Is Blab a ‘Trust Accelerator’?

Published on Author Eli Fennell


Mark Schaefer of Schaefer Marketing Solutions is really excited for Blab.  By Blab, I mean Blab.IM, the new multiparty, interactive video chat and show creation platform, with strong ties to Twitter.  Blab has stolen the show recently from Google Hangouts On Air, Meerkat, and Twitter’s own Periscope.  Mister Schaefer is so excited about it, in fact, that he even created his own show, The Marketing Companion, and took to Blab to discuss what a great tool Blab is for discussing stuff (including Blab).

Mark isn’t alone in this view, by any means, many people in the video marketing world especially are getting excited about it.  A market clearly exists for a platform for doing Live multiparty online video shows, with interactive audience participation, and the ability to record and share the video for later use, using basic technology everyone has: webcams, microphones, and a PC or mobile device.

Of course, Blab can also just be used as a standard multiparty video chat tool, and some do use it this way, but what gets marketers is excited is the power to make a Live show, with audience participation, and the ability to record and share the video to share it later to other sites like YouTube.  So we’ll limit ourselves to discussing blab as a marketing and business tool.

Towards the end of Mark’s first show, which showed some of the hallmark technical glitches inevitable in this type of format (i.e. audio feedback), his guest Evan (despite rewatching the clip several times, I never did catch a last name, which is one of the risks of a Live and unscripted show) suggested that Blab was a ‘Trust Accelerator’.  This statement stunned the panel.  It influenced them enough, apparently, that it became used as the title of the article about the panel show.  It didn’t surprise me, however.

Is Blab a 'Trust Accelerator'?Click To Tweet


I’ve made a guest appearance on a Blab show, but have never hosted one, however I’ve been a guest dozens of times on Hangouts On Air shows, which are the same principle, i.e. talking heads format.  I even used to host a short lived Hangout On Air show, as well, but quickly lost interest in the format, and now I only appear as a guest when asked by someone.  The work to set up and promote one was, for me, not worth the reward.

I’m not a Life Steamer, so I don’t have much interest in Meerkat or Periscope, either.  There may be marketing opportunities to be found there, but like anyone else, I have to know where my limits are, and the one-to-world broadcasting format of the latter two is one I’m unlikely to master.

The reason I’m giving my own background is to disclose where my sentiments and biases lay: I have some experience hosting internet shows, a fair amount of experience appearing on them, and moderate experience being an audience participant.  I also have no dog in the fight of who wins this battle.

Based on what I’ve seen personally in the marketing community, Blab has certainly captured the spotlight.  The battle over Hangouts On Air vs. Meerkat and Periscope, which was always Apples to Oranges to start with, has gone fairly quiet, with each settling into its respective niche.  The town, so to speak, is all aquiver about the new arrival, and everything else has faded to the background.  The blab about blabbing with Blab is thunderous.

The blab about blabbing with Blab is thunderous.Click To Tweet


On the other hand, I remember a similar excitement attending the arrival of Google Hangouts On Air.  I remember the passion and enthusiasm of the early community, and how responsive the development team was in those days.  I remember when a Hangout host, if he was the first one to do it, could host a show about how to do your laundry and get huge audiences.

There are still Hangout shows and Hangout hosts and those preaching the new gospel of the Hangout, and there is and has been real value to be gained from using that broadcasting platform.  If Blab has staying power beyond this early period of enthusiasm, it might give them serious competition in the same niche.  Yet, the real value remains not so much in the platform, but in the effort put in.

When you scratch the surface, success through Blab or a Hangout On Air or a YouTube Show or a Podcast or any other piece of content you share online is down to the efforts put into promoting, sharing, producing, distributing, and even repurposing the content as smaller clips, written transcripts, blogs based around all or parts of the content, and more.  In the hands of the right person or group of people, an hour of video can become the raw material for an entire marketing campaign.

It also depends on the efforts you put in to build and connect with audiences, reaching out to and following up with leads, demonstrating authority, and generally doing those things that are in your business interest to do anyways.

Like any form of video, seeing someone ‘Live’ or even through Prerecorded videos can help with the Trust building process by demonstrating that you are, in fact, human, firstly, and secondly that you look like whatever profile pictures you’ve been using online to represent yourself, and that your knowledge and communicative style are basically consistent with what you put out there.

This doesn’t so much accelerate trust, as it helps you to get past a person’s most basic defensive mechanisms.  We’ll call this ‘The Fear of Getting Catfished’, and while obviously underdeveloped in some people (or there wouldn’t be a show to inspire the name, right?), it is the reason most people didn’t give any money to that Nigerian Prince or try to cash out their winnings from the Spanish Lottery.

This isn’t a revelation, though, unique to Blab, it’s the basic argument, in fact, in favor of virtually all video marketing.  We ‘Trust’ a living, breathing person and respond to them differently than we respond to words on paper, or simple audio recordings.  We ‘Trust’ real people more.

We 'Trust' real people more.Click To Tweet


Again, though, we don’t really trust them more, as much as we distrust them less.  To say we trust them because they’ve proven they’re human is like saying we trust a person to drive without giving them a driving test just because they’ve proven they’re the right age.  Proving you’re a real person is a starting place for trust, not the checkout aisle.

Proving you're a real person is a starting place for trust, not the checkout aisle.Click To Tweet


Nor is a Blab show the only or necessarily best way to prove you’re a real person.  There are other platforms, as well, like YouTube or Hangouts On Air, and other formats besides talking heads such as simple monologue videos and video shows with only one host, and each type has their advantages and disadvantages.  At best, Blab is well designed to capture only the first type: talking head shows.

The key to winning trust is being trustworthy from the start, of course, regardless of which platform you market with.  Being honest and forthright in your dealings, open about your motives, fair and consistent in how you conduct yourself and your affairs, and generally being ‘On the Square’ are what make the difference between a real person of business, and a snakeoil salesman.

Trust is to Blab marketing what stock is to chicken noodle soup: a necessary ingredient.  You need it from the start to produce the desired result at the end, but it no more Accelerates Trust itself than a good stock accelerates the soup.  It will save you time, but you still have to prepare everything ‘to-taste’.

There is no magic here.

Trust is to Blab marketing what stock is to chicken noodle soup: a necessary ingredient. Click To Tweet