Meerkat is bringing sexy back to social media.
By now, you may have heard about the all-new mobile video-streaming app known as "Meerkat."
If you haven't, here's how it works:
- Mobile app is only available for iOS devices at this time (streams can be viewed from a desktop/laptop however)
- Requires a Twitter account to sign-in
- Allows users to live-stream video content with a link published to Twitter
- Twitter followers who've also downloaded the app are notified via push notification when someone in their network goes live or schedules an upcoming stream
As of this writing, tech, VC and social media evangelists such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Matt Mazzeo and Chris Sacca, just to name a few, have paved the way for the app's initial user growth by streaming content to their own communities of followers.
Just last week I learned about Meerkat from a friend and Twitter user @BenFigo, who sent me a tweet that Gary Vaynerchuk was live streaming behind-the-scenes of his YouTube show #AskGaryVee.
Within seconds of using it I was hooked and haven't looked back since.
In fact, I've already invested 20+ hours on the app ascending me to Top 10 status on its leaderboard, comprised of time on app and engagement metrics like Retweets, Comments, Views, and Likes.
Think YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook all in one.
Considering that I spend most of my days on social media between Twitter chats, connecting on LinkedIn and Facebook lurking, I haven't had this much fun with a social media utility since Vine came on the scene and allowed us to tweet in-app videos.
In fact, I haven't been this excited about talking to strangers online since the days of AOL back in the mid to late 90's.
Meerkat goes back to the basics of social media networking: Build community, telling stories, connect with people and engage at scale.
It's the very reason why many of us are on social media outside of our jobs.
Since last week I've used the app to broadcast what I call "Social media #RealTalk" info sessions where I talk about everything and anything related to social media to those willing to listen. Think of it as "Keynote meets Reality TV meets YouTube" all from my living room or basement, where I typically stream. On average, I'm seeing anywhere between 40 and 60 viewers at a time.
Think back to the last time that a tweet of yours was re-tweeted that many times organically.
This leads me to my next point; in recent times, emphasis on community and people has been lost.
Prior to Meerkat, when I spoke with fellow marketers about emerging mediums such as Snapchat and Instagram, I would constantly hear the same rhetoric:
"Can it be scaled?"
"What's the ROI?"
"Can you measure engagement?"
When did a customer or prospective consumer become just another metric?
Building a community of loyal and engaged customers takes much more than simply pushing out nice looking photos.
It's being human. It's speaking to them on their level.
It's BEING social vs. being ON social media.
Perhaps the lack of investment in community can be attributed to automation tools that allow scheduling of social content, a heightened sense pressure in justifying the ROI social and trying to be everywhere all the time. One thing remains constant though: social media is a medium best used to engage.
Today, customers are turning off the TV. They don't want to be advertised to. They are seeking engagement.
Besides the occasional glimpse of ESPN or CNN, I sat in my living room last week and was actually engaged by watching people do things like telling a story while driving to work and doing things like my friend @VincenzoLandino who performed an epic 7-hour Saturday night karaoke marathon.
Social media is more than selfies, what you had for breakfast or broadcasting links pointing back to your website or blog.
It's about people.
Without people there is no social media, just brands.
So, as a community of millions, how can we reel back the greatness of social media to its true and authentic form?
Answer: Make it about the people.
People are the real marketers, not the brands. They are already sharing your content but with their own voice.
Your followers are more than just a metric.
Mobile apps such as Meerkat and Snapchat allow you and your brand to tell a story with a very human touch.
Bottom line: people trust people and not logos.
Is Meerkat a new social network you might ask?
The answer is "No".
I view Meerkat as a social media utility and not a network.
The fact is, many of you have already built a following on Twitter. Now, with Meerkat, you have the ability to reel your followers back in through engaging, live video. A brand's biggest assets are its people and story. With Meerkat, you can leverage both seamlessly.
If you're a social media contributor, not tied to a brand, Meerkat is the new way of engage followers in real-time through live video content which stands out more than just a text-based tweet - and it's here to stay.
Leverage Twitter Followers
Perhaps its best feature is its connectivity to Twitter. Imagine if every time you or your brand sent a tweet it would send a push-notification to those who follow you. With Meerkat, every time you start a live stream, it sends a push notification to your followers who've downloaded the app. Instantly.
Every action that a viewer takes within your live stream is shared on their Twitter account (i.e. retweet, comment, like) thus creating more awareness and engagement around your live stream. As a streaming user, you can see who has joined your stream and engage both by text and video. Typically, I take time every 3-5 minutes for a "role call" where I name each viewer and thank him or her in my stream. You would be amazed by how good it feels for someone to say your name in a live stream. No different than you do today on a blog or on Twitter, I also encourage those watching to leave comments, ask questions, and share the feed with their networks.
The biggest value to brands and people within Meerkat is to engage viewers through video. It's been proven that videos gain higher engagement on social media than photo or text copy. Uses for Meerkat can be around product launches (think Apple iWatch), to build awareness and relevance around a brand campaign by leveraging social media influencers and even news media shows or personalities to drive mobile viewers back to a TV set or website experience. Think Omni-channel marketing.
How have you found Meerkat useful and how would you recommend brands use it?
Please leave a comment below or tweet me at @CarlosGil83 with your thoughts.