On a cloudy morning, 48 people are watching me walk on the beach from my mobile phone. Simultaneously, users from all over the world are asking me questions about marketing, baseball and social media. This was my first day on Twitter’s newest app, Periscope, which allows for mobile live streaming.
A similar app, Meerkat, was all the talk at this year’s SXSW. Attendees were sharing live events from workshops to concerts. On the way to Austin, our plane was delayed and my seatmate, R Ray Wang, pulled out his phone and we began sharing our experience on Meerkat. As we discussed the app and its capabilities, one thing became clear. Live streaming is not the future. It is now.
Here are a few brands that are already experimenting with live streaming on the apps:
Red Bull tends to be one of the quickest brands to adopt new social networks and trends. On Meerkat, the energy drink provided a behind-the-scenes view from its half pipe competition. When Periscope launched, Red Bull tested it out during Miami Music Week by live streaming events at its Red Bull Guest House.
General Electric (GE)
GE has become one of the preeminent brands on Vine and has recently increased efforts on Snapchat. On Periscope, GE went behind scenes of Star Talk Radio with YouTube personality Sally Le Page, Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye. If GE's efforts on Vine & Snapchat are any indication, the brand will be a player on the apps.
For Mountain Dew's launch on Periscope, the brand created a short video called, “Stop by to say what’s up.” In the clip, a girl spelled the word “swag” on a chalkboard, while she stood next to a pile of branded t-shirts and hats. Mountain Dew also took users behind-the-scenes with virtual-reality skateboarding and backcountry snowboarding experiences.
Live streaming is not just for big brands. Frank’s Pizza in Toronto welcomed Meerkat by sharing a daily live stream of the restaurant. At first, it was simply fascinating to view the inner workings of a kitchen, but now it has become a way to market good customer service, show quality food and create cross-promotional opportunities. By embracing live streaming, Frank’s Pizza has increased its brand awareness.
During SXSW, Jimmy Fallon provided unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to his live rehearsal of The Tonight Show on Meerkat. I, for one, was sitting in a restaurant listening to his rehearsal beaming from numerous patrons’ mobile phones. Through live streaming, Fallon was able to run through an evening monologue with his staff in New York, while receiving audible laughs from a restaurant in Texas. He has since joined Periscope and continues his rise with Millennials and Generation Z.
Through these examples, and being an active participant of live streaming, I’ve been able to see firsthand how this approach is changing the way we communicate. It provides more access to experiences. It gives brands a new method for connecting with customers. It transforms how news is reported. It’s a method of communication that’s here to stay, so the next question is how will brands best harness its potential?