When it comes to generating trust in a digital video environment, we frequently take into account factors such as appearance, setup, form, style, expertise, knowledge, and subject matter, which are all important elements. But none of these will work quite the way you expect them to if there is an ingredient missing from the equation. That ingredient is engagement.
Right about now you’re probably thinking that it is hard work getting engagement in a Hangout on Air. The moment you open up the floor to audience interaction throughout, you risk losing control of your Hangout and marring its quality. Interaction in the Google+ environment, however, is not limited to the Hangout itself (which is quite limited in participant numbers to only nine other people in any case). There are a few additional tools Google+ provides that can significantly increase audience participation and engagement and give you the best outcome possible for your Hangout on Air, time.
To understand this better, consider the types of audience you get in any social media network:
- Creators: Network members who are focused on creating and sharing original content.
- Conversationalists: Network members who will actively participate in any kind of conversation, contributing value with their views, resharing content and starting conversations.
- Critics: Those perennial naysayers who will always find something to criticize.
- Collectors: Members of the network who collect articles, posts, people, communities. Some of them turn out to be really good curators whose collective works deliver great value in themselves.
- Joiners: Members of the network who get the thrill of participation from interacting. They join discussions and try to interact any way they can.
- Spectators: Sometimes called, somewhat less kindly, “lurkers.” These are members of the network who spend time listening and watching with little inclination to actively participate in anything.
- Inactives: Pretty much a self-explanatory term; these members of the network join but turn up only sporadically. They are the ones whose profiles are not fully filled in and whose engagement with the network is spotty at best.
These are not labels written in stone, yet they are used to handily segment the online audience in social networks, in academic studies, so that the audience can be quantified and conclusions can be drawn. It is safe to assume that members of a social network will not fall only into one of these types of behavior exactly. Most of us, these days, adopt one or more of these roles depending on mood, inclination, purpose, or circumstances.
Yet when you hold a Hangout on Air, the challenge remains to get all of these types of audiences engaged sufficiently so that they pay attention to the “brand moment” you’re projecting. How? Well, for a start, I think we can totally excuse inactives. It is highly unlikely that one would turn up at your Hangout on Air and actually be intrigued enough to stay, though if that happened that would speak volumes about your preparation and charisma.
Adapted from "Google+ Hangouts for Business"