Most arts and cultural organizations are involved in social media by using Facebook, Twitter and occasionally services like Foursquare and Pinterest. However, the underdog of social networks, Google Plus, often goes unused or seldom updated.
Although Google Plus hasn’t always been popular, many of its features are now receiving praise from businesses across a variety of industries. Last year, Google created the fantastic “Hangouts” feature, where Google Plus users (including arts and cultural organizations) can use their microphones and webcams to virtually “hang out” and chat live with artists, makers, curators, and stakeholders. They have also made it possible to automatically upload these Hangouts to YouTube, which opens up your message to a worldwide audience even after the live stream has ended.
A few cultural organizations have recently started to take advantage of this excellent medium. For example, the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) has staged many curatorial Hangouts and chats with archaeologists around the world, including a curatorial Hangout in Borneo. A branch of Google’s Cultural Institute, Google Art Project, has also been presenting a number of “Arts Talks” using Hangouts, during which museums and galleries across the world come together to discuss culture.
So how can you get involved with this amazing broadcasting platform?
Make sure you have the requirements: Gmail and YouTube accounts, a webcam, a microphone and a reliable internet connection. Then visit the Google Hangouts On Air website and start broadcasting for free!
Choose your content
Make your content meaningful and highlight topics that you are passionate and enthusiastic about. Be sure to ask for viewers’ opinions and answer any questions that they might have during the broadcast. Some suggested types of Hangouts for cultural organizations are performance sneak peeks, interviews with artists, public forums on arts issues, how-to demonstrations, or curator talks.
Prepare your broadcast
Leverage your social media sites before you start the broadcast – pan a date for the broadcast, then promote it through Facebook, Twitter and e-newsletters! On the day, be sure to test your lighting, image and sound quality before you start broadcasting. Be enthusiastic in the delivery of your content, not ignoring body language and voice inflection.
Creating videos for your organization is an important marketing method. YouTube reported in 2013 that over 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute. By integrating Google Hangouts on Air into your marketing strategy, you are creating cost-effective video that engages directly with a live audience and satisfies their unique needs and wants.
The benefits of Google Hangouts On Air are obvious. If you get involved with Hangouts, be sure to deliver your key messages and keep your branding consistent. Most of all, don’t be nervous and have fun!
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