You may have heard of Meerkat by now. It’s a live streaming social video app, created by Ben Rubin, that has rapidly taken the online community by storm.
It was officially launched at the end of February 2015, but it was unveiled properly at SXSW Interactive in March.
So far, the app has seen an explosion of sign-ups, with more than 120,000 people currently using the app. The Meerkat developers claim the number of users has been increasing by around 30% a day since the big reveal at SXSW, so could it be the next big thing in social media?
The idea behind the Meerkat app is simple; it lets users stream live video from a mobile device directly to Twitter, allowing other users to subscribe to and attend the live streams. It doesn’t just broadcast video content though, it also lets you have real time interaction with other users watching the stream.
There are four psychological reasons that we as humans tend to be drawn to video:
- There is a brain function that hard-wires us into using faces as the focal point for gathering information.
- The human voice can help our brains convert straightforward information into more meaningful content.
- Emotions shown through body language are appealing and can be contagious.
- Body movements can grab attention and keep viewers focussed.
Meerkat has an opportunity to change social media forever and make a big impact on digital marketing – here are just a few creative ways brands can add Meerkat into their marketing mix:
Video is a great way to demonstrate how consumers can use your product or service in a simple and efficient way. You could create one video at the launch of a product, weekly videos to keep your consumers engaged, or even daily videos to build up audience interaction.
So many brands could benefit from real-time video demonstrations, including restaurants, who could do cookery demos, estate agents, who could do live house viewings, and software companies who could show users exactly how their software can be used.
If you’re hosting an event, it’s unlikely your entire audience will be able to attend, but that doesn’t mean they should miss out. At an industry conference, you could live-stream talks and presentations, and get the Twitter community involved using the hashtag.
At a gig, you could produce exclusive behind the scenes videos, giving your audience an insight to what goes on with the musicians when they aren’t on stage.
Live conversation is key for event success, and Meerkat really opens to the door to a world of possibilities in this area.
Meerkat could really come into its own in terms of long-awaited product launches. Imagine if every time Apple held their annual event to launch a new iPhone or iPad, they streamed it on Meerkat so that all their fans could tune in and utilise the live Twitter integration and real-time interaction functionality.
If brands wanted to keep fans in suspense about their product launch, they could even do a few live streams in the run up the launch, giving customers a couple of teasers about the product and showing them bits at a time.
Promotions and deals
Everyone loves a good deal, but now you can offer your consumers exclusive promotional codes they can only access by tuning in to your Meerkat video. Providing your fans with an offer they can only get through Meerkat will help you to build a large and engaged following right from the word go.
It’s good to keep a bit of mystery around your Meerkats, so your audience keep coming back for more. If they don’t know when the next promotional code will go live, it will keep them on their toes to engage with all your videos through a fear of missing out.
Interviews and “Ask Me Anything”s are a great way to really demonstrate brand transparency and industry expertise. No one likes to think they are talking to a robot on Twitter and Facebook and it can be really beneficial for brands to show their audience their human side.
AMAs have been used by brands around the world for years now and are a very successful way of driving awareness, increasing engagement levels, and building an audience. Fans and consumers like to be able to ask influencers and celebrities questions, knowing they will get the answers in real-time.
Tips and guides
The majority of websites selling products have an FAQ page. This is where customers can ask the company questions about the products they sell, and find out anything they need to know before making a final purchase decision.
Meerkat can be used to answer a range of FAQs in a more personalised and human format. With many products, a chunk of text can be used to describe how something should be used, but with many things, it is much easier when someone just shows you.
This could even be turned into a weekly thing using a hashtag like #TuesdayTipTime, if brands wanted to post a new tip for using their product to help their consumers.
Everyone loves to know the history behind a brand and how it got to where it is today. Using live-stream video, fans will really get an authentic feel of a brand and understand the context behind situations which can be more tricky with photos.
Videos could be used to simply give fans a tour of the brand’s headquarters, introduce them to all the employees, or give them an insight into a day in the life of the business. As mentioned before, people love brand transparency, and Meerkat gives businesses the opportunity to really let their audience in.
The future of Meerkat
Video is definitely a huge part of digital marketing, and while it’s still early days for Meerkat, it could grow into a social media powerhouse. If used properly, Meerkat could generate more engagement than any other social media channel currently being used.
Brands need to try and think outside the box about how they can make Meerkat work for them. With content being shared in real-time, brands need to get their videos right first time, but if they do, they will be able to connect with their audience in a unique and rewarding way.