Blab.im

Blab is Social Media’s Newest Platform: Is it Right For Your Business?

Imagine Twitter, Google Hangouts, YouTube, webinars, and reality talk television all rolled into one and you have a notion of social media’s newest platform, Blab. Blab launched in beta about three months ago and already geeks, nerds, social media specialists and technophiles have flocked to Blab and are blabbing about –well, everything.

Blab is a live streaming video platform that allows up to four people on screen to video chat, publicly. The screen is split into four, and new people can be brought in as others rotate out. A lively text chat stream accompanies the video chat making it really engaging. It can get slightly chaotic, but it may also be the right social tool for you and your business.

You might immediately think Blab is similar to Google hangouts or Skype Group calls, but its power is its simplicity. Even in beta, Blab is slicker and more seamless than either of the other two.

To join Blab all you need is a Twitter account. If you don’t have one, go to http://twitter.com and find the sign up box, or go directly to https://twitter.com/signup. Enter your name, phone number, and a password.

Click ‘Sign up for Twitter’. Done.

This integration with Twitter is a powerful feature. While on the platform, you can simply click ‘tell a little bird’ and Blab automatically live tweets for you. A nifty little ninja tip, is that if you ‘tell a little bird’ while a high profile ‘guest’ is onscreen, Blab will post to their feed as well, promoting your conversation to an even wider audience.

Once you’re all signed up for Twitter, go to Blab.im and follow the directions to sign up. You can cruise through the listing of Blabs currently ‘On Air’, scour the replays for topics you love or simply set up and host your own Blab.

To follow a Blab, you click a subscribe button. This gives you entry to the Blab chat room and the stream. You are notified when the Blab goes live, and you receive a replay of the Blab in your email. So? What is it that makes Blab a potential business tool?

Far more interactive than Periscope or Meerkat (two recently released live streaming apps), Blab facilitates candid conversation between real people happening in real time.

The potential for businesses, organizations, and brands is off the hook. Imagine real-time live chat with customer service reps, or how-to discussions for product launches. What about interviews with thought leaders in your field or local or neighbourhood online town hall meetings?

From my perspective, Blab is better than reality TV, and potentially highly addictive.

On the cautionary side, keep in mind is the dictionary definition of blab. As a verb it means to reveal secrets by indiscreet talk. Be careful out there.

Note: Blab is not Safari friendly – use another browser, Chrome or Firefox are fine. Also, you’ll want a mic. The one on your earbuds will work, and you’ll want those, too.

Vicki McLeod is a founder of the Social Chicks, offering social media tips and training. She is the host of Everyday Happiness: The Pajama Podcasts and hosts a weekly Business Blab called TGIF. She is a business and personal coach and consultant. Find her at www.mainstreetcommunications.ca

This article was originally published in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows TIMES newspaper, where Vicki writes a monthly social media column.

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Steve Dotto Todd Maffin Rebecca Coleman

Blab.im – A Simple How-to Guide by Vicki Chick

Blabbing About Blab

Here’s the simple skinny:

All you need is a Twitter account. If you don’t have one, create one. It’s very simple. Click here for instructions. Then:

  • Go to Blab.im where you can follow me and you will get the directions to sign up for the platform.
  • Click SUBSCRIBE to join scheduled Blabs. You can join any Blab this way. At showtime, simply go to to Blab and the broadcasts will show in the ON AIR now section. If you’ve subscribed you will receive a notification that the Blab is live.
  • By SUBSCRIBING you will also automatically get  reply of the Blab in your inbox if the host has recorded it. Nifty, right?
  • You can participate in the chat, or click JOIN NOW and to ask to come onscreen and join the conversation.
  • Stuff to know: Use a mic and a headset of some kind. Your iPhone earbuds with built in mic will work just fine.
  • You can ask question that will be highlighted in the chat by typing /q before your question
  • You can share the love by clicking ‘tell a little bird’ and tweeting live during the Blab
  • Note: Blab is not Safari friendly – use another browser, Chrome or Firefox are fine

For more about Blab and how you might use it in your business or life, check out Episode 15-37 of the Everyday Happiness Pajama Podcast where I blab about Blab (on Blab) with Steve Dotto, Rebecca Coleman and Todd Maffin. It was my first one. Fun, right?

