BBM Channels looks like Twitter on the BlackBerry messaging service. Android and iOS version are on their way
BlackBerry is hoping to capitalise on the current popularity of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) with the launch of BBM Channels, an integrated social network very much like Twitter.
The update is available for BBM users on BlackBerry 10 and some older BlackBerry smartphones, but it is promised that support will be added for iPhone and Android soon, with users of those platforms able to access the web version if they have a confirmed BlackBerry ID email address.
BlackBerry says users can create ‘channels’, which are effectively a page of messages and updates, linked to a BlackBerry ID. The service has been widely compared with Twitter.
Privacy settings allow users to limit their audience to their BBM contacts or to open their channel up to other people using the service. Comments can be restricted or subject to approval, while chats with non-contacts can be switched off or even limited to certain hours of the day.
The launch of BBM Channels highlights the benefit of BlackBerry’s cross-platform strategy as it is hoping to attract businesses to the service who will pay for increased exposure and engagement options.
Companies are able to send messages of up to 400 characters to their followers, while BlackBerry says it will allow firms to adopt a conversational, personal tone, and to offer exclusive offers and deals.
Business channels can be promoted through sponsored posts and invites, through QR codes on advertising or on BlackBerry’s ‘Featured Channel’ index. User engagement with each post can be measured through various analytics options, while companies can also purchase the BlackBerry Social Media Console for a fully integrated dashboard with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.
The success of the cross-platform versions of BBM has been a source of optimism within the company given its recent struggles, which saw it put itself up for sale only for it to abandon that plan in favour of a new $1 billion financing deal, the majority of which came from Canadian firms.
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