The viral nature of Meerkat and Periscope is sure to change how consumers and brands use social media and will most assuredly disrupt the traditional broadcast media. Now anyone with a mobile device is able to broadcast as a citizen reporter for the world to see. But as Meerkat vs. PeriscopeMeerkat and now Periscope make live streaming content on social networks plausible, the real story for brands may be much bigger.

Fewer Networks, Richer Engagements

There’s a shift taking place—a move away from the regular frenzy surrounding the “next” new social network to a discussion on the next breakthrough app or functionality for an existing social network (for example, Facebook Messenger or Instagram Layout) or from a third party that layers on to an existing. Brands have been using social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter for years to engage and connect, and the use of social media by brands has extended from traditional marketing to also include recruiting and directly drive sales. In lieu of expanding to new platforms, mature social media teams are looking for ways to consolidate and improve efficiency of their existing networks.

That’s the beauty of the Meerkat and Periscope phenomenon: It offers the ability to leverage existing investments in a way that brings greater transparency and efficiency and fresh new ways to engage versus creating and maintaining a new platform.

Look at Meerkat. Although it may be positioned by some as a net-new social network, the functionality that appeals to customers is its ability to integrate closely with Twitter. Even with Twitter restricting access to its social graph, the promise of Meerkat has been its integration on top of Twitter. For brands, it’s easy to dive in on this opportunity because there’s less commitment than starting from scratch again.         

Augmenting the 24/7 Appetite with Trust

Consumers and brands alike are experimenting with fierce intent on these platforms. But one thing is perfectly clear—tapping into the 24/7 appetite of customers who are getting bored with traditional networks makes sense. Folding real-time video into a social experience and reaching people with live content where they like it most—their phones—is a win for brands.

As seen in the Edelman Trust Barometer, brands can increase consumer trust through transparency, lifting the veil to behind-the-scenes action. Much more so than a pretaped, edited video that offers a glimpse into the culture or people behind a brand, real-time, unedited video removes the potential for disbelief driven from editing or filters. Instead, consumer receive a clean view of the organization. This does require discretion for brands, but if used properly, it can augment brand trust.

Regardless of the victor in the battle between Meerkat and Periscope, both are representative of the new wave of technology enhancing brand engagement and potential to increase trust. And both are building on existing platforms making the investment for brands much simpler.