Social Media

What’s With the Buzz about Blab? The Social Network That’s Getting All the Attention

Blab.im seems to be the latest buzz in the online marketing world, but it’s actually considered a social network designed for everyone and everything. Whether you have business goals in mind or not, the new live chat platform seems to be full of features to help you pass the time as well as learn a thing or two, about whatever you want, from users around the world.

I recently tried the platform for the first time and set out to not only figure out how Blab works and why it can be beneficial for your marketing team, but also find out what all the fuss is about. Is it really going to be the next big thing that continues to grow, or does it seem like another platform that will fizzle out?

How Blab Works and Getting Started

Blab works similarly to Google Hangouts except anyone can join live conversations. You can simply visit the platform and type in a topic you’re interested in learning more about, and then you can choose between a list of live Blabs already happening or a Blab that is scheduled (more on this later).

Note: Keep in mind is that Blab is still in the Beta stage, so it’s not readily available just yet. You can only access the platform on your Chrome browser or download it in the Apple App store for iOS users (it’s not yet available to Android users). Hopefully this will change in the future, but for now time to finally start using Chrome!

The video participants are limited to four people, but anyone can go in and watch and engage in the conversation. In other words, if you’re not on video yet (or don’t want to be), you can still interact with those who are on camera by typing in your comments using a side bar. Below shows a screenshot of how it works:

blab-1

Now there are several different features at play here.

  • Hand icons. As you can see, there are little hand icons next to each speaker. Viewers of the chat can use those hands to show whether or not they approved of a statement or something the participant said. The larger the number next to those hand icons, the more authoritative or influential that speaker is on Blab.
  • Viewers and watchers at the top of the screen. If you hover your cursor over the circles at the top, which represent the images of users involved, you will see that person’s Twitter profile. This makes it easy to connect with anyone and everyone involved. If you click the little person icon it will show you a list of the total viewers, and the eyeball icon shows those who are watching living.
  • The sidebar. As discussed above, the sidebar on the right-hand side is where those watching can add comments and links to help the conversation.
  • Social channels of the video Blab-ers. As you can see, on the actual videos there are the Twitter handles of each of the speakers. This makes it easy to click and add them to your Twitter community.
  • The Call In option. This occurs when there are not four people in the Blab conversation. Instead of a video like you see above, you would see a “Call In” button instead.
  • Off the Record. In the upper right-hand corner you can see that the conversation is off the record. This means it is not being recorded. Of course if it were being recorded, that would let you know!
  • Questions. If there is a question you want to ask the host or a guest, you insert /q before typing your question. This will then go into the questions queue on the left-hand side to make it easy to keep questions and comments separated (thus improving the likelihood of the question getting answered and not buried).

Anyone can start a Blab conversation, and it’s up to the moderator to accept or deny your request to join a conversation. Once again, the moderator is the one who has the option of either deleting the chat once it’s finished or recording it so people can watch it later.

Note: You’re going to have to allow Blab to access your camera and microphone. This was something I had a tough time with initially (as you can see by my chats in the sidebar above), but it should be easy for most people. If not, Ileane Smith, Basic Blog Tips owner and the expert in the top right-corner in the screenshot above, offered up this resource to help you make sure your sound works.

Getting Started with Blab

Getting started with Blab is as easy as signing up at the Blab.im official website and then creating an account through your Twitter. You then give your email address and you’re off. Once you have an account, you subscribe to the content and chats that are relevant to you by selecting the tags on the left-hand side. This will then filter videos for you. As you can see in the screenshot below, you can choose to search for On Air, Scheduled, or Replay videos through the tabs at the top:

blab-2

Notice you can also see how many people are a part of each conversation. To get involved, you simply click the conversation and you’ll see a screen like the screenshot in the last section and you can start using all of the features discussed.

If you want to create your own Blab conversation, you can see the purple button on the upper right-hand corner that says “Start a new Blab,” which you can see in the screenshot above. Once you do that you choose the topic and category and then send the link to the other person you want to have a chat with (the blog can’t go live unless there are two people ready to talk on camera). Below shows what the page looks like if you do click this button to get something started:

blab-3

As you can see you have three things to fill out—what you’re going to talk about, categories to tag, and when you want it to go live—so it’s pretty easy. I recommend checking out this article from Social Media Examiner to learn more about being the moderator if you’re nervous before your first time.

How You Can Use Blab for Your Business

Blab is a live streaming platform that allows you to not only have a live chat with your friends but you can actually publish that live chat on a blog so that visitors can tune in live.

Why Blab is Great

  • It’s great if you’re going to have a conversation anyway. If you and 4 of your co-workers were going to have a discussion about how to do something or about a topic, you may as well have it here so that you can get the exposure, make the social connections, and show off your knowledge.
  • You can see who is involved, which helps brand recognition. If you pop into a Blab conversation with influencers in your industry that you’ve noticed, this will help you connect with them and get your brand out there.
  • You can include links on the side bar. If you have a relevant blog post or page associated with your website, put that in the side bar to help drive traffic.
  • You can connect on social media easily. As discussed above, you should connect with everyone involved in a Blab chat if they’ve been active. Even from just my 10-minute session I already earned two new followers who were on screen with me.

How to Use Blab for Your Business

  • Create a daily talk show. Just as with a podcast or a YouTube series, having a daily (or weekly or monthly) chat can help you gain a following and improve brand visibility.
  • Offer links to help give advice. Again, you can include links in the sidebar. Use this to show authority and get people to visit your website. This is also about credibility as well, of course, so make sure any link you offer is relevant.
  • Embed Blab chats in blog posts. When you start a Blab chat (meaning you must be the moderator), you’ll see an Embed code just below the chat.
  • Upload conversations to YouTube. This also goes for YouTube, Instagram, etc. Wherever you think your audience could benefit, this is a great way to gain some more exposure and get creative on different platforms.
  • Get content inspiration from viewer questions. Actually go into Blab to join conversations just for the sake of education. You could learn something from participants, and worst-case scenario you’ll have a full list of questions that people want answered. Turn those questions into story ideas and content creation will be easier.

So to answer the question above: Will this be the next big thing in social? I would have to say yes. If businesses are using YouTube series and Google Hangouts, Blab takes those platforms and that level of engagement to a whole new level, but only time will tell.

Of course you could get much more advanced with Blab for your business, you just have to get creative and see what you come up with. Give Blab a try and let us know what you think in the comment section below. How would you use this for business? Do you think it will be the next big thing in social?

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