I’ll also be hosting a weekly #TGIF Thriving or Surviving Business Blab. You can check out the replays by clicking here.

Steve Dotto Todd Maffin Rebecca Coleman

Includes how-to’s in the final segment.

Smooches!

Everyday Happiness. Not just a good idea. It’s a podcast. Listen to Vicki and guests weekly on PLV Radio. Join the #everydayhappiness conversation.

What Not to Wear: A Social Chick and Her Wardrobe

MISSION: Show up in style to Social Media Camp.
ACTION PLAN: Hire Brianna Carson of What Would Audrey Wear? for a wardrobe analysis and action plan for a mindfully crafted professional wardrobe.
RESULT: More than I bargained for & a lesson in what scares me about shining like a star.

This year I had the lucky fortune of getting acquainted with a personal style coach.  That’s right, a PERSONAL STYLE COACH!  What’s that, you may ask?  Let me allow Brianna Carson of “What Would Audrey Wear?” answer this one for me:

Brianna Carson of What Would Audrey Wear?

“I specialize in assisting professional women aged 20-60 communicate effectively with their wardrobes, helping them to get that dream job, feel confident representing their business, or enable them to feel authentic with who they are and how they present themselves in all area in their lives.”

I have had an eclectic collection of clothes for quite some time now.  I have three younger sisters and a lot of very giving friends.  I am given a lot of clothes and have, over the years had a bit of a revolving door on funky finds.  Clothes come in and out depending on what catches my eye.  Some are given to me and in turn, I give some away.  As a result, I don’t feel that my wardrobe has been crafted mindfully with intention nor is it very cohesive.  I just pop on items that make me happy which often means cozy (read: leggings) or ready for anything (read: jeans and a t-shirt).  Being in a professional and rather social industry, one can only go so far with tights and jeans.  It is with this in mind that I approached Brianna to assist me in putting together some signature items that I could feel comfortable in and show up in style to Social Media Camp.  Suit up and show up.  Little did I know what I was really in for…

We started by doing a full wardrobe analysis which comprises of pulling everything out of the good ‘ol closet.

Wardrobe Analysis

We then went through each piece and answered the following key questions:

1.) Does it suit me
2.) Do I ever wear it?
3.) Is it trashed/faded/old?
4.) Does it need to be hemmed or fixed or dry cleaned?
5.) Does it fit with where my mindfully crafted professional wardrobe?

There were a few exceptions.  My old VW Rabbit shirt was allowed to stay in a sentimental pile as were many of my wear around the house and gardening clothes.  Many of the items I had were old and worn, didn’t suit me (color was off, didn’t fit right, etc.).  I had a few that needed to get dry cleaned which Brianna took care of for me.  No excuses now.  I have a couple of hand-me-downs which are super cute but need some TLC by a tailor – in comes Brianna to the rescue.  She just happens to have a go-to tailor that lives close by. It’s a match made in heaven.  Brianna also made a few rules for me.

Rule #1 – No more shopping where teenagers shop or accepting cheaply made hand-me-downs that don’t fit.
Rule #2 – No more “fun” pieces – looking for anchor pieces now.

Brianna put together five signature outfits for me that I could wear right away, without any shopping.  My wardrobe needs anchor pieces (think: boyfriend jeans, plain tanks, plain shirts, LBD – little black dress, flats, and sandals).

5 Key Outfits ready to go

This entire process was not an easy one for me.  To break it down in bite size chunks for you, I had various different thoughts such as:

1.) Who am I if I don’t wear these clothes?
2.) She says people are going to notice me – that’s scary – so now I have to really stand in my power (read Marianne Williamson’s quote on truly being in our power – our true *fear*)
3.) Does this mean I need to face “ultra-maturity”?  Check out Vicki McLeod’s Main Street Page for home truths about maturity.
4.) Can’t I be professional and funky at the same time?

