Meerkat and Periscope. By now you must have heard of them, so I will dispense with nutshell introductions of what they are. Well, just this: both apps facilitate real-time video streaming on Twitter.
I will also avoid predicting which app is going to win this particular social media horse race. I suspect it will be Periscope, but I could be completely wrong. And it doesn’t matter, at least not for the purposes of this article, which aims only to explore the possibilities of video content marketing with either app.
Video Content Marketing Made Easy
I am an advocate of video, which can be a highly effective means of communication in our visually oriented, attention deficit society. However, brands often have an understandable resistance to using video as part of their content marketing strategy. This is perhaps especially true for small business. Why?
Video ain’t easy.
A video production can involve planning, storyboarding, scripting, shooting, and editing. Then, the publishing, distributing and marketing, involving uploading, embedding, and… Video is both resource- and time-intensive — meaning costly — and the marketing and sales benefits may seem uncertain. From the hard-eyed perspective of pure cost-benefit analysis, video can be a tough sell.
Enter Meerkat and Periscope, which allow users to create simple video content in real time, on the fly, and livestream those videos. And, one of the strengths of these new technologies is that they leverage an established and widely-used social platform: Twitter. Yes, Twitter has acknowledged flagging engagement, as evidenced by some recently introduced features, and Twitter’s acquisition and launch of Periscope is part of their strategy for growing both it’s user base and user engagement. But, Twitter is still huge, and the real-time nature of Meerkat and Periscope video is a perfect match for the nature of Twitter itself – content, streamed, on the fly, in real time.
Integrating Realtime Video Into Your Content Strategy
The social space loves informality. Authenticity reigns in social media. That’s part of the allure of realtime video; it’s not scripted, it’s not fake. Here are a few ways that realtime video can be effectively used by brands to augment their existing content marketing:
- Product or Service Demos – Show how your product works, and what distinguishes it from the competition. Show your team at work, your work flow, and your accomplishments.
- Informal Office or Facility Tours – Again, emphasizing informality and authenticity, offer quick “behind the scenes” tours of your business. This would be particularly effective with businesses who have a visually interesting production process, e.g., manufacturing. Or, do a casual walk-through of the office, introducing various of your staff members.
- Q&A Sessions – Since both Meerkat and Periscope include realtime commenting, Q&A sessions can be conducted on the cheap, with the presenter responding to questions in real time. This would be great for branding, providing realtime and real-human customer service. Note: At this time, Periscope works better in this regard, i.e., Meerkat seems to have latency issues with realtime commenting.
- Broadcasting Events – If you’re having an event or doing a presentation, livestream it. Conduct interviews with key players or presenters. Give previews or peeks at what goes on behind the scenes.
- Interviews / Subject Matter Expertise – Conduct interviews with various members of your staff, at various levels of the organization, asking them what they do and discuss how they help your customers. Interview your in-house subject matter experts on topics of interest to your customers.
With some of the above suggestions, i.e., Q&A sessions or interviews, you should create some hype prior to the actual online “event,” to ensure that viewers “tune in.”
Additionally, lest I appear naive, some of the above suggestions will take some planning ahead of time, i.e., office walk-throughs, staff interviews, etc. You do need to make sure that anyone appearing on camera will be comfortable doing so, and reasonably comfortable speaking extemporaneously. But, I would advise against over-preparation or scripting – such videos should feel completely genuine and authentic. Doing otherwise will violate the nature of the social space, and probably alienate viewers.
Think of it this way: real time video content through Meerkat and/or Periscope is a kind of voyeurism, as is much of social media sharing. We are getting a glimpse of something we otherwise might not. We can debate whether or not these technologies are revolutionizing news reporting (as in this Slate article), but one thing is for certain: via real time video, we can all become bystanders. Or voyeurs.
Give your voyeurs something worth looking at. Give them value and authenticity.