Live-streaming is currently one of the biggest trends in the social media world, so it’s no wonder Blab is becoming more and more popular by the hour.
In case you haven’t heard of it by now, Blab is a live-streaming platform that allows up to four people at a time to have a free video conversation. If you’re familiar with Periscope or Meerkat, you are guaranteed to love Blab, as well.
In this article, we’ll explain how it works, how to set it up and everything else you need to know about Blab, so let’s get started.
How to set up a Blab account
Blab is currently still in beta, so you are only able to access it on your PC/laptop browser, or by downloading the iOS app. If you have an Android, you’ll have to wait a little bit until an app is available. In the meantime, you can still access in on Google Chrome on your phone.
To sign up for Blab, you need to have a Twitter account. Once you authorize access to your Twitter, you will also be asked to provide a working email address. Blab is super easy to set up, because it literally takes 3 clicks to get it done. You can watch broadcasts even if you don’t sign up, but you won’t be able to comment or join.
Your name, profile picture and things like that will be the same ones you use for Twitter, so there’s really nothing else you need to do. However, if you wish to change any of these things, you can do so by clicking on the little arrow in the top right corner of your screen.
In the “Settings” section, you can change your name, email, profile picture and bio, and manage notifications.
In the “Profile” section, you’ll see the number of days you’ve been on Blab, how many people follow you and how many you follow. Also, anyone you follow on Twitter who has a Blab account will automatically be followed, so you don’t have to search for people you know.
The creators of the platform have really put effort into making it as simple as possible, which definitely shows. There are no complicated options and nothing that would make you pause. Setting up takes less than a minute, the interface is clean and simple, and so you can get right onto blabbing.
How to Use Blab
On the left side of the screen, you’ll see a box with tags. When you click on a tag, you’ll see everyone who’s currently broadcasting on that particular topic.
If you’re not sure what exactly you are looking for, you can always select more tags and more videos will appear. These are all videos that are currently on air, but you can also see replays and which ones are scheduled in the near future.
So, if you click on the “Scheduled” tab, you can see when the live-streaming will happen and subscribe to it by clicking the “subscribe” button.
To join a Blab, simply click on the one that you’re interested in and the stream will open. On the left side, you’ll see the name of the topic people are talking about and Twitter accounts of the participants.
On the right side, you’ll see a comment section. Anyone who joins is free to comment and even join the conversation. However, only four people can participate, so you can only join if there are less than four. The host also needs to approve it before you join. Also note that you can only join if the conversation is happening in real-time, so if you’re watching a replay, it doesn’t apply.
Now, if all the seats are taken, but you have a question to ask, you can ask it in the comment section. Simply add /q before your question, which allows viewers to differentiate what is a question and what is a comment. You can also favorite a comment by clicking a grey star next to it. It’s similar to giving props, only on a comment.
Speaking of props, they are what you’ll find in the bottom-right corner of the video feed of every one of the four participants. It looks like two hands with a number next to it. The number signifies how many props have been given to that particular person so far. To give props to someone, you just need to click on the two hands. Normally, you would do this when someone says something you agree with; it’s like showing support in a way, similar to liking on Facebook.
At the top of the screen, you’ll see a list with profile pictures of everyone who’s currently watching a live-stream. If you click on someone’s picture, their profile will appear and you can follow them. This will be really useful for finding new followers, because you’ll immediately see who’s interested in the same topics you are, as well.
When you subscribe to a broadcast, you’ll get a notification, but in case you’ve missed it, the Blab team has added a great feature that allows you to replay old broadcasts. If the conversation had been recorded, you’ll get an email notification, which makes it really easy to catch up with anything you might have missed.
To host your own Blab, click on the button next to your profile picture. You’ll get a window that looks like this:
You’ll need to come up with a title for your live-stream, choose up to 3 tags so people could find you and decide whether you’re going to broadcast right away or schedule your stream.
Once you do that, a new window will pop up that has a countdown timer and shows how your Blab “card” looks like. You can edit it, see how many people have subscribed to your live-stream and below it, there will be a link that you can send out to people, in order for them to join the conversation.
As the host, you are able to do several things that you can’t when you’re just a viewer:
1. Accepting/denying callers
While Blab is all about getting the conversation started, sometimes you’ll want to talk about serious topics or just include certain people. If you don’t want someone to join, you can deny them access.
2. Disconnecting guests
Let’s say that you’ve allowed for someone to join the conversation, but they turn out to be rude or are interrupting your broadcast. You can click on the “x” at the top-right corner of their screen and they are gone. It will come in handy in case someone is behaving inappropriately, so let’s use it as a reminder that we all need to be on our best behavior.
3. Excluding a viewer
Similarly to the previous feature, you are also able to prevent someone from being a part of your broadcast. While you can’t completely block them, you can prevent them from commenting and disrupting your broadcast in any way. They will still be able to watch it, though.
To block someone, click on the red button that will appear when you click on someone’s profile. Note that it only blocks the user for that particular session, not in the future, too.
