How to Use Whale – The Video Q&A Platform
Whenever a shiny new thing gets released, FOMO (fear of missing out) just completely takes over. I have to get on it and check it out. I see it as my job to spend hours messing about until I understand it, you know, just so you don’t have to. Most new platforms get about an hour or so before I rule them out, but for some reason, I’ve become rather enamoured with Whale – a new video question and answer app. In this post, I’ll attempt to summarise how to use Whale, and the benefits I perceive it bringing to businesses/personalities.
If you used to live stream illegal TV shows on Justin.tv, you’ll already be familiar with Justin Kan, for it was him that created it. Kan also created Twitch, which he sold to Amazon for nearly $1bn (git).
What is it?
The premise is simple: anyone can ask a question of any other user on the platform. The person answering records their answer on Whale via a 60 second (max) video. The questions and answers are then stored against a user’s profile so others can see them.
But there’s a unique twist. Users can choose to charge for answering questions if they wish. Anyone wanting to ask such a user a question must pay to have it answered, and the person answering receives that amount, minus a fee taken by Whale. Immediately, Whale have monetised the platform (smart) and created a mechanism for users to also generate revenue. Some users are charging to answer questions – these tend to be people who have a certain level of influence, where people would pay to have a personal video targeted at them. Most users don’t charge. Market forces are clearly at play: if you don’t have a certain level of influence already, it’s in your interests to answer for free and increase the number of questions submitted to you.
How to Use Whale?
Here’s my guide to using Whale, to get you up and running quickly.
Setting Up Your Profile
The first thing you need to do is set up your profile. This is important as you really want people to ask you questions that you can answer – of course, you can answer anything you like, but it’s better to have some kind of focus, particularly in your area of expertise.
You’ll need to usual type of info to enter. I shan’t bother going through each one here. Suffice to say that you need an email address to sign up, and you’ll be asked to link your Twitter account too so you can share your content (smart move, Whale). Linking Twitter is a great idea, it will copy across your Twitter bio, saving you time. You can then edit it in Whale if you wish.
Create a Tagline
One thing you definitely need is a tagline. This is what appears to people when they are browsing other users. Similarly, this info is searchable. Thus, if someone is looking for a social media person, it’s good to have the words ‘social media’ in your tagline. See how mine reads ‘Gets technical about social media‘. I want to answer questions on technical elements of social media, but naturally I’ll answer any question I’m posed. It’s not a bad idea to say ‘Ask me about [insert topic]’. The key to growth on Whale is answering questions, so don’t let people guess, be direct.
Choose What to Charge
Edit your price. Think carefully about how much your answers are worth and whether paying a fee will put people off.
The best way to learn is to observe. Go and search for topics that you are interested in. Find people who are answering questions and take a look at their videos.
If you see a padlock symbol in the top right of the video thumbnail, you’ll need to unlock the video using your Whale coins that you earn, well, just for being on the platform from what I can gather. You’ll receive a notification whenever you receive more coins. Once unlocked, your video will play and you can replay it as many times as you like.
If a user seems interesting, you can follow them and you’ll see their future Q&A in your home feed.
Ask a Question
Now it’s time to ask a question. The hardest part I’ve found is coming up with a question to ask – you don’t want to sound like a noob. I look at a user’s area of expertise and think of something I genuinely want to know. Asking for an opinion is good, and safe.
Questions are posed via text so, if you’re a bit camera shy, you can just rattle off your question without thinking about what you look like. Once submitted, just wait for it to be answered. Not literally though – you’ve probably asked someone in another time zone. Whale will send you a notification when your question has been answered.
Answer a Question
Woot! Someone thinks you’re interesting enough to ask a question of you. Time to think of a cool answer. Remember, you only have 60 seconds in your video so either talk fast, or be succinct. You don’t have to respond straight away, but if you’re charging for answers, you need to respond within 48 hours of the question being posed.
If you’ve used Snapchat or Musical.ly, you’ll be familiar with holding the record button whilst you record your video. You can patch sections together so you don’t have to do it in one take. If you’ve messed up, you can delete that section before confirming the answer video and uploading. Swipe for filters! Voila, you’re an influencer!
Engagement Strategies on Whale
Sometimes, I want to ask a follow up question, or have more of a dialogue with someone. Perhaps it’s the social media consultant in me – you know, all that harping on about engaging your followers and building relationships with them. There’s no ability to carry on the conversation other than to ask follow up questions. I wonder whether there will be a demand for this, or whether that then risks it becoming something the creators of Whale don’t want it to become.
What I have established from the couple of weeks that I’ve been using Whale is that users will receive questions if they ask questions themselves. So, find people who you would like to ask you a question and fire one over to them. There are no guarantees of course, but most users are not that busy to not ask questions if they are providing answers to others.
If you receive a great answer, I’d encourage you to share that answer on Twitter/Facebook etc. The person answering your question gets tagged in the post/tweet, which in turn encourages further dialogue. You’ll also find that you may start to get more questions from some people.
How Should You Use Whale for Business?
I think this comes down to whether you use your personal brand for your business. Most users I see are people not brands. Obviously a person has to front the video, so you can either have one person fronting it, or take it in turns for your team to answer the questions.
If you work in a sector where lots of questions come up, Whale presents an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise in the field. For example:
- A food coach could answer questions about nutrition
- A travel expert could help point people to the best locations
- A fashion store owner could talk about latest trends
I’m following a fracture surgeon – he answers questions about new techniques, the impact of Google on the medical discussion between patient and doctor, all sorts.
I’m loving this platform, it’s so much more interesting than recent newcomers like Anchor or Peach. I love receiving questions – which are excellent – and I love only having to spend a minute responding. It feels authentic and I genuinely feel as though I’m helping people.
As an early adopter, it’s possible that I may be seen as a trusted resource on the platform, which in turn will give me greater reach in other platforms.
Justin Kan has a great pedigree of great apps, and this one looks great so far. Having said that, the shiny new thing syndrome is ever present, so you’d better check back in a year’s time to see if I’m still using it.
Don’t forget to come and ask me questions on Whale: www.askwhale.com/add/bizpaul