How to Get Started with Live Streaming via Periscope and Meerkat

Live streaming isn’t anything new. It’s really just turning on a video and opening the portal to anyone who wants to use it.

What’s new is the fact that we’re able to download an app, sign in with a Twitter account or phone number, click stream and post the link. Then anybody in your Twitter community can click on that link and watch whatever you’re showing on your phone. The big piece is the mobile aspect. It’s as simple as a basic tweet and hitting the “stream” button.

Businesses Uses for Streaming

Much like podcasting and social media, the people who are using mobile video are doing so from a storytelling point of view. TIP: Think like a fan. There are fans – the people you like you on Facebook, follow you on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Google+, subscribe to your blog and engage with you and your business and brand in the myriad of ways to the social web allows – want to know what you are doing, want to have access into your everyday life. So think like a fan; think about what fans would like to see (for example, behind the scenes of your life and business) and show them that.

Hootsuite – a social media management system that helps you keep track and manage your many social network channels - did a campaign called “Follow the Sun,” using Periscope. They decided to let their employees showcase what they called #HootsuiteLife. They gave access to different people in every company office around the globe. Throughout the day, it would “Follow the Sun,” and people in different offices would log into the Hootsuite account and walk around and show off their culture, interviewing their friends, etc. Brian remembers thinking that they talk about the importance of culture and now they are proving it. The number of inbound applications drastically increased after people got that sneak peek into their company.


Hootsuite’s #FollowtheSun campaign showcased #HootsuiteLife around the globe

The people who watch mobile streaming video are able to comment on the screen, so the person who is showing them around can also answer questions.

Some Other Uses for Live Streaming Technology Periscope and Meerkat

A Real Estate Agent can do a live stream walk-through on a Friday before a Saturday open house to drum up excitement. Anyone in a business where they want to premiere something ahead of time or need to show off something remotely, whether it’s a mobile app or a physical product, will truly benefit from this. It humanizes you and your brand, and encourages the audience to root for your success.

RELATED: 5 Quick Tips for Using Periscope

There’s nobody better to share your passion, your story, your brand, your business and your value proposition than you. Not everybody is comfortable blogging, tweeting or humble-bragging on Facebook. But if you can explain to someone the how and the why of what you do, it makes it a powerful conversation.

RELATED: How to Become A Great Broadcaster on Periscope and Meerkat

And no, the camera does NOT have to be on you. Functionality allows you to shoot outward, but if you wish to turn the camera on yourself you can do that as well.

Recording Your Live Streams

Both Meerkat and Periscope allow you to save video to your camera roll. At this point, comments are not part of the saved video.

When you upload the video portion to Facebook native video, Facebook adjusts it so the player view is only as wide as the video, while YouTube plays the cropped rectangle.

Both apps give users the option to hit replay.

In Periscope, anyone who is following you on that app can watch the video for 24 hours after the live stream. After that, the video is gone, unless it’s saved to your camera roll.

Because Meerkat is a startup with venture backing, and they have an open API, streamers can use a 3rd party app record the live stream. Try Katchkats, and have it set up to automatically to record and upload to your YouTube channel.

Meerkat vs Periscope: The Pros and Cons

Since Meerkat is a startup, they are going to add features that are not fully baked and might have some glitches. They were the first ones to have an android app and they were the first ones to attempt to do a feature that automatically posts to a Facebook page. It may not be perfect from a delivery standpoint, but they are embracing what’s called “failing fast,” and allowing their community to have input into how these features are built.

Meerkat also has scheduling ability. You can schedule a live stream 24 hours in advance, and get a permalink to share that drive traffic to your live stream.

Periscope does not have that option. However, when you go live, Periscope will automatically post the link to Twitter for you. Periscope also gives you the option to do a private stream. You select certain followers in the app, and only those followers are notified and are able to view that stream. It gives you a little exclusivity.

Another thing that Periscope has done really well is focusing on the user’s experience, as well as the streamer’s. It uses every aspect of the screen for the video. They have hearts, so if you are watching the video, you can tap on the screen as a watcher and the streamer will see the hearts float up from the bottom and know what they are talking about is something the audience likes.

Periscope viewers can show love by sending hearts.png

Periscope viewers can show love by sending hearts.

Which App Should You Choose?

If you are looking to be the streamer, the one behind the camera, Periscope is a great place to start, because it has a larger community. You have the flexibility of growing your community, plus it’s more likely your feed will be found by the masses.

If you want to test the technology out, and see how others are using it and be part of the community (jump on other streams, comment, ask questions), then try Meerkat. Those who are on Meerkat have been on it a little bit longer and are likely to answer questions.

RELATED: Quick Reference Guide for Periscope Beginners

Put simply: Want to get going now? Periscope. Want to test it out and see what others are doing? Meerkat.

How to Start Strong As A Broadcaster

Your greatest opportunity to draw in viewers is the tweet that’s sent out whenever you go live. So, like in every great tweet, include hashtags, as well as a title that will capture attention and define your topic.

Also, keep in mind a half-baked live stream today is better than a perfect live stream tomorrow. So if you keep trying to make something like this perfect, it’s never going to happen. Just embrace it and don’t overthink it.

It’s essential to be yourself and be human.

Some additional tools you’ll want to consider for live streaming:

  • Ollo clip: a mobile phone lens; one lens is the fish eye and one is for zoom.

  • Joby tripod: a desktop tripod with magnetic feet.

  • Audio: indoors you should just be able to use your mobile device. However, if you are outside or somewhere noisy, use your iPhone headphones.

Remember, when broadcasting you need the phone close enough so you can read the comments.

What to Avoid

People are not going to tune into your stream over a professional. They are there to see you and your unique view.

Avoid streaming things that are copyrighted, as well as events people are already paying for. It doesn’t hurt to ask who is running the event permission to stream it from your angle. It’s not replacing what someone else is doing, it’s offering another aspect.

Also, tell others around you that you are streaming, so they are aware. For more information on copyright and live mobile streaming, check out articles from Kerry Gorgone.

Your Turn

Have you started live streaming? Which app are you using; Meerkat or Periscope? What has your experience been like so far? Leave your feedback in Comments or on our Facebook and Twitter pages. You can follow PHANTOM POWER Marketing’s live streams via Periscope by following @PhantomPowerNJ on Twitter.

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