All of these worries were mulling around in my head as I went to bed that night and in the morning I received this email from Brianna:

So I was trying to categorize you least night and put together a lovely little plan but it just wasn’t working.  I took breaks, I looked at more pictures, I even left the house to clear my head: nothing!  I could not figure your style out for the life of me.  So then I went to bed, and I dreamed of you.  no joke.  And you know what I realized?  YOU ARE NOT CATEGORIZABLE!  You, Karina, are the first client I’ve ever had who defies category.  You’re amazing!!!  The only other person like that is me, ha!

So here’s what I’m going to do: today I work on the guts of Karina style.  Cool, sophisticated, creative, fun, and a little vintage.  I’m hoping to finish today, but wanted to update you.  Oh, and I found some vintage pieces of mine I’d love for you to try on.  This is gonna be SOOOOO GOOD!!!!!!
I have to admit that my ego LOVED this email!  I thought, “Yes! I’m uncategorizable! I knew it!”  Don’t we all want to be unique?  After spending some time mulling over said worries and this follow-up email, I started to feel the excitement of a fresh start.  A new, mature, professionally minded, powerful, ready for anything woman!  Me?!?!  Yes, me!  It took me long enough to get to adulthood but I feel that it’s happening and it’s happening in a mindful and beautiful way that doesn’t compromise the creativity, curiosity, and laughter of my childhood years.
Brianna gave me so much more than I bargained for.  It’s not just about a new wardrobe or getting rid of a few items, it’s a clean sweep and a new start meeting me right where I am and supporting my growth.  I even got my own Pinterest board that she set up.  What an awesome way to be supported through the journey.
Our deepest fear
RESOURCES: 
What Would Audrey Wear? – Web.  Facebook. Pinterest
Vicki McLeod – Maturity, Mindfulness, Coaching, Consulting (the social chick too!):  Web. Facebook. Twitter
photo
Karina Cebuliak
Designer, Web Architect, Social Media Marketer & Trainer – Social Chick too!
   
The big selfie from #CIMC2015

Tip Top Tips from CIMC2015

The big selfie from #CIMC2015

The selfie , courtesy: Sunny Leonarduzzi

After an amazing weekend at the first annual Canadian Internet Marketing Conference in the raw beauty and majesty of Squamish, B.C., my head is full, my brain muscle stretched and my heart (yes, my heart was involved) full and happy. It was an amazing opportunity to hobnob with many of the people and experts I have connected with in the land of Social Media. I am really looking forward to Social Media Camp in May as well as next year’s already booked CIMC2016.

In the meantime here is my knowledge take-away, which I happily pass along to you. You are welcome;)

 Over-arching weekend theme:

Five main topics continued to repeat throughout the weekend, a common thread if you will. It pleases me to no end that these were the themes that were repeated because it tells me that I’m in with the right crowd, thus happy hearted:

  • Build relationships! It’s People to People, not Business to Business or Business to Consumer. We’re dealing with people.
  • Know your customer. No matter what you’re doing, get it down to a mad crazy science of knowing exactly whom you’re doing it for.
  • Data, research, stats…Rinse, Repeat. Data is important, know it, study it, learn from it, and be better. If you don’t know how or don’t have the time, get someone who can and will.
  • Grow, change, adapt with the times.
  • Be kind & do good. Use your marketing power to make the world a little bit better.

There were so many great moments from CIMC that I’ve decided to have fun with it and write a series of blog posts instead of trying to explode your mind with a cornucopia of my fan favorites.   Throughout the next couple of weeks I will be blogging about the BEST of CIMC2015 – think BEST of SNL but without Lorne Michaels (well, without any of those cast members…we shall have our own). I’ll try not to reminisce like a giddy schoolgirl back from summer camp but full disclosure, that’s how I feel so it may come out here and there. I look forward to blogging again soon with the top tips from the Panel speakers.

