What’s the big deal with Meerkat & Periscope?

By April 13, 2015Social Media

Meerkat and Periscope are the two apps that every Social Media expert and executive can’t stop talking about. They’re also two words that draw intrigue from those that are not particularly interested in Social Media. However for social media geeks like myself we are very excited about the real time marketing prospects of these two apps.

Meerkat and Periscope are both live streaming video apps that link to your Twitter account and essentially allows you to broadcast your videos around the world. Pretty impressive eh? You can stream live videos of a gig you’re attending, to a protest you’re witnessing, to your friend that dances like their dad at a wedding. These live streams can be tweeted out on your Twitter feed for your friends and followers to watch. Apps such as Qik and Livestream have offered this service previously so what makes Meerkat and Periscope so savvy?

Well Meerkat (which is in no way is related to Compare the Market adverts) launched February 27th and really gained most of its buzz and support at this year’s SXSW festival. Marketing at the event by some of their founders led to a frenzy at the Texas based music festival. It gave festival goers a platform their favourite bands on a live stream to make their friends at home jealous. SXSW has a history of being a launchpad for new apps and social media technologies. The likes of Foursquare, Storify and Groupme originated here but haven’t maintained their initial popularity. Celebrity endorsements helped Meerkat’s case with the likes of Madonna and Ashton Kutcher putting their names behind the brand. Jimmy Fallon also announced he would ‘Meerkat’ St Patrick’s Day and from this point it’s safe to say that app went viral.

Periscope went live March 27th. After being available for only two weeks Twitter acquired it for a reported $100M. Ever since it has become a favourite for broadcasters and media companies, most recently Kay Burley (Sky News) used it to give viewers a behind the scenes look of the recent Leader Debates. Periscope has arguably taken off better than its rival with having twice as many users. Firstly Twitter has cut Meerkat off from their social graph. Now this may appear to be a petty response to their competitors’ success however people are still flocking to Meerkat as it is now seen as Periscope’s edgy hipster counterpart. Almost as if this is the app Twitter don’t want you to use so go buck the trend!

So hopefully that is a good guide for you on what these platforms have to offer and how they have come about. So how can companies generate positive PR for themselves with these apps? They can as they would do with any other social media platform except they can do it live. If someone sees something live and it isn’t streaming from somewhere too far away then they can join in the fun. Gone are the days of posting live commentaries of events for followers, now they will be able to experience it with you. As Twitter has gone from strength to strength companies have started flocking to advertise themselves on it. With these apps corresponding directly to Twitter this gives companies another platform on which to communicate with their audience.

So how can these apps be used as good PR tools?

To cover client events – Whether this be a gig, a conference or a trade show these can all be given live coverage. This will give their stakeholders a platform to watch the event and can also help increase awareness of the event to others. Hashtags would be a helpful addition in drumming up publicity before the event.

To provide real time reaction – If promoted with a hashtag punters would have been able to get down to the event quicker. Rather than viewing highlights of the event hours after, these apps give brands a platform to increase their customer engagement levels in real time. Both platforms offer a portable way to engage with key audiences.

Provide live interviews with clients – An opportunity to make your clients more accessible to journalists and the public. A quick and easy stream can be created from the palm of your hand.

Product launches and demonstrations – Brands can give previews and demonstrations of their new products or services and the likes of restaurants will also be able to showcase the likes of cooking lessons or new menus.

Meet and greet of staff and workplace – Clients can tell stories of their history, do tours of their organisation and introduce the public to their employees

So yes there is huge potential for these two apps to take off. Will they fulfil this potential  is another question. All in all these platforms should flourish although it could be a question over which of the two will cancel the other out and which one will survive. Only time will tell.

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