Are you wondering what in the world is Blab?
Have you found that social media often lacks the intimate engagement that you want from one-on-one or real time interaction with your customers and target market?
What if I told you that Blab (a brand new live streaming platform) will allow you to connect with your target market in a deeper and more meaningful way. Would you be interested in trying it?
The new live streaming video platform, Blab.im may be just the platform for you.
Blab.im is different from other live streaming video software such as Meerkat and Periscope as it allows you to have up to four people streaming at one time.
A good analogy to help you understand the difference is to think of live video streaming software such as Meerkat and Periscope like a presentation and Blab.im is more like a conversation.
Now you might think, well Google Hangouts does that. While Hangouts does allow multiple people to video stream at once, it lacks the ease of use, flexibility and engagement functionality that Blab.im has.
You do not have to have any technical background or knowledge to use Blab.im beyond having a Twitter account and a mobile device or computer with a camera and a microphone.
And Blab.im is as easy to use on a mobile device as it is on a desktop – perhaps even easier as your camera and microphone are built right in and the app removes the need to use a browser.
If you happen to be a bit shy (and who isn’t) having one or more co-hosts can greatly relieve any fear you might have about hosting one of your own. This platform is designed to feel more like a conversation, it is just one more that you can continue to have the conversations you are already having everyday with your customers and potential customers.
As I mentioned before you can have between one and four people actively participating in the video conversation at a time, whether you host it alone and have up to three audience members join you live or if you prefer you can have one or two co-hosts to help you and leave a spot or two open for audience members to participate.
Even if you are starting out with very small following, if you provide a place for excellent conversations about topics that are important to your market, it will not be long before your following starts to grow. In fact, you never know just who could show up in your blab!
Your audience members and participants really feel engaged and they can chat in the chat box and ask questions should they not want to appear on camera. This is how people can really get to know “you” which furthers your prospects ability to know, like and trust you.
While most businesses could benefit from the community building and engagement that comes from participating and hosting blabs, you will be most effective if you know what business goals Blab.im meets for you.
Reasons you might want to host your own blab include:
- Meet and build relationships with members of your community
- Meet and build relationships with experts and influential members in your industry
- Host interviews with people who your community is interested in (such as industry experts)
- Get feedback on ideas
- Discuss/provide solutions to common issues/challenges in your industry
- Your market and customers get to know the real you (know, like, trust)
- Hold your podcasts here
- Brand building opportunity
The most important thing to remember on Blab.im is to be yourself and to make your content approachable, interesting and engaging.
For those of you who are new to the platform or uncomfortable trying out new platforms, I am going to share a step-by-step guide to using blab on both your desktop and mobile devices.
Using Blab.im on Your Desktop
To join Blab.im, type blab.im into your navigation bar. A blue screen will pop up and you can choose to “Sign up With Twitter” or click on the “Nah, I’ll keep lurking” link (if you just want to check it out).
If you sign in with Twitter, you will see a purple bar appear at the top of the screen. If you want to receive notifications on your desktop about live blabs that are starting, you can click the “allow Notifications” button. If you do not want to get these notifications, click the “X” in the corner. Note, that this bar will appear each time you have to reconnect with Twitter, if you choose not to allow notifications.
On the home screen, on the far left is the Tags column. You can filter the blabs that show up on the page based on which tags you choose. You do this by clicking (or unclicking) on the tags you want to select. This is extremely handy because of the variety of different topics as well as the sheer number of blabs both upcoming, on air and in replay form.
You can search for a specific blab, host or community member, by typing the keyword or name you wish to search for into the Search for blab box at the top of the screen, beside the Tags. This will provide results for both on air, scheduled and replay results.
You may want to modify your settings depending on what emails you want to receive from Blab. To find your settings, click your image in the top right corner of the page and click on Settings.
On the Settings page you will want to select or unselect the different options found in Email Me, depending on your preferences.
You can also access your profile from the pull-down menu. Blab.im uses your Twitter profile to create your profile here, which you will see to the right of the page as well as your Scheduled blabs, Replays, Followers and the people you are Following.
To see who is following you, click on Followers. You will see each person in a box with their name, Twitter handle and bio as well as the number of followers they have. To follow someone, simply click on the white follow button below their profile. If you are already following them, you will see a purple button that says “Following”.
You can also see who you are following by clicking Following at the top of the page. See which of these people follows you back by looking for a small grey box that says FOLLOWS YOU, beside the purple following button.
Near the top of the page you will see a navigation bar that includes On Air (those blabs currently in progress), Scheduled (blabs that are scheduled for a future date that you can subscribe to), and Replays (blabs that have already happened and were recorded).
On Air Blabs
When you find a blab you want to watch, simply click on it and the blab will open. You can participate as much or a little as you want, as the platform provides you with many options to engage with the hosts and other participants.
On the right side of the page you will see the name of the blab, the name of the host (cohosts), the blab tags, whether or not the blab is being recorded, a blue button called “Tell a little bird” and then a list of tweets the participants have tweeted (from hitting the Tell a little bird button).
TIP: It is important to note that not all blabs are recorded, so if you want to ensure you don’t miss it, you should plan to attend live.
In the center on the screen you will see the video streams of up to four people. Each person is given a different color, which can be seen in the top left corner of their box. Here you can click on their name to learn more about them or follow them by clicking the little grey person icon with a plus sign.
You can also give each of the four people “props”. To do this, click on their video and you will give them what’s called props.. You can give as many props as you want to anyone on the screen. Props have no ranking value. They are simply a way to share a little “love”.
