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Meerkat VS Periscope – 7 Powerful Ways to Use Live-Streaming for Business

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association, Thursday, August 13, 2015
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By Matt Greener

Live-streaming video has suddenly burst into the limelight, with Twitter making Periscope available to the public and Meerkat announcing another round of major financing led by big name investors like Greylock Partners. Both apps provide a simple way to broadcast live video from a mobile device and the race for user adoption is on to see which will come out on top. But the battle royale currently taking place over live mobile video streaming options may never have an ultimate champion.

Certainly the Highlander-style “there can only be one” mindset may work fine in some areas of high-tech – VHS consumed Betamax in the early videotape format wars in the 1980s. Nintendo hung on and stayed strong to outlast Sega in the early home video game console wars.

However, Meerkat and Periscope, both seem to be evenly matched, and currently are remaining in their respective corners of the arena, each one with a loyal audience that continues to grow. The situation suggests more of an Apple vs. Windows dynamic, where users are proud to be able to affiliate with a particular “team” because of unique features.

Twitter streams are ablaze with tweet links to live video of people in traffic, sharing their current scenery and talking to the world from their bedroom office. It’s clear that video streaming service, in general, will continue to catch on. Companies that learn how to embrace this technology can discover innovative new ways serve their customers, clients, and prospects.

So how can businesses capitalize on this recent popularity and use live-stream technology in ways that provide value to their clients, prospects and contacts?

The following is a list of seven ways that sales, marketing and support teams can use Meerkat, Periscope or both:


1. Impromptu Q&A sessions

Webinars are easier to watch than to organize and present. Formal webinars take time and resources to plan, coordinate and execute. At times, it may make sense to broadcast and engage with an audience in real-time.

With live streaming, webinars can be turned into more casual opportunities to touch base – the remote equivalent of a check-in/stand-up meeting on a particular project rather than a formal presentation. With either program, the host can bring people together at any time and stream via Twitter. People can chime in with their Tweets, or send questions via email..

Each service offers different versions of this type of interaction. Meerkat allows you to watch a live stream or re-stream the same live stream to others. However, then it’s gone (which explains the skittish mascot, in case you were wondering about the name’s origins). Periscope lets you watch a stream live or up to 24 hours after its initial broadcast.

Katy Perry has said she prefers Periscope to check in with fans. She sees impromptu interactive check-ins as essential parts of doing business and good ways to provide supplementary commentary for her concerts and other activities and also let fans engage with her in new ways.

2. Live group support

May times when a new update, product or service launches the customer support team receives an influx of support requests. Now multiple requests could be monitored and responded to in real-time with minimal resources.

An IT team can be transformed by essentially prioritizing and delegating tasks in a mass setting. The addition of a live stream can provide more nuance, connection, and clearer instructions than a simple email.

The same principles can apply for any kind of product support. Customers will many times have similar questions or concerns that can be addressed in a group setting via live video.

3. New product features

Interactive demonstrations are possible with watchers asking questions and providing live feedback, think “could you show me how that works again?”.

A video update can provide a proud display of your products. Show live demos instead of static photos or screen shots. Hold up something new or cool that’s on sale. Think like a home shopping show – “isn’t this cool? Look at this! Don’t you want it?” but with your particular twist and personality.

However, unlike a traditional commercial, your presentation can be much more interactive – you can monitor questions from followers and respond right away.

4. Announcements

Company news can be shared with the internal team and the entire world simultaneously.

Though you aren’t able to schedule anything or create an actual event, like you can with Facebook, you can still use Periscope or Meerkat as a place to tell your supporters about something new happening with your business. You can, of course, start building up anticipation for your big moment, especially if it’s something dramatic. “Make sure you tune in here in two days for something big!”

Alternatively, you can combine a preview of what’s to come with a regular update. Like if you try to schedule new video content every Friday, slip in your company announcement.

Hearing the CEO deliver the news could be more effective than a press release. You can even make it fun — provided the announcement is good news, of course! It also could be a way to deliver a message to all followers at once, including employees.

You don’t even have to make a full production out of this either – you can have an someone film and stream the entire media event/press conference, or interviews.

5. Crowdsourcing

To get immediate feedback on questions, for example, “what do you think of this person, product, idea or place?”.

Whether you are just asking for advice to stimulate discussion or seeking an actual call to action for fund-raising purposes. What better way to live stream a pitch to an audience who already follows you than with a personal plea?

Interestingly, Forbes columnist Gene Marks takes a different view of Periscope or Meerkat as useful fund-raising tools. Though he admits that celebrities like Madonna and Jimmy Fallon are having a lot of fun delivering video content to their fans, he concludes that both platforms are essentially toys, and recommends that people serious about attracting professional investors go with Google Hangouts on Air, Google’s streaming service that’s available to anyone with a Gmail account.

However, Periscope has some advantages here if you are interested solely in reach – since it is owned by Twitter, it allows you to see what Twitter followers are already using Periscope. You can send out a Tweet encouraging people to help you out – but only if they join Periscope.

6. Candid insider views

Allow customers to gain a peek behind the scenes of what happens at your company and create a stronger connection.

We love feeling exclusive, for example, being able to go backstage at a concert.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson offered his followers a taste of this recently – he was the guest host of “Saturday Night Live,” on NBC. He also shared some backstage antics through Meerkat, which turned out to be a bonus for people who followed him on this platform. The Rock said he appreciated being able to offer something extra in his own words.

Businesses can use either service to provide sneak peeks of anything – their office, different departments or their involvement in a public/community event. It can be a chance to let followers see what goes on and put faces to names.

7. To expand reach

Live-streaming can expand reach beyond just Twitter as anyone on the web can watch. Also, watchers can re-stream to their followers in real-time, meaning that your live video has the potential to go viral. This also helps to include those that don’t have or want a Twitter account and may have missed out on communications in the past.

If you’re like most businesses, your social media audience is fragmented – some users may only like you through Facebook, others are deliberately non-Facebook but don’t mind following you on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat or some other service. But access to live video content can be a good central place to bring everyone together. You can even put the same message on all of your channels, and your site, inviting people to tune in, whether it’s a regular update or something special.

You can also use your existing audience to help spread the word – they can watch your stream and then re-stream it to their own followers.

Just like with other online channels, you can also find ways to encourage interaction, even if it’s inviting viewers to add a “heart” if they like one of your Periscope streams. You can offer prizes for people who participate, such as asking questions, sharing your stream or offering their take on what you’re talking about. “You just showed your favorite product, here’s mine.”

What’s Next

For even more ideas, Jim Keenan at Forbes outlined several additional ways that businesses can make use of this technology in his recent article, “5 Unexpected Ways Meerkat Will Crush It For Sales And Marketing People”.

Both Periscope and Meerkat are tools that can offer a greater multimedia experience, especially when compared to text-only emails or text messages, social media posts, static photos or archived low-quality video.

The jury is still out on which will ultimately dominate, probably because both services have their advocates, and both are so new to the landscape.

 According to AdWeek, the race is tight, with some celebrities embracing one platform and other stars embracing the other. It is also split geographically, with Californians preferring Periscope while Floridians prefer Meerkat.

Tags:  live streaming  meerkat  periscope  small business 

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