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.

Unmasking the ‘dark social’

Are you familiar with the term dark social?

While you might think it refers to the shadowy side of social media and Internet use, it is actually a term coined in 2012 by Alexis C. Madrigal, a senior editor at The Atlantic, to refer to the sharing of content that occurs outside of what is measured by web analytics programs.
Examples of dark social include links copied and pasted into emails, instant messages, or shared via text message.
So what we’re talking about here are links sent through online chat or other means rather than via a social media platform, from which referrals can be tracked.

Why is this important?
If you’re relying on your website or Internet-based marketing to track leads and determine how and where to spend your online marketing budget and resources, it means that the data that you are collecting may not accurately reflect the traffic sources to your site.
This is a vital component of the metrics that are used to devise marketing strategies and budgets and measure effectiveness.

Dark social sharing also offers insight into how we behave online.
In many ways the increased use of dark social reflects pre-social media and certainly pre-Facebook era habits of social Internet use where chat, forums, email, and instant messaging were the norms for digital social communication.
The numbers are fairly staggering.
In a more recent article Madrigal explains that with a push resulting from the insanely popular Facebook mobile app, upwards of 50 per cent of mobile external traffic is coming in to websites lacking a referrer.  Madrigal’s research explains that the app does not provide specific referral tracking the way Facebook on the desktop does, but that there is a direct correspondence between app usage and increased website visits.

This means we don’t know for sure where the traffic is coming from – but we do know, according to Madrigal, that “Facebook has a much tighter grip on website traffic than anyone thought.”  This tells us that playing nice with Facebook, at least in terms of our outbound marketing efforts remains important, particularly in light of the massive use of mobile devices.
This holds true, regardless of whether or not we can actually track Facebook via metrics as the source. It means we need to make sure that websites – the heart and soul of online communications – are mobile responsive and integrated.
It also tells us that there is still a significant preference for one-to-one direct communication versus the wide-open public nature of most social media platform use.
In other words, we don’t want conversations to be public, and we don’t want them to be tracked.

The Challenge
The challenge for marketers is understanding and identifying traffic sources in order to replicate success and increase and measure market share.
Dark social makes it incredibly difficult to demonstrate return on investment (ROI), if we can’t track the actual traffic.
This points us back to the fundamentals: know your audience, create authentic, engaging, high-value content that resonates with the target market and is highly shareable. Keep it real, and they will come.

We just won’t know where they are coming from.

Vicki McLeod is owner of Main Street Communications and is happy to answer questions. Send them to her through http://www.thesocialchicks.com.

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

Pyramid of Focus & Strength

How to be Authentic in the Noise of Traffic

“Conformity is doing what everyone else is doing, regardless of what is right.  Morality is doing what is right, regardless of what everyone else is doing.”  ~Evette Carter

I recently saw the above quote by Evette Carter and it really resonated with me and the journey I’ve been on as an entrepreneur.  In the world of social media marketing there is a LOT of noise out there.  This really could be said about many industries or areas of life.  In the 1970’s there was ONE book on raising a baby.  Fast forward to 2015 where you get  62,600,000 results in google about “raising a baby”.  The very same could be said about the world of social media marketing.  Everywhere you look (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ and more) there is someone who is an “expert” or who has unlocked the secret on being a successful social media marketer.  It can be very confusing if you don’t have a compass and a map for where you want to go.

Enter conformity, morality and authenticity.  It’s tough to be authentic if you don’t have an anchor on who you are and what your morals are.  With this in mind, think of a poor sailor making his way in a choppy ocean.  He’s not sure where he’s going as he doesn’t have his final destination figured out yet.  He can’t remember why he went on this journey and he doesn’t really even know what crew he’s got with him.  Now, imagine that every land mass he passes looks lush and green and has billboards just calling his name,

“Come this way for free rum!”

“Don’t keep going, rest your weary legs in our motel! Free breakfast!”

