How to Hangout on Air: FAQs (Plus a Cool Example of Marketing Using HOAs)

Alright friends, as I mentioned last time and in my useletter, I’ll be hosting a 30-minute Hangout on Air this Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 11:00 am Eastern.

The topic: I’ll be answering questions! I get asked a lot of questions, about blogging and online-related things of all kinds. I’ll be answering some of them on Thursday.

I know a lot of you are unfamiliar with Hangouts on Air, so I thought I’d answer some of the most frequently asked questions about how to hangout on air (and tell you about a cool example of marketing using a Hangout on Air).

What is a Hangout on Air?

Think of it like a live TV show, only online. And friendlier. And more casual.

(Also, people sometimes use “HOA” for short.)

Why Hangouts on Air?

Because they’re brilliant. On so many levels. Imagine being able to connect with people via video. You can see them, listen to them, ask questions of them and interact with them. And they’re fun.

Who came up with Hangouts on Air?

It’s a Google+ thing.

But I tried Google+ and it didn’t grab me…

I know, I know, you’re tired of hearing about Google+ right? Frankly, my goal is to encourage you to move from Facebook to Google+ because a lot of the frustrations we deal with on Facebook are non-issues on Google+. And, there are some really cool things you can do with Google+. HOAs are just one. Plus, if you’re a blogger or website owner, there are some real benefits to being an active Google+ user (like Authorship), plus it opens the door some really great new marketing opportunities such as…

One of the coolest examples of using Hangouts on Air for marketing

So you may or may not know, a new Star Trek movie was released recently. I didn’t know about the movie…until I stumbled on the Hangout on Air the creators of the movies held a few weeks ago. Well, now I know. (See? Marketing at work!) Kudos to them because their HOA was a very clever part of their marketing strategy to get the word out about the movie. More than clever. They held a Hangout on Air with a real astronaut, IN SPACE. On the International Space Station. LIVE! How cool is that?

Does it cost anything?

Nope! It’s free for you to watch and free for me (or anyone) to host.

Do I need anything special to watch, participate in or host a Hangout on Air?

While you could watch a Hangout on Air without a Google+ account (that is, if you can find it on YouTube or if the host embeds it on their blog, for example), I highly encourage you to set up a Google+ account so you can make the most of the experience. It’s super easy to set up.

If you want to participate, by asking questions or commenting in the accompanying chat for example (this is half the fun!), you’ll need a Google+ account.

If you want to host a Hangout on Air, there are all kinds of resources you can use to get started. You might check out my Ultimate List of Google+ Tips for general help. I would also highly recommend circling Ronnie Bincer (a.k.a. The Hangout Helper) and checking out the plethora of resources, videos and tips he shares. I chatted with him the other day and he is a wealth of information.

OK fine, I signed up and I’ll give it a whirl. What now?

There are two main ways to find a Hangout on Air:

  1. Find someone who is hosting one and follow their links for info.
  2. Browse current and upcoming Hangouts on Air right from your Google+ profile.

Here’s how…

How do I find your Hangout on Air, Amy?

I created an Event for my Hangout on Air which is happening on Thursday, June 6. You can follow this link to be taken directly to the Event page. Once there, you can RSVP by clicking “Yes” (when you do, it’ll be automagically added to Google Calendar if you use GC–handy!). You can also feel free to jump into the conversation by leaving a comment or a question right on the Event page (even before it begins)!

How do I find other Hangouts on Air?

You can always find current and upcoming HOAs on the Hangouts on Air page. First go to your Google+ profile. By the way, whenever you’re logged in and using a Google product like Gmail, Drive, Reader, YouTube, Google Calendar, etc, you can get to your Google+ profile page lickety-split by clicking “+Your Name” link in the top left of the black bar at the top of your screen. For example, here I am in Gmail. A click on “+Amy Lynn” takes me to my profile page.

From there, to browse current and upcoming Hangouts on Air, hover over “Home” and then click on “Hangouts on Air” from the menu that appears like so:

Do I have to sign up or be invited to a Hangout on Air to watch it?

No. Hangouts on Air are public, but you might want to RSVP to be reminded though!

Is there a limit on how many people can watch a Hangout on Air?


Then what’s all the talk about number limits?

