Meerkat blew up faster than Rebecca Black’s hit song, “Friday”.
The premise of the application is simple, it allows users to easily stream live video from a mobile device with real-time interaction.
Live streaming isn’t a new marketing tactic or very innovative in isolation, but Meerkat simplifies the entire process by automating the shoot and share process. Meerkat makes streaming and sharing content simple, efficient and engaging.
For now, the Meerkat app is only accessible using a Twitter account. It gives users the power to stream live video directly inside the app to a user’s Twitter network for the masses to consume and interact with onscreen. The content then vanishes similar to Snapchat once the video is done airing unless it’s saved to the creator’s phone.
The real power of Meerkat is in its ability to spread content quickly and easily. For example, because it’s linked to your Twitter account, all user comments to each Meerkat stream are distributed across Twitter along with the content stream itself. In addition, it gives makers the ability to schedule upcoming live streams, giving the brand’s followers a heads-up that they can expect some awesome content coming their way.
I was one of the early adopters of Meerkat, signing up and streaming video the day it started to take off. I’ve watched a handful of brands find creative ways to do great things with Meerkat along with some individual users who’ve tapped into its power to do some pretty cool things. In all of this, the dots quickly started to connect and the opportunity for marketers to unlock this tool became crystal clear.
Here are a five creative ways that brands can leverage Meerkat to drive real results.
An Authentic Look Behind the Scenes
I know what you’re thinking, That’s Instagram – Not Meerkat.
This is true. But because we’re in the early days of Meerkat, I don’t have many examples of brands using it very well so I’ll be referencing other activities throughout this article and how you can apply these examples to Meerkat marketing.
In the example above, the folks at Steam Whistle Brewing are giving their followers a behind the scenes look at what’s happening. On Meerkat, the experience becomes even more authentic as users are able to hear what is being said, who’s behind the camera and understand the context behind this photo.
Dave McClure from 500 Startups hosted a Meerkat during an actual meeting with partners and entrepreneurs where they discussed internal plans for their company. Understanding that human beings are curious by nature, the 500 Startups team opened up the meeting to their followers by live streaming it through the app. More than 200 people sat in on the meeting simply out of interest and intrigue.
Later on, McClure also gave a tour of the 500 Startups office:
People are thirsty for transparency and Meerkat gives brands an opportunity to give fans, customers, partners and media an inside look at what the organization is all about, who’s behind the company and how work happens.
Exclusive Promotions & Deals
The ownership of rare or exclusive things arms us with status – it’s a part of evolutionary psychology that goes back to the early days of mankind. The nomad who knew how to start a fire first was considered a god and the person who realized you could boil water with beans to create coffee was a saint.
While marketers may not be able to arm their Meerkat followers with the ability to have that kind of status – they can arm their followers with a little taste. They can offer their audience with a first chance to buy, an exclusive deal or a special promotion. One of the easiest ways to generate interest and acquire a substantial following is to offer users something exclusive. Arming your fans with exclusive promotions that are only accessible through Meerkat will help establish an early and engaged following.
On Snapchat, brands like Karmaloop leveraged exclusive promotions and deals to ensure that their snaps were always opened. People look forward to those promotions and being among of the first to own that knowledge. For marketers leveraging Meerkat, a great execution would be to offer a discount for a limited time and run a countdown for when the promotion would no longer be active. Limited time offers are incredibly effective for driving results and motivating people to act. People naturally suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), so users are more likely to share limited time offers with their friends and complete the desired call to action to avoid missing out on exclusive offers.
In The Moment Reactive Storytelling
Reactive Storytelling is when a brand reacts to something happening in pop culture and combines it with a brand relevant story. It’s when a brand notices something going viral and jumps on the viral content to deliver a message that connects with an audience quickly. The result is that the new reactive content spreads rapidly across a variety of different channels to a very targeted audience. This is where the magic of Meerkat Marketing comes to life. I don’t know when. I don’t know how. But reactive storytelling is going to be changed forever from Meerkat.
Every marketer can remember the now famous Oreo, “Dunk in the Dark” initiative or the surge of brands trying to make magic when #TheDress went viral. Now imagine those interactions and brand stories being told in real-time via live stream video. Imagine brands embracing the idea of Improv to deliver compelling and interesting stories about their product.
Imagine brands being the first to break the news on real-time events.
Imagine brands using their Meerkat streams to announce new products or new features.
Imagine brands unlocking the audiences of major media outlets to run their announcements on their accounts rather than through paid media markets.
The possibilities are endless. But with that, comes great responsibility. You don’t want to get caught doing something stupid.
Host An ‘Ask Me Anything’ or ‘Honest Hour’
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Since President Obama hosted his first “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on Reddit, this approach has been used by brands and people in all industries all over the world. Ranging from Levar Burton from Reading Rainbow to the product team behind Pornhub – these initiatives are consistently successful.
It’s a tactic that has been tried and tested with great success across many channels because the concept is so simple. For a set amount of time, people have the ability to ask questions to someone unique, important or special and receive answers in real time.
People are already successfully using Meerkat for AMAs. Danielle Morrill hosted one of the first AMAs on Meerkat that I heard of and Mark Suster hosted the first AMA that I actually attended. That night, I wrote about this Meerkat experience along with a few tips for people looking to attend a Meerkat AMA in the future.
That night, I quickly realized that this could be a huge opportunity for brands the same way reddit AMA’s have been capitalized on by a handful of brands to drive awareness, engagement and results for their business.
Think Outside The Box With Your Executions
One of the biggest reasons brands will struggle with their marketing efforts on Meerkat is the lack of control brands have over the final product. The video will never be perfect and there’s no opportunity to edit, cut or rewind. What happens on Meerkat, happens on Meerkat and there’s no coming back from it. With Instagram and Snapchat, brands have the ability to review what they send to the public. This isn’t the case for Meerkat.
With Meerkat, the exchange between a brand’s content and its public happens in real time. While this can certainly cause some stage fright and performance anxiety for brands, it’s this realness that makes Meerkat special.
I’m excited for a time when brands are doing more authentic and clever videos like the clip found above, but live on Meerkat. I’m excited for a time when brands start embracing the concept of Improv for their actions and start thinking outside of the box for how they can interact with the world around them. I’m excited for brands start to share authentic interactions with executions like the famous Real Beauty Sketch from Dove:
If, for a second, we imagine this video without the editing and branding, it is still a powerful piece of content that delivers a powerful message in a meaningful way. My hope is that Meerkat will encourage brands to be real. It will force brands to be authentic. It will motivate brands to be more transparent and connect with their customers and followers in a more human way. It’s already starting to happen:
— Zach Zygar (@zZygar) March 7, 2015
While the future of Meerkat is still to be determined, it has already taken the tech world by storm and, to be honest, I’m seated comfortably on the hype train. Full steam ahead folks! This is an app that I feel everyone needs to keep their eye on and whether it’s the live streaming app of the future or not, I`m calling it – the concept of streaming live video through social is here to stay.
Do you have additional ideas on how Meerkat will change marketing in the future? How brands can leverage Meerkat to drive real results? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.