I look to my friends in Customer Success to help me with a response (love you guys).
  2. Google+ traffic has a 5% conversion rate for the goal of sending visitors to our pricing page. Even though it’s our fifth highest source of social referral traffic, it converts at the same rate as Facebook (our number two social source).
  3. Content that performs well for us on Google+ (no surprise here): articles on landing page optimization and almost anything visual, but also how certain subjects relate to marketing like storytelling, copywriting and psychology. We must have curious community members!

What I learned about HOAs:

  1. Get online early enough to set up. I only jumped into the “green room” about 15 minutes pre-show and we ended up having some small technical issues to sort through in a hurry.
  2. Check that your logo or headshot you upload fits nicely into the “lower third” of your video screen (I didn’t expand my window so didn’t realize it was skewed until afterwards).
  3. Find a space with good lighting. Let’s face it, we all want to look our best on camera.
  4. Have a sidekick (in my case, a Corey)—it helps. To steal the term from our webinar process: The Sidekick (sometimes furiously) answers attendee questions that come in via the chat box.
  5. They’re not that scary. I got plenty of positive feedback from the viewers and was encouraged to spark a few one-on-one conversations.

Since being on the Business Spotlight, I’ve made some incredible new connections and Unbounce has been invited to appear on two other shows. If there’s one thing I know about social media, it’s that people like talking to people. I’m looking forward to meeting more of them myself.

If you have any more questions about how we use Google+ for Unbounce, ask in the comments!

Tia Kelly, Social Strategist