Oh! Guess what else?! Jelly Marketing and Marwick Internet Marketing along with many others have put together a Certified Digital Marketing Certificate!  Check it out and register for Beta. 

Until then, make it a great day!

karina-cebuliak

Karina Lauren Cebuliak
@thekarinalauren
@thesocialchicks

Social Poaching: Reducing Friends to Fans and Followers

THE TIMES: Feb. 19, 2015 by VICKI MCLEOD

In her book The Joy of Missing Out, Finding Balance in a Wired World, author Christina Crook poses the question: “What are people for?” She poses it in the context of online relationships and whether or not we see other people simply as consumers. Her book is thought-provoking and challenges us to think about whether the arms-length nature of digital communications is removing us from meaningful engagement and ultimately, what it means to be human.

Her insights are timely. As the digital and social media space becomes more crowded, we are forced to ask ourselves what are the ethical, social and cultural norms that will govern our behavior online? Where are the boundaries?

Most of us in the field adhere to a core set of principles grounded in transparency and authenticity, and teach businesses and individuals we work with to apply fundamentally the same social ‘rules’ and etiquettes online as we’d apply offline. What’s different in business is that we are not used to this level of transparency.

Social media has heralded not only a new way to communicate, but also a very different way to do business. A tension is emerging around the application of traditional business tactics in this new medium.

post_friends

Recently, a crop of tactics have emerged on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that could be considered ethically dubious, or at least inauthentic. In short form, we call it friend- or social-poaching. A familiar term from junior high school days, but with potentially more serious implications than hurt feelings or social exclusion when it comes to business.

Essentially, it is a Friends-of-Friends strategy to gain more likes, fans and followers to increase access to potential market and grow email contact lists. It involves monitoring the feeds of influential friends and strategically liking and commenting in online conversations followed by a direct friend request. Usually a canned or packaged invitation is sent via a private message to your personal profile or business page asking for more direct engagement. Largely, these interactions are initiated solely for the purpose of eventually making a sale.

It’s a kind of network marketing that can be very effective. But is it right?  Many in the field don’t endorse this tactic as a way of building relationships online. It takes advantage of genuine trust and real relationships built on shared personal or professional interests.

Given the power and reach of digital ecosystems, not only are friends vulnerable, but so are hard-earned business contacts, particularly those that happen to be friends, too. Because your social media feed is the point of introduction, you essentially become complicit in reducing your friends to the status of consumers.

According to Ronald Sharp, a professor at Vassar, “… social poaching stems from an inappropriate or distorted view of what friendship is. It views friendship as a zero-sum game, or as an attempt to maximize your resources. It converts the natural generosity of friendship into a kind of investment.”

Me, I’m in favour of an abundance of generosity, along with openness, trust and transparency, and I prefer not to reduce friends and clients to simply fans and followers. Which brings us full circle to the question we must ask ourselves, in this wired world: What are people for?

Vicki McLeod is a Maple Ridge Social Chick , the  host of Everyday Happiness: The Pajama Podcasts and is a business and personal coach and consultant. She is a speaker at the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference in March, and is happy to answer your social media or business questions. Find her at www.mainstreetcommunications.ca

Energy & Social Media

Your Energy and Social Media

Going with the theory that everything we experience, touch, feel, or interact with has energy, I wanted to focus on how this translates to the world of social media.  Have you ever walked into a room and, after a moment, wanted to walk right back out?  On the flip side, have you ever met someone for the first time and immediately felt a connection as though you’ve known each other for years?  This is the energy of which I speak.   It’s an unspoken force that we are both giving and receiving.  To quote the great Ralph Waldo Emerson,”What we are speaks louder than what we say” and this translates just as well in person as it does through online social channels.

