There are a gazillion (no, not literally) posts about why people should be on Google Plus and, yes I am responsible for at least a couple of them over the last year or so. But this isn’t one of those posts.
Lets get the expected part out of the way first. If you’re online a lot, then you should be on Google Plus. Even if it’s for one feature in particular – Google Hangouts.
Google Plus Hangouts are pretty kick ass! It’s kinda like Skype but integrated into YouTube and Google. But you with all the benefits of interacting with anyone across the Google ecosystem. It also includes a bunch of cool sharing options and apps that integrate with your conversation and screen. My favourite is the lower third app.
The lower third app allows you to add a cool little ‘evening news’ like graphic to the bottom of your screen while you chat away.
Here’s an example of what a Google Hangout looks like.
Here’s an example of a Google Hangout with the Lower Third enabled.
How to activate the Hangout Lower Third
The next option allows you to select from the Hangout apps Google has available. The one you want is called Lower Third. It looks like this:
Now it’s installed. Click on the tab in your video menu that looks like this.
A panel will appear that allows you to add your name, brief intro text/url/job title and select the color of the lower third graphic you want.
Type in your text, hit the little ON button and the lower third graphic will appear on your Hangout screen for all Hangout participants to see.
How to Customise Your Lower Third
Below the standard lower third text entry, there is an option to add a Custom Overlay. This lets you upload your own design. My one for work looks like this:
In order to make your own, you just need to create a transparent image that contains the image you want represented on the screen.
Original image size needs to be 640px X 360px. A transparent PNG24 works well.
Just to make it easier for you, I’ve included a PSD template with a few designs you too can use to create your own custom lower third graphic. (It’s a PSD, so you’ll need Photoshop to use it)
Hangouts Pro Tip: Passive Link Building/ Brand Awareness with Hangouts
Google Hangouts are getting a lot more popular. Celebrities, politicians, industry leaders are all using them. (I did one with Arnold Schwarzeneger a couple of weeks ago).
Any search/SEO nerds out there should do themselves a favor and check out some search orientated Hangouts conducted almost weekly by Dan Petrovic & Max Minzer on G+. They’re very good.
Due to participation limits of certain Hangouts, Google introduced the ability to have Hangouts On Air. An On Air Hangout is a streaming hangout that any amount of people can see. These are transmitted via YouTube and are often recoded and published. These videos are then promoted and viewed by people within your industry/topic etc.
Adding a URL and/or brand in your lower third acts as passive link building and brand exposure to anyone who happens to view the video during or after the Hangout has finished.
Participating in Hangouts relevant to your industry is getting your name out there. Get on board or get left behind. Plus, what other online platform will give you the opportunity to hangout with Arnold Schwarzenegger!