Meerkat is a new app that allows users to live stream videos from their mobile phones. A live streaming social media app that allows users to stream live videos from a mobile device directly to Twitter, Meerkat also allows other users to subscribe to these live streams. It even enables interaction between subscribers to the streams and owners of the videos posted. With thousands of new subscribers every month, Meerkat has the potential to radically alter not just the social media landscape, but the world of branding too. Online brands can use the app for all areas of marketing, from launching new products, covering events, providing interviews with designers and celebs and for perhaps most importantly, telling their brand’s stories. The timing of the apps arrival with the emergence of so many online brands coveting the burgeoning eCommerce market, is set to yield powerful results.
The Meerkat app comes at a time when super-fast broadband and smartphones with inbuilt high quality video recording devices, are commonplace amongst consumers. The app is current, youth-focused and cut from the same mould as previous success stories. Some might argue that Meerkat is competing in a market already saturated with similar video apps and for this reason alone the idea is unlikely to gather much momentum. But take Vine for example, in 2013 the video app which was bought over by Twitter, became hugely popular despite the fact the likes of Youtube performs so strongly in the video app marketplace already. Vine was slightly different. Its USP being the fact that users could create their own short, 30 second videos and then share them. Some vines are paid tens of thousands of dollars by advertisers, such is the amount of traffic and revenue they generate. Like Vine, Meerkat encourages users to create a channel for their videos, that other users can subscribe to. Its uniqueness lies in its ability to live stream these videos, tapping into modern societies lust for immediacy, live coverage and endless access to action and global events. But, with live streaming having been around since 2007, this brings us back to the main case in point- Meerkat’s appeal lies not in its unique attributes, but in the state of the market. Video based apps are in huge demand and it only takes the right amount of publicity for any one of them to take off. Meerkat debuted rather appropriately at cutting edge music festival SXSW, giving it a huge platform in front of its target market, to announce its arrival.
Meerkat will no doubt court the youth market. If your products are particularly youth oriented then this app is for you. By creating a Meerkat channel preferably linking back to your eCommerce site, you can promote you brand and all it has to offer, thus increasing more online revenue. If your site is mobile optimised, then even better. Consumers can move right on over to your website after they view your live content on the Meerkat app and make their purchases.
Using Meerkat, gives you the opportunity to upload videos demonstrating how your product is used. If you are selling clothes, then simply showing live catwalk footage, or models pulling on garments and modelling clothing, can spark consumer’s imaginations with regards to how the clothes would look and feel on them. When it comes to product launches, Meerkat could revolutionise how you announce the arrival of your new product, whatever it maybe. Streaming an event to mark the launch of your product, so that all your customers past and prospective could tune in, is hugely powerful. The fact that Meerkat has built in Twitter functionality means that users could tweet their reactions, providing you with even more PR and coverage. To build up your audience, try encouraging users on your mobile and desktop site, to visit the app to discover free promotional codes to get money off products. This will help you cultivate those initial audience figures. Another great way eCommerce sites could use Meerkat, is through creating videos of interviews. CEOs, designers and previous customers could appear in live streams, answering questions or concerns from would-be consumers. These consumers could be asking anything, from queries about returns policies, product functionality or even questions about the brands backstory. The information in these interviews may well already be online in your FAQ pages, but remember the human voice helps our brains convert information into more meaningful content faster, than if we were just reading the content. It’s quicker and easier for consumers to get the answers to the concerns that may have been preventing them from going to your site and making those purchases. Lastly, Meerkat can help you tell your brand’s story. People love to get to know what a brand stands for, what it’s about and whether or not the brands values are compatible with their own lifestyles and will therefor serve to enhance them or not. A video with a tour of your company headquarters, or interviews with staff and employers, creates that authentic feel and provides transparency which consumers crave.
Through video content, Meerkat could help keep consumers more engaged with brands than any other social media app out there. If brands can harness the power of live streaming to tell their stories and engage with their target markets like never before, then they will no doubt see their online revenue soar. Meerkat, will no doubt flourish in a marketplace where video apps are commonplace, though no less in demand. The challenge will be for eCommerce sites to adopt the app early on and create content that is not only clever and engaging, but tailor made for the audiences that they seek to attract.