I've found a new social media addiction. It's been so long since I've been this excited about an app, and I'm really hoping this one sticks around... it's called Whale and it's a Q&A app that feels a little like a hybrid of Snapchat, Ask.FM, and Twitter.
What's not to love?
Here's the concept: ask a text-based question to a friend, influencer, or expert on the platform. Then, they answer it in video form. The catch? Answers have to be under a minute long. AND, you can set a price for your questions. They default to free, but there are plenty of reasons why you might want to charge (see below.) I've only been on for a few days and have under 20 followers, but I've been really enjoying listening to other people's answers so much that I don't mind that I haven't gotten many of my own.
So besides being really fun, what's the point? For one, it's a great networking app. I've already connected with a ton of social media professionals, entrepreneurs, and coaches that I sure wouldn't mind having in my corner. I've also learned so much by asking questions, from how to appear more professional to not trying to win at every social platform. And if it's bringing value to me, I know it will bring value to others. So hop on it while it's new, and start thinking about these tactics now:
Maybe the most obvious use for the platform, demonstrating your expertise for a certain topic can help build your brand - earning you clients and connections. I knew right away that I wanted to brand myself as a Social Media Marketer, not to say that I won't answer questions about other topics or my personal life, but I want to focus primarily on what I do. I have plenty of other channels where I connect with my tribe on a more personal basis, from taking pictures of my makeup on Instagram, to vlogging my daily life on YouTube, so I wanted to make sure my Whale followers got a special glimpse into the tricks of my trade. And don't think you need to be an expert to answer questions... what does 'expert' mean, anyway? One of the coolest things about this app is getting to hear other perspectives and bounce ideas off of each other. You never know who you'll learn from.
If your business offers services, why not try teaser consultations or audits via the app? Just ask users to leave their URL in your question... I could see this working for a number of other services, including web design or social media. Keep in mind, this might be a great way to build a following on the app, but you have to be sure to hold up your end of the bargain. Don't offer a free audit if you can't follow through. Create a plan for if you get swamped with requests, and the payment feature might be a good way to filter through to find serious leads. Even charging just a dollar can help separate real prospects from freebie-holics.
P.S. I'm trying this! Leave links to your social channels in your question and I'll give you a quick list of suggestions for improving your social strategy!
Developing a new app or service? A key part of that is listening to user feedback. Whale could make a super fun, interactive virtual focus group. The CEO of Whale occasionally answers questions about the platform on his account, and I'd guess it's providing him some really great insights. In addition to benefiting your business development, it helps form a bond with your users and lets them know that you're really listening, and that you really care. Put a CTA in your bio letting people know that you want feedback and see what kinds of questions and comments come in!
So far, I don't see any restrictions on this in the Terms of Service, so another great way to help build your profile would be to solicit questions in exchange for a contest or giveaway of some sort. Maybe someday I'll give away a 1 hour consulting call to a random Whaler who leaves their socials for my free mini audit. Perhaps you could choose a winner to be featured on your website, or to takeover your brand's Snapchat account. There are a ton of possibilities, but either way - giving away something desirable will help you boost traffic to your account, helping you gain more of a following on the platform.
If I ever gain a sizable following on Whale, this is definitely on my agenda. Although I've been quietly making donations for the Flint water crisis and Detroit Public Schools on my own, for months I have been brainstorming ways to get you guys involved, too. If you have a cause you care about, consider advertising that for a period of time your questions will cost money, and that you'll donate all of the proceeds to the cause. Obviously, you'll need to work on proving yourself as a thought leader and building your following before this tactic would work, but it's something to keep in mind if you care about giving back.
What do you think - any other ways you would like to see Whale being used?
If you don't have a profile yet, make sure to download the app here.