Meerkat premiered at SXSW on March 13th and since then, 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. Could it be the next big thing in social media?
What is Meerkat?
Meerkat is a free app that lets you stream live video from your mobile device to anyone who follows you on Twitter. You start broadcasting simply by tapping the Stream button in the app, which also lets you schedule broadcasts for later. It allows others to subscribe to and attend the live streams. It doesn’t just broadcast video content thought, it also lets you have real time interaction with other users watching the stream.
Is it different from Vine?
Yes. With Vine you’re recording video and then sharing it with your followers. Meerkat is live and instantaneous from the moment you tap that Stream button. Also, Vine limits you to 6 seconds of video and Meerkat doesn’t place any time limit on how long you can stream, so you can keep broadcasting for as long as you want.
How does Meerkat work?
Sign into the mobile app using your Twitter account information and after you give Meerkat permission to use your phone’s camera and microphone, you’re ready to stream. Give your stream a title and hit “Stream” to start live video. The bottom right corner of the app gives you buttons to activate your camera’s flash, switch between rear- and front-facing cameras, and stop the recording. Meerkat informs you how many people are watching your stream and shows their Twitter icons across your screen. Likes, retweets and comments from followers also appear, and a chat icon in the left corner of the screen lets you talk back to your followers in real time.
What happens when you schedule a stream in Meerkat?
By adding a title for your stream and pressing the “Schedule” button, you can let your followers know that a stream will be happening at a given time. Select a time and a photo and Meerkat will list the upcoming stream in the main window of the app. Anyone following you through Meerkat gets a notification when you plan to launch your next live stream. And the Meerkat app will notify you when the appointed time arrives.
How can brands effectively use Meerkat?
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. If your brand or business is hosting an event or conference, you could live-streamthe action and get your Twitter followers involved using the hashtag. It also allows you the ability to provide exclusive behind the scenes videos, giving your audience an insight to what goes on while they’re not there.Live conversation is key for event success, and Meerkat really opens to the door to a world of possibilities in this area.
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.
Interviews 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 of a bran.
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
While it’s safe to say that the Meerkat app has gained some real momentum out of the gate, only time will tell if it sticks. Twitter is launching their own live streaming service called Periscope, so Meerkat already faces tough competition. However, if Meerkat takes off and stands the test of time, businesses will want to jump on the opportunity to establish themselves as expert Meerkaters now and capitalize on all the hype.