Hey there Business Bloomers!  

As you probably already know, I host classes, workshops and consultations held via Hangouts, Google’s face-to-face video conferencing app. I know, I know, the video needs to be updated, it mentions some free classes I taught in 2013.  Just, you know, gloss over that part 🙂


About Hangouts and Hangouts on Air:

I also host my own twice monthly, live streaming video show, the TGIF Business Networking Hangout, which is created, for free, using Google’s Hangouts on Air.  Hangouts on Air are Hangouts that are broadcast live on YouTube!

Hangouts on Air are automatically recorded and then archived to YouTube when the broadcast is over.  Hangouts On Air  can also be embedded into web sites and posted to social networks.

There are LOTS of awesome ways to use Hangouts and/or Hangouts on Air to promote your business!  HOWEVER, you must have a Google account to use them.  Signing up for a Google account is free and easy, and this post will walk  you through the process.


This post will show you how to do 4 things:

  1. Create your free Google Account
  2. Add me to your Circles
  3. Send me a message so I can add you to my Circles and invite you to join the Hangout
  4. Get into my Hangouts!


1. How to Create a Free Google Account

First, go to http://accounts.google.com.  You will see this:

Google create account / sign in screen


If you have a gmail account, sign in using your gmail username and password.

If you don’t have a gmail account, click the “Create an Account” link under the sign-in box. You’ll get the screen shown below, where you can create your account.  Use your real name when creating the account, and if you are planning to promote your business it’s a good idea to use your name for your username too. You’ll want to make it easy for people to find you after all. You’ll create a new Gmail address in the process.

Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 4.04.26 PM


Once you’ve filled this out you’ll be taken to the screen shown below and asked to add a photo.  This is important, especially if you have a name that many people might have. When people search for you, there will likely be multiple results, and your photo is how they will identify you amongst all the other Jane Smiths.


Add photo screen


For now, let’s just go on to the Next step – you’ll have another chance to add the photo in a few more steps. “Next step” will bring you to this screen:


Welcome Screen


Quick Tip: Click on the little profile picture icon at the top right of the page. In the photo above the arrow points right to it and it is a “blue head.” This is how you can easily find your profile from any Google property, such as Google Search, Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail, etc.  When you click on that little blue head icon from any of those pages, you’ll get this little pop-up profile box and can click the “View Profile” button to get to your Google+ profile.

For now, click on the little profile icon again to close the pop-up window and then choose “Get Started.”


View Profile image



2. Add Me to Your Circles

Now I’m going to show you how to find someone (namely, me!) and add them to your Circles. Circles are how you organize the people you follow on Google+. It’s sort of like creating groups in FB. You can have a circle for friends, another one for family, another one for wine lovers – create Circles for however you want to organize your connections.

To find me, start typing my name, Meilani MacDonald, in the field as shown below. When you start typing, people who match your search term will start to pop up.

Find people screen


When you see my profile, click on the “add” button next to it. As shown below, you’ll see a little pop-up box giving you the option to check the Circle you want to add me to, or to create a new one. So, you could add me to your Following circle, or you could click the blue “Create new circle” link and create one called Business Consultants, for example.


circles pop-up screen


After you’ve added me to your Circles, click the “Continue” button at bottom right. You may get a “You might be lonely” message – just choose “Continue anyway.” You can always go back and add more people later.  You’ll get to the screen shown below, where you can upload your pic and fill out some preliminary info.


Be awesome screen


When you are finished here, click the “Finish” button and you’ll be taken to your new profile page.  If you land somewhere else (because things change a lot, lol) just remember the trick of clicking on your little profile icon at the top right of Google pages to get to your profile.


3. Send Me a Message

By now you’ll be on your profile page and will see something like the screen shown below:

Profile page


Since you added me to your Circles in step 2, you’ll see me listed like in the photo above.  To send me a private message, click on the Post box at left where it says “Share what’s new…”  Begin typing a message to me. When you type my name, first type the plus symbol “+” before my name, and this will cause my little hover card to pop-up when you are typing, as shown in the photo below:


send message screen


Click on me and you’ll see my name added to the post, in blue type with the plus symbol in front of it, like this:  +Meilani MacDonald.
My name will now be a clickable link to my profile. It will also add me in the “To:” field, so when you share the post it will be shared with me.


nessage bix


Also, when you plus mention someone like this, that person will get a notification alerting them to the post or comment. So when you share this post, you will share it with me, AND I’ll get a little notification of your message so I’ll be sure to see it.

Having you in my Circles makes it easier to invite you to join in any Hangout classes, so please be sure to do this step and send me a message!  

Please let me know if it’s ok to add  you to my TGIF and Notification Circles.  The TGIF Circle gets notified for posts having to do with guests and topics on upcoming episodes of the TGIF Business Networking Hangout and receives invites to join in. The Notification Circle gets notified when I make posts about business topics like social media, marketing and business strategy planning. Also let me know if you want to be invited to any upcoming free classes!

Ok, now there’s just one more question you might have…


4. How Do I Get Into the Hangout?

We are set to do a Hangout class or consultation, and you are ready to join the Hangout. How do you do that?  Good news…it’s easy!

1. Sign in to Google

2. Go to my Google+ profile page at

3. Scroll down and look for a post with a “Join Hangout” button.
It will look something like this:

Join Hangout post



Click on the “Join Hangout” button and it will take you into the Hangout window. If it is your first time in a Hangout, you will be prompted to allow the mic and cam plugins to install.  Allow it, it will only take a minute or two and then you will be deposited into the Hangout room!  Woohoo!