Guest post by Shashwat Pradhan, BlackBerry Elite Developer, Co-Founder of ReFocus Labs
BBM Channels is available on all BlackBerry devices with invokable APIs from your applications, but what does this mean for developers?
Social media is an important medium for marketing apps and engaging with your users. Not only is BBM the most important instant messaging service for BlackBerry users, but it has become an even more engaging social platform with the introduction of BBM Channels.
BBM Channels extends that same BBM experience beyond your close circle of friends. Since Channel posts are visible in BBM updates, it is a very quick way to reach out to many users.
Advantages of BBM Channels for Developers
BBM Channels allows you to provide information about your app and its features to other users. It can replace or supplement landing pages, since a BBM Channel is easily accessible can be used to post a variety of rich content.
From my experience, BBM Channels provides a higher user engagement than other social networks because of its mobile-first, easily accessible format. Many apps use push notifications to engage with their app users. This can be replaced by BBM Channel posts, which is a much more unobtrusive method to reach your app users.
Another great thing about BBM Channels is that if you share a BlackBerry World link on your Channel, it will directly invoke your application page on BlackBerry World. This feature is helpful since it enables you to guide and convert your subscribers to download your app.
One of the most important features of BBM Channels is chat integration. Using chat, your users can contact you on a direct basis giving them the same BBM experience with BlackBerry’s signature “Rs” and “Ds”.
Chat integration is useful for giving users instant tech support and information about your app. It can also be used to help explain features or solve queries, which will eventually increase your app rating and customer satisfaction levels.
Personally, my favorite part about BBM Channels is that it extends the native BlackBerry experience through a simple invocation, which I’ll explain below.
How to get users to subscribe to your BlackBerry Channel
Begin with sharing your BBM Channel PIN on your current social networks with a QR code and invite your BBM contacts to your Channel.
A very effective way to get your app users to your BBM Channel is by invoking it through your app. You can build a simple page in QML or HTML (as shown below) with Channel details and an invocation button in the action bar. This allows your app’s current users to reach your BBM Channel, and it is also a great way to engage and interacting with them.
Apart from your app’s users, other BBM users can find your Channel on the search bar via your Channel’s title and description, which is great for organic growth. If you consistently post high quality content on your Channel, there is a good chance your Channel may be verified and featured, which will rapidly increase your subscriber base.
BBM Channels has a great social feature to repost content from your channel, which is another way to increase your subscribers.
Content is King on BlackBerry Channels
Use you app’s name as the Channel name and the app icon as the channel profile picture. The description is also very important for organic discovery.
BBM Channels support text posts, images and gifs. To begin, you can post information about your app and how to use it, with screenshots and illustrative images. From my experience, gifs are more engaging than images and text.
Posts asking for feedback, opinions and asking other questions create a high amount of user engagement. Focus on building a community rather than just talking about yourself or your app; the most important thing is to get a conversation going. An interesting way of doing this is by posting user generated content like screenshots or how they are using your app. Measure engagement through likes and comments.
BBM Channels can also be managed through the BBM Channel Manager online.
You can check out four of my BBM Channels to see how I’ve been using the BBM social network:
- Max Secure Software (C00047112)
- ReFocus Labs (C002FEE57)
- Pastry Push (C00147102)
- ARKick (C0001CB83)
Also, there are some other great app developers that are getting the best out of BBM Channels:
- S4BB apps (C0010CD54)
- Messenger (C0041A5C5)
- Instavenue (C00120DBB)
How are you using BBM Channels to promote your apps? Share in the comments below!