Google+, the competitor to Facebook and relatively new arm of the mighty Google empire, had a slow start but grew to around 500 million members by the end of 2012. Heck, even Mark Zuckerberg has a Google+ account.

If you’re putting all your business social marketing resources into Facebook but are ignoring Google+, it’s time to re-think your strategy. There is no better way to connect with your customers than by “hanging out” with them via group video chat that can be accessed with a provided URL. On Google Hangout, you can do a few things to effectively engage your audience, such as:

Host a press conference

Release an exciting announcement, show a presentation, display some cool visuals or even do a Q&A session about a new hire, product or business achievement or technology.

Host a consultation or tutorial session

If you’re a resume-tailoring outfit, help your clients work on their CV, negotiate higher salaries or improve their LinkedIn presence. If you’re an insurance company, teach your audience some best practices for keeping rates as low as possible while receiving maximum benefit. This type of engagement with customers can be achieved through an interview with a notable professional, Q&A session, presentation or commentary on YouTube videos that are integrated throughout the Hangout.

Host a launch event

Use Google Hangouts to hold launch parties for your latest products or services. Live contests with prizes are always welcome, as are surprise guests.

Google Hangouts is a great way to put a fresh face on your business, connect with consumers and show that you’re interested in both learning and teaching, talking and listening. Whether you conduct a one-on-one consultation with a client or a large viewing session of a company-produced video, you can utilize this oft-overlooked avenue for creating new customers, bolstering your relationship with old ones and stepping into the future of social media communications.