Live streaming. It’s all the rage right now. Currently, there are two apps that are grabbing all of the attention; Meerkat and Periscope.
I have experimented with Meerkat a few times now and shot my first Periscope live stream the day it was released.
I see tremendous value in live streaming to build and enhance your brand if used correctly. I can also see the dark side of these applications that will very quickly tarnish your brand forever if you’re not careful.
Before I run through ways these apps can be used to extend your brand, let me first give you an overview of the apps I’m referring to in case you haven’t heard of them yet.
Note: This is isn’t meant to be a full review of either platform. I’m providing an overview only for those who may not understand or know about either platform.
Launched in February 2015, Meerkat was the first app to create a buzz and big following around live streaming. It was developed by Ben Rubin and released as an iOS app. Sorry Android folks (although I know one is in the works).
Once you press STREAM Meerkat allows the user to instantly Live Stream video. And when I say instantly, I mean like right now.
Before you even have the camera pointed in the right direction, your video is live for others to watch. At the same a Tweet goes out letting your followers know you are LIVE.
With Meerkat, everything happens on Twitter. From the initial |LIVE NOW| to the comments you make during a Meerkat session, it all gets posted as a tweet on Twitter.
This can result in “clutter” being added to your Twitter feed which your followers may or may not appreciate. However, the same thing happens when you are attending a Twitter Chat as well.
Seeing the Tweets in your feed however does makes you curious and you just might feel compelled to tune in and watch. Which isn’t a bad thing I guess.
Meerkat’s user interface (UI) is simple and easy to use but it can be a little cluttered since it shows the Tweets happening during your session as well as little pictures of those in attendance all on one screen.
If you’re attending a session, you interact with the “broadcaster” by typing in the chat box which is really a tweet box; you type, it gets tweeted.
The broadcaster can read your questions or comments and respond verbally. The quality of the session depends on the broadcaster (is Meerkat-er a word yet?), the topic or the visual being displayed.
For example, I watched Frank from Frank’s pizza house in Toronto make pizza for 5 minutes once. Frank never said a word. Instead, he hummed or maybe there was music playing in the background, I forgot, but let me tell you, Frank can make a mean pizza.
After you finished your session you can save it for playback later.
Periscope is the new kid on the block having just launched on March 26, 2015. It does the same thing as Meerkat, live Streaming, however, Periscope is owned by Twitter.
I have only used Periscope twice but unlike Meerkat, everything appears to happen within the app, not on Twitter directly.
I like this much better.
Also unlike Meerkat, Periscope allows the broadcaster time to “set-up the shot” before going live. While Periscope is “buffering” your stream (I’m not sure this is the correct terminology to use but I’m going with it) the broadcaster can type up a quick summary of what the live stream is about. Once you are ready you can start your broadcast.
Because everything happens within the app, your comments don’t appear in your feed as tweets so there is no worry of “cluttering” up your feed. However, if you want to build an audience this could be bad because if people aren’t following you on Periscope, they won’t know you are live streaming.
Periscope does allow you to turn on notifications on your phone which means the next time someone you are following starts streaming, you get a notification so you don’t miss out on the action.
I think the UI on Periscope is much cleaner. You see comments as they get posted and they fade away after a few seconds.
As a broadcaster, you need to pay attention to these because you can’t scroll back through them to see what people have asked.
3 ways to use live streaming to enhance your brand
Both of these apps do the same thing just in different ways. Which one to use is up to your personal preference. At this point, I like both and have not yet decided to choose one over the other.
Regardless, I have been asked by some folks how you can use this “new” medium to enhance your brand. It’s a fair question so here are a few ways, I can think of to use Live streaming to enhance and expand your brand.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Until we can physically be in two places at once, live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope will have to suffice. Both of these platforms allow you to watch what others are doing from a distance.
And let’s face it, we want to watch. Especially if the live streaming is showing something “behind the scenes”. Who doesn’t want to peek behind the curtains to see how things work?
Photo from: http://sarah-morgan.com/2014/09/22/the-man-behind-the-curtain-the-emotional-impact-of-new-technology/
We all believe that the people we follow, look up to or admire have great processes or fancy equipment to make it all work. And some do. But most don’t.
Streaming behind the scenes gives the viewers access to your set-up, your thought process and really lets them into your world. It feels like you were just handed a backstage pass to your favorite concert, conference or event. It adds an element of excitement that you can’t get any other way without actually being there.
Potential applications for behind the scene live streaming include recording podcast interviews, webinars, photo shoots, filming, or behind the scenes of an actual conference or event.
LIVE STREAMING WEBINARS
I just mentioned webinars as a potential behind the scenes application but can you use the live streaming platform solely for your next Webinar? It would take some planning but I think you can.
Whether you call them Meerkat-inars or Periscope-inars, why not use the medium to broadcast your message Live to a new audience. Face-to-Face.
Some may say it’s better to make them complementary to a regular webinar as a behind the scenes look but I ask why not make it the webinar medium itself? Just a thought.
LIVE AMA SESSIONS
How about a live Ask Me Anything (AMA) session? Talk about a great way to extend your brand. For those who don’t know, an AMA is exactly what you think it is. A host, could be you, allows audience members, fans or just anyone to ask them any question they have about any topic. Total open forum.
AMA’s are common on Twitter but you can’t see the person answering the questions. With Meerkat and Periscope, you can.
However, AMA sessions via Live Streaming can be challenging. Because you as the broadcaster will respond verbally to the questions your attendees ask virtually, You rely on the attendees to ask questions. This means it can be difficult to get the conversation started and to keep it going.
I have attended a couple of Meerkat AMA sessions, once was a “lunch and learn”. While the session was very well attended, the engagement of the attendees was a little lacking.
Without the attendees asking questions, AMAs can be a little awkward as the broadcaster attempts to coax questions from the attendees.
But if you’re good at coaxing questions or your attendees are active then you can “reap” what I think is the biggest benefit from these mediums; You become a real person.
If you used properly, technology today can bring us closer together as a society, a nation, a world, a planet.
Live streaming apps like Meerkat and Periscope allow us to see that other people are just like us and they put a face with a name. Once you hit the stream now button, it turns you into a real human.
A real human that can either make or break your brand depending on how you use the technology. Don’t go over to the dark side. Use the technology to enhance your brand, to become someone that people know, like, and trust.
As I mentioned before, I have tuned into Frank’s Pizza House to watch Frank make pizza a couple of times now. Frank appears to be a master at his craft so the next time I’m in Toronto I will stop in for a pie at Frank’s.
Why? Because Frank is real. He’s not just a name on the door and he actually makes the pizza. I don’t personally know Frank, but I trust his pizza will be awesome.
That’s the power of live streaming.
QUESTION: So what do think? What are some other applications for building your brand via live streaming? Tweet me your answer @RyanRhoten