If our sailor had no idea what he was looking for, who his crew really was, nor where he was headed, would he not stop at every land mass?  It’s easy to see how one could easily get swayed into any free advice or headline with this sort of unanchored approach.  To quote a Katy Perry song, “I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything.”

I, as this sailor, had no anchor and yet I knew who I was.  I didn’t want to dock at every island looking for the “magic” key to social media success.  I didn’t even think that my definition of success was the same as the collective conscious might be.  So, I set out to define exactly what my anchor and map was.  Who am I and what do I stand for?  It is this map that will define everything else that I do.  If I am approaching a new project, a new campaign, a new client, a new contract, I will put it through my Pyramid of Focus & Strength.  This will determine that I am staying on course, not straying off course.  This pyramid helps me to maintain my integrity and authenticity to self which strengthens my business morality and contributes to a feeling of success and worth.

pyramid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you do to stay your course?

In love & service,

Karina, Savvy Chick @thesocialchicks

Canadian internet marketing Conference

2015 Predictions from Our Peeps

So what’s up in the world of digital marketing and social media in 2015? Collaboration, integration and content according to presenters and organizers of two of 2015’s “do-not-miss” events, the Canadian Internet Marketing Conference (CIMC) in March, and Social Media Camp in May.

Darian Kovacs of Jelly Marketing, CIMC organizer, points to the emergence of cross-pollination between fields. He predicts more collaboration, integration and involvement between traditional, print and digital. More interactive ads versus passive ads, resulting in more engaging websites and experiential public relations.

“2015 will be the year metrics and data become sexy again.”

Business Growth Strategist, Bosco Anthony concurs. Says Anthony, “Brands are going to emphasize storytelling with meaningful contextual campaigns. We are rapidly seeing content engineering evolve. Content distribution channels will be a major focus to drive engagement, reactions and conversions. Monetization paths will be discovered in the process. I am boldly predicting marketing will evolve as an integrated platform where both online and offline channels fuse. 2015 will be the year metrics and data become sexy again.”

No argument from Maple Ridge’s Cadi Jordan who sees us getting more strategic in partnerships and thinking outside the box to share stories. She predicts people will see the value of varied content across social media platforms and an increase in content whether blogging, using video or cross-pollinating content via guest blog posts.

Yes, says Ricky Shetty, The DaddyBlogger who foresees more brands working with bloggers as a highly effective and cost-efficient way to get the message out about products and services.

Canadian internet marketing Conference

“Schools will add Social Media education as part of curriculum”

That Social Media Guy, Sean Smith predicts social media will find a place in our education system. Says Smith, “Schools will add Social Media education as part of curriculum, teaching safe use, etiquette and professional development. It may be more of a dream, but I think we are getting there.”
Social Chick, Karina Cebuliak shares Smith’s wish. Said Cebuliak, “Kids these days know more about what’s going on online than their parents do. A supportive knowledge base for parents would be awesome.” Cebuliak adds that we’ll see more online traffic than ever. All ages will look to social media for reviews, online shopping, ideas, and connections. Websites will integrate more social media and blogs to stay current with an ever-changing market.

Paul Holmes, co-founder of Social Media Camp predicts Twitter usage/traffic will decline year-over-year, while social media maven Rebecca Coleman, forecasts continued growth in video and social media that features beautiful images. She notes the speedy growth of Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram.

“On and offline we’ll build relationships and expand our sphere of influence”

Speaking of Instagram, Sue B. Zimmerman, author of Instagram Basics for Your Business, declares 2015 as the year of the collaborative community. Says Zimmerman, “On and offline we’ll build relationships and expand our sphere of influence from communities outside our own. We’ll be more relaxed about sharing what we do and who we know. I call it ‘lead with giving.’ In this evolution of how to do business, everyone wins.” She also points to the hashtag as the anchor of the social media revolution. A single hashtag connects a conversation across Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Google+. From these conversations, communities are quickly formed; people with common interests unite, and this becomes the place where businesses conduct powerful market research. Integration, indeed.

Vicki McLeod is a Maple Ridge Social Chick and is a business and personal coach and consultant. She will be 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.  

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.