As Business Wire’s director of social and evolving media, I get asked a lot about the future of social tech and which emerging apps are going to impact the social news distribution/consumption flow. Right now, that tool is most definitely Meerkat.
Meerkat is a very easy to use, point and shoot iOS application that allows users to share live video from their mobile devices. For today’s marketers, the opportunities provided by Meerkat for program amplification, and real-time news sharing is huge. Expect to see marketers use it to livestream media and consumer focused events and interviews, showcase product use, create meet and greets with executives, interviews and even provide real-time behind the scene sneak peeks.
Using Meerkat is easy! First you download the app and log in using your Twitter account. Meerkat will automatically find and link you with Twitter followers who are also using Meerkat, so right from the start you have fans and followers. Meerkat videos are not available for replay, although you can choose to save your broadcasts for additional content marketing use.
Meerkat offers two ways to livestream –in real-time or later, at a scheduled time.
To begin a livestream, aim your camera to feature whatever you want to show and start streaming. The app will then send out a Tweet to your Twitter followers, as well as a mobile alert to Meerkat connections, that you are livestreaming, inviting them to view your video. Meerkat users can then come and watch either via the Meerkat app or their web browser, with in-app notifications alerting you every time someone new joins in.
To schedule a livestream, click the schedule button, type in the time and date of your upcoming livestream and Meerkat will help you promote it by sharing this information via a Tweet sent from your Twitter account.
During your livestreams, you can engage with viewers via comments that are also pushed out on Twitter as a way to increase the visibility and potential engagement of and with your Meerkat livestream
The results of Meerkat livestream announcements on Twitter remind me of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. First, it coincides with Twitter’s recent move to allow users to embed Twitter-hosted videos on any website. As Twitter focuses on video sharing, don’t be surprised if you see more videos within your Twitter stream. While we cannot confirm it at this time, it would make sense for Twitter to change their news feed algorithms slightly to highlight this new feature.
In addition to Twitter’s own emphasis on video, Meerkat also taps into innate human behavior in two ways. First, when one sees an announcement of a livestream from a friend or connection, it creates a desire to click to see what is being shared. Secondly, with today’s consumers adopting visual communications, this is a perfect marriage between social media and video production, allowing them to watch the video live, as it is being made. Meerkat itself built in a point system to reward users for watching other videos, showcasing top viewers via a leaderboard. The gamified, viral nature of the tool, combined with the ease-of use, makes this a marketers dream – and just in time for SXSW.
With no costs associated with the service, and its ability to alert your followers of current and upcoming broadcasts, there is no reason marketing and communication pros should not be testing this tool to support a wide range of event, business, product and consumer-focused marketing program. Are using Meerkat yet?
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