Two days after the State of the Union address, the President was answering questions via social media in a “Fireside Hangout.” (The “fireside” name taps into the legacy of the Franklin Roosevelt presidential Fireside Chats on the radio between 1933 and 1944.) And just last week, the First Lady discussed her Let’s Move initiative about healthy kids in her own Fireside Hangout.

Google Hangout is a free video chat service. It’s a widely available—but often under utilized—platform that hospitals, providers and healthcare marketing executives can use to increase and extend online visibility. Use it for face-to-face chat, hosting virtual meetings, and broadcasting to a large audience. Here’s a bit more background…

No stranger to the connectivity of social media, this was the second post-State of the Union broadcast from the White House using Google’s Hangout. And if you turn back the calendar a few pages to last year’s campaign months, both the incumbent and the challenger were deep into social media platforms. Pick one…in 2012, both candidates were actively using Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Spotify to reach voters in big numbers online. You’d have to call them world-class social media users.

The best part is that you don’t need to be running a national campaign to put Google Hangout to work in your healthcare marketing plan, to communicate with a specific audience, or to support a particular program, topic or health initiative. You can use it for external or internal audiences.

Hangouts are oriented to face-to-face-to-face video chats with up to ten participants. But you can stream your hangout publicly via Google+, your YouTube channel and your website. As a bonus, “Every Hangout On Air is automatically saved to your YouTube account” advises Google, making it easily accessible and available for further sharing.

Not to be outdone by the President, you can get acquainted with Google Hangout as a healthcare social media tool with this introductory page and video.

Are you using Google Hangout? We’d like to hear from you about how this video chat has been working for your hospital or medical practice. Drop us a note or post a comment below.

Lonnie Hirsch

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Stewart Gandolf

Stewart Gandolf

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder at Healthcare Success Strategies
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is CEO of Healthcare Success, a medical marketing and health care advertising agency. He is also a frequent writer and speaker. Most importantly, he is happily married and a "rock-n-roll daddy" to two wonderful girls.
Stewart Gandolf
Stewart Gandolf


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