If one of the four spaces is empty and there is a “Join +” button, they are inviting participants on the blab to join them in the discussion.
If you wish to join, you can click the button and wait for the host to accept you. Before you consider asking to join, make sure that your camera and microphone are set up correctly.
TIP: If you are having problems when joining and your camera and microphone are working fine, changing browsers can sometimes correct this issue. If that doesn’t work, you can also try rebooting your computer.
On the right side of the page is the comment stream. This is the ongoing conversion in the blab by room participants. Here you can see who has entered the room. When a person enters the room (only the first time), a little box will pop up in the comments that says they have joined.
You can also see when a host comments as their name will be in their specific color, making them easier to identify.
If you are going to ask a question, you can make it easier to identify by typing /q Your Question Here (forward slash, q, space, then your question) in the comment box. Your question will then be flagged in the comments as a question.
You can also filter the comments to make it easier to see when other participants ask a question or add a comment with your Twitter handle. At of the top of the comments you can click Mentions to get a list of any one who has replied to one of your comments or written something directly to you. If you click Questions, you will see a list of all the questions that have been submitted as a proper question or you can hit All to see the full conversation going on.
When you find a blab you want to subscribe to on the scheduled page, you can simply click on the “SUBSCRIBE” button located at the bottom of the blab box.
You can also click on the title to take you to that blab page. Here you will see a timer that is counting down to when the blab starts. You can also click on the subscribe button here if you haven’t already.
Once you find a replay you want to watch, you can click the blab box to enter the replay. Just click the play button to start watching.
If you really enjoyed what you watched, you can still leave a comment (though the host may or may not see it) or tweet through Tell a little bird. You will also notice a list of related replays on the left side of the screen.
If you scroll down on the replay page, just below the screen with the video, you will see the stats for the replay, including the number of live viewers the blab had, the number of times the replay was watched and the number of times the blab was shared.
You will also see a list of all of the participants. If this was a blab that targets a similar market, this can be a great place to find people to follow. Check out the comments or questions that people wrote during the blab to help you decide if they are someone you think you want to follow.
TIP: If any of the people on the list look like potential participants not only can you interact with them here on Blab.im but you can also tweet with them on Twitter.
How To Host A Blab
To start or schedule a blab, click on the “Start a new blab” button located in the top right of the page, beside your profile image.
Begin by adding your title under “What are you going to talk about?”. You have a maximum of 80 characters to create a descriptive title that will tell people exactly what they can expect from this blab. Then you need to select between one and three tags which describe the topic. I suggest using all three whenever possible.
Next you can choose between starting the blab “Now” or scheduling it “In the future”. If you are scheduling the blab you can add the time and date (the time is based on your own specific time zone).
Once you have finished, you will be taken to the scheduled page for the blab, with the clock that counts down till the day and time you set.
On the day of the blab, simply go to the blab page and click the “START NOW” button to get the blab going. You will want to get on a few minutes early to ensure that you are able to add your cohosts and iron out any technical issues that you may have before your actual start time.
Using Blab.im on Your Mobile
Once you have downloaded the free app onto your device, head into the app.
You can scroll through the four welcome pages. On the forth page at the bottom, you will see a blue button that will let you login in with Twitter. Tap on this button and add your Twitter username and password.
To choose your tags and filter which blabs show up on the page, tap on the three lines icon located in the top left-hand corner of the screen and tap on the tags you want to select.
If you are looking for a specific blab, host or community member, you can simply do a search by tapping on the magnifying glass icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen and typing the keyword or name you wish to search for.
Tap on On Air to see all the blabs that are happening right now. Touch one to join and participate.
Similar to the desktop version, you will see up to four people live streaming, the profile photos of those viewing and the comment stream. At the bottom of the screen you can add a comment, click the bird icon to tweet out the blab, get info on the session by clicking the “i” icon or go back to the blab homepage by touching the home icon.
You will also be able to tell if the session is being recorded as a small red dot will appear on the left side of the number of viewers and people in attendance.
If you want to star or reply to a comment, simply tap on the comment. A grey bar will appear over the comment and you can give it a star or hit the reply arrow and add your reply to that comment.
Tap this to get a list of blab replays. You can watch the replay by clicking on one you want to watch. (To get out of the replay, click “Done” located in the top left corner of your screen.)
This is a list of all the future scheduled blabs. Tap on the blab you are interested in. This will take you to a screen where you can subscribe to that blab (hit the subscribe button), share the blab on Twitter (hit the share button), follow the blab host (tap the “+” button across from their name and image) or you can simply copy the link to the blab to share it elsewhere (hit “copy”).
Your Profile includes your Twitter profile, a list of all of the people you are following on Blab.im and those who are following you. To follow one of your followers, tap the “+” across from their name and image.
To start your own blab, tap New Blab, fill out each field and then choose either Now or In the future.
This gives you the basic tools to start blabbing, whether you are hosting or just participating. As there is still much to learn about how to use Blab.im effectively for business, this is the first blog post in a series of three. In my second post, Blab Etiquette (A Guide For Hosts & Participants), I will be covering some important blab do’s and don’t for hosts and participants as well as key participation strategies.
Are you blabbing already? Do you like Blab.im better than Meerkat or Periscope? Let us know in the comments below.
Follow me on Blab.im at blab.im/MelonieDodaro and subscribe to my weekly Blab show every Monday at 10 am PST (1 pm EST) with Lisa Larter.