Content is key when creating a successful social media strategy, but there’s more to it than just blogging and tweeting. Podcasts, infographics, and video have increased in popularity among consumers. In fact, video content has become one of the most effective ways to reach and engage audiences.

YouTube and Google+ Hangouts have become integral parts of today’s marketing campaigns. The former currently claims more than one billion unique visitors monthly, second only to Facebook. Google+ Hangouts, which seamlessly integrate with YouTube, have been used for everything from live concerts to customer tutorials.

If you’ve already found success with those tools, then you might also be interested in Google Helpouts. Launched last November, Helpouts is an online collaboration service that allows brands to share expertise through live videos and provide real-time help to consumers. You can participate in one of seven categories, including Computers & Electronics, Fashion & Beauty, Fitness & Nutrition, and so on.

Currently several well-known brands are using Helpouts to connect with consumers. Let’s take a look at what they’re offering and how you can increase visibility for your videos.


Video content is a great match for fashion and beauty brands like Sephora. The company currently offers 12 free Helpouts that range from achieving the perfect lip to organizing your makeup bag. In these videos, Sephora professionals walk viewers through the steps using the brand’s products.

Since this content is free, Sephora isn’t benefiting financially from Helpouts — at least not directly. However, the videos introduce the brand and all of its products to consumers who are interested in makeup. Although participants can use their own products, Sephora’s beauty experts likely convince at least some viewers to buy the featured products.

Weight Watchers

Despite being an early adopter, Weight Watchers offers only four Helpouts. However, that doesn’t mean the service hasn’t been a successful marketing tool for the brand. The goal for Weight Watchers is to draw in prospective customers. Helpouts enables it to connect with the “do-it-yourselfers,” giving them a taste of what Weight Watchers has to offer before a purchase is made.

The four videos are based on popular topics that the Weight Watchers’ audience talks about on other social channels. For example, the “Party-proof your weight loss” video was a result of people wanting diet tips during the holiday season. According to Catherine Ulrich, chief product officer at Weight Watchers, Helpouts is the perfect platform for learning and adapting to what consumers are looking for.

Top Chef University

Top Chef University is a great example of how the entertainment industry can benefit from Google Helpouts. The videos are hosted by some of the most popular contestants from Bravo’s hit TV show Top Chef. Unlike Sephora and Weight Watchers, Top Chef University’s Helpouts aren’t free. The videos are actually part of a bigger program that teaches aspiring chefs professional cooking techniques, food preparation methods, and more.

By offering a handful of videos through Google Helpouts, not only can viewers sample what Top Chef University has to offer, but it also allows the brand to reach consumers who might not be able to afford the full price of the program.

Promote Your Helpout

There are several ways that you can increase the visibility of your Helpouts. For starters, make it easier for people to find your Helpouts by creating a custom URL. Simply locate the custom URL for your Google+ Page and replace the word “plus” with “helpouts.” For example, if your Google+ Page’s custom URL is, then your custom URL for Helpouts would be

We also recommend adding a Helpouts button on your website to take people directly to your listing. To do so, find the listing you’d like to promote and click Promote. In the drop-down menu that appears, choose Embed. You can choose to link to either your Helpouts listing or Helpouts profile. The HTML code for the button will appear; copy and paste that code into the HTML of the page where you want the button to appear.

And finally, if you regularly upload YouTube videos you can promote your Helpouts through annotations. Using the same Promote menu mentioned above, choose for your promotion and select which videos you’d like to add your message to. When you’re ready, click Add Annotations. This is a great way to cross-promote your content, especially if your YouTube videos get a lot of traffic.

Your content strategy is never complete. As social media continues to evolve and new features get introduced, you’ll make changes to your strategy. Video content, specifically Helpouts, creates a unique connection between consumers and brands while ensuring that your expertise is highlighted. And now that Helpouts is available for iOS, viewers have even more opportunities to watch. If you’re interested in offering Helpouts and haven’t already received an invitation, you can request a code today.

[Image credit: Garry Knight]