Have you climbed aboard the Meerkat app bandwagon yet?
I won’t fault you if you are not. After all, it came out less than three weeks ago.
But in mobile app time, that’s an eternity. And the smart brands are starting to use it because, well, it’s awesome.
What this baby does is stream live video. That’s it. You synch the app to your Twitter feed, turn on notifications, and are then notified when one of your Twitter followers (who also uses Meerkat) is streaming a video. From that point, you can watch the live stream, re-tweet it to your followers from the stream, “like” the stream, and interact with the host and the audience through the chat function.
(I streamed myself making my lunch this afternoon just to try it.)
It’s dead simple to use and, I believe, marks a turning point in how brands can interact with their audience on a more intimate basis, as well as their target media.
The nice thing about the app is that it comes with a built-in audience, so a brand doesn’t have to spend time cultivating a new one. Once said brand (we’ll refer to it as “Brand X”) is signed up for Meerkat, the app automatically pulls in those followers who are also on Meerkat and adds them to the list of followers. Those users are now notified every time Brand X is streaming live and they can join instantaneously.
Obviously, this app, like most others, is going to be heavily investigated by brands as a way to reach their audience. Bu
Since I work in the automotive field, I thought it would be cool to look at some ways automotive brands can use Meerkat right now to enhance their reputation and give their company, and their employees, a more human feel.
1. Unveil a new vehicle. If you’re going to unveil a new product, why not stream it live? Meerkat has a scheduling feature that allows you to notify your fans that something is going to happen on a specific date. Brand X can either pile on to an already existing reveal at an auto show, or they can do the reveal from the safety of an undisclosed location. The audience can interact with the unveiling as the silk is pulled off the vehicle.
2. Interview executives. Us PR people always want to control the message. What better way to do that than by Meerkat-ing (?) an interview with the head honcho. Instead of a list of pre-ordained questions, the interviewer can pull from the questions being asked by the audience. Of course, the threat of a hostile takeover is always looming, but the questions don’t sit on the screen. If you’re a forward-thinking brand, you should at least consider it.
3. Speak with engineers & design. So Brand X just unveiled the latest model to roll off the assembly line. Wouldn’t it be cool to immediately speak with the engineers and designers who made the car a reality? Set them up in a room away from the crowd and stream the interview, once again fielding questions from reporters and consumers who couldn’t make it to the show to get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into designing and building a car.
4. Surprise Streaming. If Meerkat takes off, there will be a period of time where users will feel a sense of excitement when they’re notified Brand X is streaming live. If they haven’t been notified in advance, than the anticipation will rise. What are they streaming? Is it a big announcement? They’ll have to tune in to find out.
5. Extreme Testing. All automotive companies put their vehicles through their paces to make sure they are built to last in extreme conditions. What if Brand X set up a live stream of a vehicle in the wind tunnel? Or, being tested out in the desert? I’d tune in for that. It’s something we don’t see every day, but automotive aficionados might find it extremely interest. And, who knows? You might secure a few new customers.
Just like with most new apps, it will take some time to get used to how it works, especially when you consider that it might be a challenge to justify the brand’s existence on the platform because it’s difficult to measure the metrics. But what’s business if not taking calculated risks?
Obviously, this goes waaaaaaay beyond automotive, but that’s what I know, so I thought I’d start with this industry.
Have you downloaded the app yet? Taken it for a spin? I’d love to get your take. I think they’re on to something.