A pair of new social media applications were launched for smart phones recently amid the buzz of the annual SXSW interactive festival. Meerkat, a live video streaming service, was first to launch in February and less than a month later Twitter released its own version, Periscope, in March.

How do they work?

The two apps work in similar ways – you open them and start a live video stream which is linked to Twitter. Twitter can then send out a tweet to your followers letting them know what you’re doing, to draw people in. Soon your network will be watching and typing comments that appear on the screen in real time, giving you instant feedback, asking you questions, or directing you to record point the camera at something else in view.

More on Periscope …

  • Periscope lets you explore social networking by watching and creating live video broadcasts.
  • When a broadcaster is live they are sharing video, audio and location(optional) with viewers
  • Viewers can interact with broadcasters in real time using messages and hearts.
  • In-app notifications alert viewers to live videos or by links posted on twitter

You can view the Periscope website at: https://www.periscope.tv/

More on Meerkat…

  • Everything that happens on Meerkat happens on Twitter.
  • Streams will be pushed to followers in real time via push notifications.
  • Everything is live, no reruns.
  • Watchers can restream any stream to their followers in real time.
  • Scheduled streams will be distributed in the community by subscribers.
  • Your own streams can be kept locally on your phone.

You can view Meerkat App’s website at: http://meerkatapp.co/

Why are they relevant?

As both apps are connected to your main Twitter handle, if you have an active Twitter following, you are in a good position to connect with them directly using live streaming services.

Depending on the focus for your business, harnessing a new channel for communication could be a worthwhile pursuit to boost engagement.  Do note however, that despite the hype surrounding the new genre, audience and user numbers are still relatively small compared to mainstream platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

So who’s winning?

Twitter very rapidly blocked Meerkat’s social import function to gain the follower list of the main Twitter account, ensuring that it’s own app, Periscope, would be more user friendly and able to access users database of followers to share content and interact with.

What is so game changing about video content and live streaming?

Video has a stronger impact than other content types and on top of this, live-streaming content is watched for 10 times longer* than on-demand video.

So introducing a new media channel has the opportunity to make a big impact on digital marketing via social media.

Live streaming can add personality to your brand voice. Most brands’ social media channels are simply a logo with traditional image, video or text-based content. With live streaming, an amateur content piece can create a real, meaningful and personal relationship with your social community, and create a real point of difference.

Business opportunities for using live streaming

There are myriad possibilities for businesses using live streaming technology in the market. Traditional objectives for the marketing communications team are achievable in a very direct way, an impromptu press conference for example is just minutes away, with your CEO answering questions as they’re asked by your viewers.

Other uses could include debates and suggestions on a range of topics – think free focus groups – and gaining feedback on company performance. Weekly podcast type videos could be designed to give interactive tours of the office, meeting the work teams and introducing the real people behind the corporate logo.

For the business: The immediacy and vulnerability that come from live and raw video is not to be discounted, it certainly adds to the level of transparency and trust that you as the company has for your audience which helps to build that sense of community that businesses need with their consumers.

For the consumer: On the other hand, having access to your favourite company or brand on social media means that you will never miss out on product launches, events and live runway looks fresh from the dressing rooms.

About the Author:

Luke Wade, 3rd year Bachelor of Public Relations Student

Currently working with the team at Pitstop Marketing while I’m finishing the final year of my degree in public relations. Getting some hands on experience and exposure to the wide world of strategic marketing is really exciting, and building me up for a future career as a communication pro. 

 

* http://www.ooyala.com/resources/live-streaming

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