Google Plus Hangouts with Extras – More Options for Small Business Marketing

google+hangouts - with extras

google+hangouts - with extras

Google is continuously innovating with Google+ and this is best illustrated through the Google Plus Hangouts with Extras facility.  This extension of Google Plus Hangouts increases the opportunities for small business marketing.  It also expands the ways that small business owners can use Google Plus Hangouts to communicate with their staff

How to access Google Plus Hangouts with Extras

When you are in the Green Room, you will see the following screen and there will be a link to Google Plus Hangouts with Extras (see arrow in the screenshot below):

Google Plus Hangouts with extras

If you click the ‘with Extras’ link, you will be taken to another screen which summarizes the options available under the Extras facility (as illustrated in the opening image).  After you click ‘Try Hangouts with extras’, you will be taken to the Green Room for Google Plus Hangouts with Extras (see excerpt below):

Google Plus Hangouts with Extras - options



What is the difference between Hangouts and Hangouts with Extras?

Well Google gives a good explanation of the differences as they now stand (this is an evolving feast).  Unfortunately, Hangouts with Extras is not a simple extension of Hangouts. For instance, with Hangouts you can watch YouTube videos together, but this option is not currently available for Hangouts with Extras.  Google makes things easier by providing the following valuable comparison of the differences between Google Plus Hangouts and Hangouts with Extras:

 Google Plus Hangouts with Extras - comparison


You can see from this comparison that both Hangouts and Hangouts with Extras provide group chat and group video chat and that is where the similarity ends.

It is not clear yet whether the additional features of Hangouts with Extras will be merged into Hangouts or whether they will remain distinct. 

The additional features of Google Plus Hangouts are summarized below:

  • Screen Sharing – This allows you to share what is on your screen with others in your Google Plus Hangout.   You may want to explain something on a website, show a diagram or share an image and screen share will let you do that.  Once you are in Extras, click on ‘Start Hangout’ and the ‘Share Screen’ icon will appear at the top. When you click this button, you will be given a choice of screens from your computer to share with others (highlight the one you want to display and then click ‘Share Selected Window’). 
  • Google Docs Integration – There is a ‘Documents’ menu on the left hand side of the Extras screen.  To add a document, you click “Add Document’.  Default documents are also provided in the form of ‘Notes’ and ‘Sketchpad’. 
  • Start a named Hangout – Once you are in the Green Room for Google Plus Hangouts with Extras, you can give your Hangout a name and invite people to your named Hangout.  [Note: there are multiple ways you can join a Named Hangout yourself.] 

Google Plus Hangouts with Extras offers the opportunity to be creative with your small business marketing and staff communications and demonstrates Google’s ongoing commitment to the advancement of Google+.

Leverage Your Content with Cross-Posting on Posterous

Stradbroke Island photo

  Posterous leverage


One of the key features of Posterous is the ability to use their screen capture facility to cross post your content to your Posterous blog, even if you have published it elsewhere such as on your own website or blog..   This gives you the ability to leverage your writing and other online content.

The concept here is to capture content from one of your sites and add it to Posterous for backlinking and promotion.  The image above shows how I have captured an entry from one of my RedGage blog posts and posted it to Posterous.  Ideally, you should add 100 words of comment and add a link back to your target site (which will appear as a hyperlink).

Here is another example where I have captured a Podcast from my AudioBoo Site.  What is great about the podcast capture is that the audio is playable on Posterous as the flash player is captured from the target site (so that it appears not just as an image on Posterous, but as an active MP3 player):

Posterous podcast

You could even screen capture and post a video created by a Joint Venture (JV) partner as I have done here in the spirit of collaborative marketing:

Posterous video

The beauty of this video screen capture on Posterous is that it displays as a streaming video and can be played on the site.

Posterous enables you to leverage your small business marketing online – blog posts, videos, podcasts, images and articles – by cross-posting from your other social media sites through the screen capture facility.

Audioboo: An Easy Introduction to Podcasting for Small Businesses

Listen on!


Audioboo is a very easy, free podcasting platform that lets you create up to 5 minute podcasts either online or via mobile phone.  It creates the podcast, provides the MP3 player online and supports distribution.

Audioboo has a Google Page Rank of 7/10 and is ranked by Alexa in the top 30,000 sites in the world (in terms of traffic).  The dominant audience demographic is women between the ages of 35 and 54 who have postgraduate education.  The over 65 age group is poorly represented in the Audiboo’s audience.