In a Hangout on Air, there is a limit of 10 people who can actually talk during the HOA. (To use the live TV analogy, it’s like there would be a limit of 10 people on the stage being filmed.) However, there is no limit on how many can watch.

I should add, there is something called a Hangout which is different than a Hangout on Air. A Hangout is like a video call. Those are a different things altogether and there are limits on those.

How do I know what time it is for me?

My Hangout on Air is Thursday, June 6 at 11am Eastern (US) time. As I mentioned last time, try this time zone converter to see when that is for you.

What if I can’t make it?

No worries! If you can’t join me live, it’ll be recorded so you can watch it later. I’ll share that link once I’ve got it. Here it is.

You said I can participate. How does that work?

Yes. Your participation is what makes it fun! For example, for my Hangout on Air on Thursday, as I mentioned, you can visit the Event page before, during or after the live broadcast and chat in the comments section (some of you already have!). Ask questions, interact with other attendees, etc. If you ask a question, I might be able to answer it during the HOA if time allows.

I hope to see you then!

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  1. says

    You’re an absolute treasure! Your advice is so fantastic and generous! And there’s so much, I have to read and reread it all. I’ve been working google + like mad and it IS work, but if one follows all the steps and uses the google strategic data tool, it is possible to crack the googlegod code and get authorship working. It was so frustrating because it took a while, but now, most of the time my little face and byline shows up on searches. And it’s FREE! I laugh at the bozos who have the little yellow “ad” because they are paying for high rankings, but it lacks authenticity, IMO and one’s eye goes straight to the one face on the page. I also use Yoast SEO and my local rankings have soared and my phone is ringing! Googs LOVES ME! But one has to feed the monster and he has a voracious appetite and loves lots of attention too! But it is so gratifying when one can see that if you can put in the time, it really DOES all work! Thank you so much!

  2. Eric says

    Google Hangouts are amazing! I coordinate an international summer program where students come to our university for a couple of months to improve their English and get to know American culture. We used a combination of Hangouts On Air and “normal” Hangouts to engage them before they arrived.

    I learned a trick from the folks at LTMOOC where you can set up a Hangout to occur in the future (say, three months from now), and then embed that link into your webpage and have a standing Hangout room for you and your website patrons to enjoy.

    We broadcast an HOA every few days and took questions from Twitter and then went to the Hangout rooms to chat with the students live and get to know them more personally. It was awesome!

  3. says

    Google Hangouts are awesome…especially for marketers. They are basically the free equivalent to the ridiculously high priced webinar services. One of the most powerful marketing methods going right now is webinars. Direct real time presentations to hundreds or thousands of targeted, hungry prospects leads to incredibly high conversion rates. As a result these webinar services cost a ton. A perfect example is Go-To-Webinar. They used to charge $95/month for service. But with the recent discoveries of how effective webinars have become, they wasted no time raising their monthly service fee to $495 for all new members. And then, along came Google Hangouts. You can host a live presentation with no limits to the number of attendees, and the best part…it’s FREE. :) Go-To-Webinar has a brand new huge problem to solve.

    • says

      I have to agree with you Christopher. Google+ Hangouts on Air are an excellent alternative. And, like you said, free. Can’t beat that.

  4. Kacey says

    While I’m willing to try out Google+ and Hangouts (albeit reluctantly), if I had to guess, the majority of my readers aren’t Google+ users. Any suggestions for getting them to use it, or are there other reasons to use it in spite of this?

  5. says

    Hi Amy – Plus one – 😉 – to your view that G+ has a lot of advantages over Facebook.
    And nice link to the Hangout on Air – gonna watch some now.
    BTW RE: Google/Apple ( a slight tangetn) – I see app downloads of Android are about to outpull Apple app downloads for the first time in about 2 months. Android downloads: 2.5bn a month: Apple: downloads 2bn a month. Google do seem to be powering through on several fronts.

    • says

      Well, I confess I’ve contemplated switching to Android after hearing some of the most loyal Apple fans make the switch. :)

      • says

        Same! The annoying this is, my (clever clogs) brother in law said 2 years ago that Android was the “thinking man’s iphone”. Cheeky so-and-so!

        However, it looks like I might have to eat humble pie! LOL