Energy & Social Media
Sending emails, tweeting, posting on Instagram, updating your Facebook status all carry an energetic language that is translated to those of us reading it.  Posting or responding to emails while carrying anger, resentment, fear, anxiety, or stress can translate to carrying that energy with the post and to the public.  Like a passive aggressive state of being, often the receiver is well aware of the underlying anger but frequently does not know what caused it.
Cleaning your energy before responding, tweeting, or emailing will result in a clearer and cleaner outbound energy.  As like attracts like, what you put out there, you will get back.  If you are finding that you are feeling tense, upset, tweaked, or triggered, often just walking away and taking a breather in the great outdoors can loosen the ties that are binding you. Sometimes, a deeper cleanse is needed.  Journaling, processing your thoughts with a close friend, going for a run, or for deeper issues – seeking help, can shift the energy within you thus creating a ripple effect in all that you do.  There are so many ways to ground yourself, re-focus on what is really important and then approach the great big world of social media with a clean brain and a settled heart.
What energy are you feeling today?  What energy would you like to put out to the world?
Your Savvy Chick,
Karina

Some resources for clean energy & space: 
Nicole Short at Inner Freedom Now for a DEEP energy cleanse:
Tracey Lewindon at Nature’s Heart for Art Journaling:
Kathleen Hatley – My Clutter Coach: Change your space, change your life:
emergegrowprosper’s YouTube Channel (focuses on clearing for sensitive people, but aren’t we all?)
Beyond Purpose’s YouTube Channel – Quick 5 Minute Meditation:
A Yoga Love Minute with VickiChick

A Facebook Rant Goes Viral

Last week I had the opportunity to speak at Women’s AM, a gathering of local business women who meet for breakfast once a month. They asked me, generally, to talk about social media. It’s a big topic and I decided to focus on what it means to be successful with social media.

Success in social media depends on effective content. For content to really connect with clients, customers and key audiences, it has to resonate.  And if content resonates in a big way, it will go viral. Viral, unfortunately, can’t be planned. It happens, and when it happens the results are usually unexpected.

Sean Smith, my colleague and friend from Campbell River is navigating the turbulent waters of instant online success after his personal Facebook rant about BC Ferries went viral last week. Being a social media coach, Sean is better equipped than most to deal with the overwhelming results of one tiny little post, but there was no way he could anticipate the online outpouring and reaction his “Dear BC Ferries” post generated.

He was sitting at the breakfast table, thinking about his frustration with the BC Ferries system and he decided to post his thoughts while eating his Cheerios.  His post hit a nerve and he had 4000 likes and 1800 shares by dinnertime – and comments, lots and lots of comments.

By day two, the phone started ringing and news reporters were calling. To date. Smith has had more than twenty media interviews, and estimates total likes and shares in the 90,000 range and guesses there are close to a million views.

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I know Sean, and he does not shy away from the spotlight. At the same time, he’s become part of what he describes as “Joan of Arc syndrome”. Says Smith, “I am now the focal point of everybody’s expectations and the unintended leader of the pack.”

Sean doesn’t know where the pack is going. He has no agenda beyond keeping the conversation going and hoping it leads to change.  As That Social Media Guy he both teaches and preaches the power of social media to create meaningful dialogue and promote change.  His viral rant brings both huge expectations and a huge opportunity to extend engagement on the topic.

In response, Smith has launched a Dear BC Ferries Facebook page devoted to conversation about change in the BC Corporation, and promoting the #bumsinseats hashtag. As a result of Smith’s post, the BC Ferries page went from 800 visits to 8000 within a week.

Social media success indeed. The spin-off potential for BC Ferries and for related businesses that seize the opportunity could be significant.

Smith’s story is partly inspirational and partly a cautionary tale. As he says “You can’t plan viral. It happens, but when it happens it’s important to have a strategy in place for how to deal with it.”

Based on his example, I’ll continue to coach clients to look for ways to resonate and engage with large audiences to promote products, services and ideas and at the same time I’ll caution them to be prepared sudden success.