Meerkat was one of the most talked about apps at this year’s South by Southwest, a popular technology conference held each year in Austin, Texas. A recent VentureBeat article, “Meerkat at SXSW shows the future of live conference video,” touted the app as “a sea of change [for how] events are broadcast to the world.” And it’s true – Meerkat is a pretty incredible tool for the event industry, but that’s certainly not where the app’s potential stops. In fact, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s why Meerkat is going to revolutionize the small business landscape.
What Is Meerkat?
Meerkat is a free app that allows users to live-stream video from a mobile device to their Twitter followers. Videos are broadcast in real time, and they aren’t saved, so you can’t watch them again at a later date. The app has more than 300,000 users, and is available on iOS, desktop, and Android.
How Does Meerkat Work?
Download the mobile app from the app store and sign in using your Twitter account (or your company’s Twitter account). Give Meerkat permission to use your camera and microphone, and you’re ready to stream!
The app is easy to use. The bottom right corner has buttons that activate your camera’s flash and allow you to switch between back and front-facing cameras or stop recording. Meerkat tells you how many people are watching the broadcast and displays Twitter profile photos across your screen. Followers’ likes, retweets, and comments are visible in real-time and the chat icon lets you talk directly with your followers.
When you schedule a broadcast in Meerkat, all of your followers receive a notification detailing when your next live stream will start. The app alert users when the appointment time arrives, and there’s no cap on the length of the broadcast.
3 Unique Ways for Small Business to Use Meerkat
Even though the app launched just a few short months ago, it has already been dubbed as the future of live video streaming for conferences. But at Kabbage, we think the app has tremendous potential for the small business world, especially when it comes to connecting small business owners with current and prospective customers.
Here are some of the exciting ways small business owners can utilize Meerkat:
1. Real Estate Professionals: Live Streaming Home Tours
Virtual home tours are a great way to enhance your properties and your personal marketing. Because Meerkat allows you to schedule broadcasts in advance, you’ll have time to plan what you’d like the video to look like. Take advantage of the opportunity to be creative, prove your marketing chops, and show off your property and personality.
According to The New York Times, younger renters and buyers are looking for real estate agents who are tech savvy and available to connect at all times by phone, email, and text. A Meerkat live video tour is a great way to engage younger clients and build your Twitter following.
2. Restaurant Owners and Chefs: Live Streaming Cooking Demonstrations
Based on the success of food shows like Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, it’s clear that viewers love getting a behind-the-scenes look at restaurants around the world. Independent restaurants can use Meerkat as a marketing tool to give current and prospective diners a look at their chefs, food preparation techniques, or even the story behind the restaurant. If you need some inspiration, just think of it as your own mini Food Network reality show for your Twitter followers.
3. Store Owners: Live Streaming How-To Videos
In a previous blog post, Content Marketing Helps Small Businesses Win Big Online, we discussed how businesses could create online content to help grow their social media followings and increase sales. Creators found that readers viewed posts about how to accomplish specific tasks and behind-the-scenes looks at businesses as useful and interesting. Interestingly, these posts also increased the business’ social media following and the number of overall customers.
Live streaming tutorials on Meerkat may be a great way to build a social media following, since the broadcasts can be shared on Twitter. For example, imagine a guitar shop owner streaming a thirty-minute guitar lesson and taking questions from viewers in real time. The possibilities are endless, and it’s an exciting, impromptu, and authentic way to meet your business’ social media fans.
Takeaways: Small Business Owners Should Try Experimenting With Meerkat
Although Meerkat is new, it seems experimenting with live video could help small businesses connect with local and global audiences. By displaying the skills and unique qualities that keep customers coming back every day, companies can connect with viewers in an authentic and exciting way.
Small business owners should tap into Meerkat and use the app to show off what makes them stand out. The possibilities are endless and we’re only at the start of this live-streaming revolution.
Do you think Meerkat could be useful for your business? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @KabbageInc!