Audioboo – online recording

Let’s check out the online version first.   The process is very simple.  Once you register you can record an audio online or upload an existing audio – Audiboo takes most formats.  You can tag (keyword) your podcast to assist the search engines to find your audio.  Audioboo will also give the location (city) of your recording (if you agree to this).

Better still, you can tell Audioboo in advance what sites should receive your podcasts automatically after each recording/upload – Twitter, Facebook, Posterous, Tumblr and/or FriendFeed.   Visitors to your site can also promote your podcast via Twitter or Facebook.  Both you and your visitors can embed the podcast on a blog or website. 

Audioboo is a great place to start if you are new to podcasting.  You can start small (maximum 5 minutes) and have the system produce your audio for easy play and distribution.

One way to start if you are nervous about speaking is to read something as a recording (e.g. an article, blog post, short chapter of an ebook).  Get used to the sound of your voice first even though reading may make you sound a little stilted.  Then you can progress to having a few notes or headings to talk to.  You can always start again and re-record – practice makes perfect.

You might even discover that you love this form of content creation and that others love your voice.   Just be yourself and genuine – it’s all part of the transparency of social media marketing.   Remember too that audio/podcasting is a very forgiving medium – people will overlook the odd stutter or break or “um” because they themselves have not been willing to give it a go.  Just do it – you will be so glad you did.

Using Audioboo with your iPhone

The Audioboo application for the iPhone is free and is a superb tool.  You can download it through iTunes or directly through the Audioboo site.

Picture this – you are with someone you want to interview.  You take a photo with your iPhone, call up the Audioboo app and start recording an interview.  When finished, touch a button to add the photo, insert tags (keywords) and touch another to upload your podcast to Audioboo.  If you set it up right, the audio will be automatically distributed to other sites such as Facebook.

Alternatively, you might be reading an ebook or listening to a webinar and you get an idea for a brief podcast.  You could just pick up your iPhone and record something via the Audioboo app.

Here’s my Audioboo site (refer to the Widget at the start of this blog post for the feed):

You will notice that I have not used Audioboo much yet as I have been using the more sophisticated program, Audacity, which enables you to (1) record a lot longer audio (some of my recordings are an hour) and (2) edit extensively (something you need for longer audio recordings).

Audioboo also has some restrictions on commercial use and may charge a fee if you are overly commercial in your use of the site and its services.  As with social networking sites, overt marketing is frowned upon.

However, Audioboo has recently introduced an upgrade service, Audioboo Plus, which includes the following features:

  • 30 minutes recording time
  • enhanced iTunes settings
  • posting to Facebook fan pages

Audioboo is a great place to start podcasting for small business owners.  You can practice and build up confidence with short podcasts and then upgrade to the new Audioboo advanced service.

Thumbnail Photo Credit: Audioboo Podcasting – by pixelsebi

How to Use Wizzley to Market Your Small Business Online

Wizzley provides a great platform for you to market your small business, your personal profile and your products and services.

Wizzley is an online writer’s community that incorporates social networking and article writing/article marketing.   The writer’s platform is easy to use with a range of modules that can be plugged into an article with a click – the net result is a potentially, very attractive multi-media presentation:

You can embed videos and images and incorporate the RSS feed from your blog.  The design options (e.g. two-column presentation, different themes and colors) add to the flexibility of the site for small business owners who want to present their business in the best possible light.

Jimmie, a top author on Wizzley, provides a great exemplar of how a small business, Backermann’s Bakery, can be attractively presented on the site:

Jimmie has creatively used the two-column presentation, video, variable-sized images, Google Maps, the duel module and the Amazon affiliate module.  Her presentation, with delectable images of baking products, makes you want to visit the Bakery.

Wizzley is a free platform for you to market your small business and present your business and yourself in an attractive light.

Free Public Domain Images from Pixabay for your Blog provides free public domain  images that you can use in your blog without the requirement to acknowledge the source.

You are free to use Pixabay images for commercial use, without seeking permission.  There is no cost for these high quality images.

The range of public domain  images is not as extensive as you will find in some of the paid image sites, but the quality is superb as in the image below:

pixabay images

Some of the top categories of Pixabay images are as follows:

  • water
  • buildings
  • travel
  • nature
  • garden
  • sport
  • boats
  • houses
  • cars
  • flowers
  • people

You can just sign up to Pixabay and get free access to a wonderful range of images that you can use on your blog or website.

These public domain images will enliven your blog or website and enable you to illustrate aspects of your posts or articles.