4. Deleting a comment
If you feel that someone had written something inappropriate, you can delete their comment by clicking the trashcan on their comment. Again, behave yourselves, people!
5. Locking seats
Locking a seat is a great feature if you need to keep the conversation limited to a certain group of people. Simply click on the “lock” button that will appear when you hover over someone’s screen.
6. Changing the topic
As you are live-streaming, your topic of conversation might change. For this reason, they have added the option of changing the title of your Blab as you are live-streaming. That will allow for new people to join who might be interested in what you are talking about at the moment.
You also have the ability to mute either yourself, or someone else. If you mute yourself, no one else will be able to hear you, but if you choose to mute someone else, you won’t hear that person, but everyone else will still be able to.
8. Recording your Blab
As the host, you can record your Blab, as well. If at any point you go off topic, you can pause your recording and go off the record. This is a great option if you want the end result to be a cohesive conversation on a particular topics. Any interruptions will be excluded and the session will turn out much better.
When you’re done recording, you will receive links to audio and video recordings of your broadcast. You will also get a link you can post on your website or social media, so people could watch it in the future.
To end a Blab session, everyone needs to disconnect before you. So, either you’ll ask them to do so, or you will hit the “x” in the corner of their screens. This is important to mention because if you don’t and you end it, the session will continue without you, even though you are the host.
How to make your Blabs stand out
Since Blab is a relatively new platform, it’s still in the expansion phase and its creators are still developing it. That means that users have a lot of room to explore, find what works and what doesn’t, as well as find new ways of making their recordings stand out.
Still, if you’re new to Blab and want to know the basics, there are certain things that you could implement that will help attract more attention to your videos.
Creating a great title for Blabs
Never underestimate the power of a good title. Whether you’re creating an article, a blog post or writing a book, the title is usualy what will catch the attention of the reader. It works the same way with videos, too.
So, start with a title that tells your audience what’s the topic of the conversation and lets them know exactly what they can expect from watching it.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, you can change your topics during the session. However, the original title of it will also be the one that people will see if they watch a replay, plus, it will be the URL of your video. Therefore, make sure the title is precise, descriptive, accurate and seems interesting enough so that people will want to tune in.
Adding hashtags to your title
Since Blab is closely tied to Twitter, you will probably promote your session there. Because of the fact that people mostly discover things on Twitter through hashtags, it makes sense to include a few in your title, as well.
The best way to do this is to add one or two relevant hashtags. Don’t turn every word into a hashtag, because it will look spammy and don’t add general hashtags like #marketing; it needs to be specific enough so that it attracts the right people, but not too specific, otherwise, not a lot of people will actually search for it.
Promoting your Blab in advance
In the beginning, you probably won’t have a lot of followers on Blab. That’s why it might be better to schedule your session and spend some time promoting in on other social media outlets. While Twitter is the obvious choice, do whatever works for you.
You should also spend some time on Blab, just to see how other people are using it. That will give you a better idea of how it all works and what’s the most appropriate time to schedule a Blab. Keep in mind where the majority of your audience lives and what time would be convenient to them.
Asking friends to join a Blab
The more, the merrier, right? Besides social media, you can ask friends to join your session as it is happening. You just need to type their Blab handle (e.x. @techbloke) into the comment box, which will notify them that they’ve been mentioned. Furthermore, you can add a custom message asking them to join in on the fun.
Finding a Co-Host
One of the reasons why Blab is so great is that they have a great team of people behind it. They will participate in streaming and are generally really helpful and fun to interact with.
Now, if you are eager to talk about a certain topic but don’t have anyone to co-host with, the Blab team will come to the rescue. Send a Tweet to @BlabHostFinder in which you’ll explain your idea and they’ll help you find the right person to team up with. Talk about customer service!
Planning your Blab
Okay, so some Blabs are impromptu and don’t really have a purpose, but some of them are quite specific. If you’ve taken the time to schedule your session, invite people to watch it and found co-hosts, you also need to make sure you deliver.
It’s good to have notes or little reminders that you can look at periodically, just to make sure you don’t go off track. You need to respect everyone’s time and stick to what is relevant to the topic, because no one wants to think they’ll be watching one thing and get something else entirely.
So, plan ahead, make a list of things you’ll say, the questions you’ll ask and so on. You don’t need to read everything, but just have little reminders in case you get stuck. It’s live-streaming, after all; things could go wrong.
Engaging with your Audience
Blab is a lively community, so you need to treat it as such. During your Blab, you want to engage with your audience. Ask questions, respond to comments or add a viewer to the video stream – whatever you see fit for the type of Blab you are hosting. You’ll always get a better response from your audience if they feel heard and respected, so treat them that way.
Blab is a powerful platform and, although still in its early days, I have no doubt that it will only grow bigger and bigger. It’s useful, user-friendly, interesting and combines several great elements of other social media outlets. Plus, it’s fun and has great potential for marketers, entrepreneurs and startups.