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Periscope & Meerkat: A Streaming Video Primer

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Two apps that offer a new way of engaging with your supporters launched just a few months ago. Both are so new that usage is still somewhat low, but growing among certain demographics, and brands are just beginning to dip their toes in.

The apps we’re talking about are Periscope and Meerkat and they let you connect with your supporters in real-time and as never before. Read on for a quick primer on the two apps competing for your live video streaming.

What are Periscope and Meerkat?
Periscope and Meerkat are live streaming video apps accessed with your Twitter account on your mobile phone.

What is a live streaming video app?
In the words of Periscope, live streaming video apps allow you to “Explore the world through someone else’s eyes.” Using either app, a user can film the world around them with their mobile phone’s camera and any other user of the app, anywhere in the world, can watch, like, comment, and participate in real time.

Everything happens live.

How do they work?
Open the app and begin filming. It’s really that simple. You can update your Twitter followers when you begin and your followers within the app will also be notified. Users watching can like your video and/or send you comments. You’ll see these comments and be able to respond to them real-time.

What are the differences between Periscope and Meerkat?
The apps are largely the same in terms of how you might use them and why. But there are a few subtle differences:

  • Using Periscope, your video will be accessible for 24 hours. Meerkat streams are only accessible when live
  • Meerkat forces tweets of your stream, Periscope does not
  • Periscope is owned by Twitter and therefore offers a greater degree of connectivity within Twitter, including access to stats
  • Periscope allows private streams, Meerkat does not

What can nonprofits do with live video streaming?
As always, the options are as limitless as your imagination. But some great possibilities to explore your brand in this new medium include:

  • Interviews: Set up someone notable within your organization or a well-known supporter of your cause in front of the live video stream. Let users ask their questions during the stream.
  • Behind-the-scenes: Show how you do the work, get detailed about your cause, show something exclusive that not everyone gets to see about your mission
  • Events: Bring users who can’t attend your event in and make them feel like they are really there

How are brands using live video streaming?
Unsurprisingly, brands such as Red Bull and Spotify were among the early adopters of these apps. Econsultancy.com rounded up a few of the early explorations of brands within these apps, as did Entrepreneur. Because of the nature of the apps, we can no longer see the videos or get a real feel for what the brands have done. But you get the idea. You can also see, by looking back at the number of re-tweets and favorites each tweet gets, how engaged users are with the videos. Another econsultancy.com article showed an all time high of 20K Periscope tweet mentions in early May but interest since seems to have dropped.

Of course, the best way to get a sense of how these apps are being used, and how they might work for you, is to give one (or both) a try. Live video streaming is a new way for you to engage with supporters or donors in a way you’ve never done before. It’s a new way to reach out in real time to people who want to engage with your cause and the results for your message and fundraising could be incredible. Also remember that overall usage, or the statistics a particular brand sees, might not be representative of your audience. Both apps are free to download and use so it’s relatively low risk to give them a try.

Have you used Meerkat or Periscope yet? What did you learn?

 

Photo credit: addictedtofries.com

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