Google puts it simply: "Real help from real people in real time." The company that has given us a search engine, self-driving cars, and smart glasses now offers Helpouts. Instead of watching a how-to video on YouTube, you can interact with and receive advice via video chat. You just search for a topic and sign up for a Helpouts session. Some Helpouts are free, while others charge per minute -- with 20 percent of the fee going to Google.
To provide the brainpower behind Helpouts, Google has gathered more than 1,000 experts in the fields of arts and music, computers and electronics, cooking, education and careers, fashion and beauty, fitness and nutrition, health, and home and garden. These folks aren't just the average Joes who have a few hundred views on YouTube. They're individuals with advanced degrees, hobbyists, self-taught careerists, and other gurus. And brands are getting involved as well via brand-sponsored experts.
In this article, we'll take a look at a few of Google's pilot brand partners and discuss how others can get in on the action to market their products and services.
Ever heard of Kitchit? It's definitely not a household name. The company brings the feeling of a restaurant to your own kitchen. Through the company's website, you can hire a local chef who will cook you up a meal, cater a dinner party, or provide you with a private cooking lesson.
Kitchit offers more than a dozen Helpouts, including Q&As with their own professional chefs (some known from the show "Top Chef Masters"), basic tutorials like "Knife Skills 101," and even one explaining how to get full use of a Vitamix (a very expensive blender, in case you didn't know).So what does Kitchit get out of it?
No, the company doesn't sell Vitamix products. And roughly just $15 is made for each video watched -- not significant for a medium-sized company. So why be a part of Google Helpouts?
Well, people who request these tutorials obviously have an interest in cooking, and so Kitchit is a service right up their alley. Google Helpouts is a great way for Kitchit to get its name out to this tribe of chefs in training. And those who can afford a $400-plus blender or those fancy kitchen knives can probably afford (and are willing to pay for) a professionally cooked gourmet meal.
This makeup retailer has more than 15 Google Helpouts -- many of them free. Unlike Kitchit, everyone (or at least every woman) has heard of the company.
Sephora offers many makeup tutorials, such as "Introducing Color" to your eyelids and how to get "The Perfect Lip." A professional will walk you through the steps in approximately 30 minutes, using, of course, Sephora products.
So what does Sephora get out of it?
Most the tutorials are free, so Sephora does not make much money from the sessions. But it does introduce the brand and all the products it has to offer those interested in makeup. Viewers can use their own eye shadow, lipstick, and other beauty products, but it would come as no surprise if the beauty experts explain the importance of quality products during the Helpouts.
Oh, and there's a nice description of the company below each video. Highlighted is its work with Louis Vuitton, the 1,700+ locations in 29 countries, and its more than 14,000 products available.
This weight loss and maintenance service offers just three Helpouts, but they'll still have a significant effect on the company's marketing efforts. Three free Helpouts are available that any dieter would appreciate -- one on affordable healthy eating, another on sticking with your weight-loss efforts at parties, and the third on eating out nutritiously.
During these Helpouts, a Weight Watchers specialist will give advice to help viewers choose healthy foods, no matter the situation. With more than 85 reviews on one (and almost 5/5 stars), the company has proven that people love these Helpouts.
So what does Weight Watchers get out of it?
Incorporating timely sessions, such as the "Party-proof your weight loss," will help consumers connect with the brand -- and it could lead to an increase in brand loyalty (especially early in the year, with all those weight loss resolutions).
Weight Watchers prides itself on being a "healthy lifestyle" and not a "diet." Teaching people these basic nutrition skills shows those interested that it's really not all that hard; anyone can do it, and everyone should sign up.
How other businesses can get involved
Just because your business isn't one of these pilot partners doesn't mean that you can't be a part of this new marketing tactic. Google Helpouts is asking for experts to share their knowledge and to host their own Helpouts.
You need an invitation, but if you request one now, you could soon be hosting your own Helpouts. If you are an expert in a specific field, offer your help live to the web so that you can share your knowledge and your brand.
Rose Haywood is an internet tech writer, social media junkie, and freelance marketing consultant.
"Portrait of pretty happy young woman," image via Shutterstock.