We All Scream for Live Stream: How Apps Like Periscope and Meerkat Can Boost Your Brand

- May 1, 2015

Are Live Streaming Apps Right For Your Brand?In March, two new live streaming apps debuted to almost instantaneous success: Meerkat and Periscope.

Meerkat launched at SXSW in Austin, Texas, and quickly had celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Madonna, and Shaquille O’Neal as notable users. Less than two weeks after, Twitter announced that it had acquired Periscope and released the app a short while later.

Although there’s already been considerable debate over which platform will eventually “win,” one thing is for certain: The rise of Periscope and Meerkat has made live streaming easier than ever before. And, as such, these apps provide an excellent way to introduce video into your digital marketing strategy.

Before considering whether or not Periscope or Meerkat is right for your brand, though, it’s important to understand the features of each.

What are the differences?

At the moment, there aren’t a significant number of disparities between the two apps. With that said, there is one major distinction and a few smaller differences in usability that may lead you to prefer one over the other.

Periscope has access to Twitter’s social graph. If there is a considerable distinction between the two apps at the moment, it’s this. When Twitter launched Periscope, it cut off Meerkat’s access to its social graph, which essentially made it much more difficult for Meerkat users to connect with people they already follow on Twitter and much easier for Periscope users to do so. In response, a recent update to Meerkat has included a few new ways to find and follow users.

You’ll see and interact with comments differently. When viewing a stream in Periscope, the comments move vertically up the screen as more appear. Users also have the option of double-tapping the screen, which sends hearts from the bottom right corner to show that they “love” the content. In contrast, Meerkat’s comments don’t automatically filter up the screen and must be scrolled through, which doesn’t obscure the content on the screen.

Only one allows you the option to replay a stream. With Meerkat, there aren’t any reruns (as of yet). If you miss the live broadcast, you can’t watch it at a later time. In Periscope however, users have the option of saving a stream for 24 hours or taking it down after the live broadcast concludes. In addition, Periscope allows users to privately broadcast, a feature that Meerkat does not have.

Should your brand be using them?

As you might suspect, the answer to this question isn’t a simple “yes” or “no.” Whether your brand should be using live streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat depends on the type of industry and where you are at with your current social media marketing strategy.

Before diving in, you should consider questions like: Do you have a large Twitter or social media following? Is it an active community? Does your company hold events? Do you have experts or influencers that an audience would want to hear from? Are you sharing content that’s valuable for your followers?

Aside from thinking about questions related to your industry, company and social media community, it would also be wise to assess any potential legal concerns. It’s important to keep in mind that with any new technology there will undoubtedly legality issues that may arise with it.

However, if you answered “yes” to all the above questions and have carefully reviewed any potential legal concerns, then these live streaming apps might be a good fit for your brand. For example, if you are a hotel or resort with a loyal and engaged following on social media, then livestreaming your head chef making a signature dish could be an excellent way to use Periscope or Meerkat, as a way to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look. However, if your brand is just starting to post on Facebook and Twitter or you don’t have live events that an audience would want to watch, it would be wise to take a bit longer to truly understand your social community before diving into live broadcasting.

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