Update December 2015: Facebook just announced a social video service as well. We expect an acceleration in the Marketing Use of these types of tools in the coming 6 months.
Did you already experience social streaming?
For those who didn’t try the 2 newest ‘social streaming apps’ yet, you should definitely give it a try. It is a high impact experience to ‘jump into’ somebody’s life and experience in real time what’s going on. The social component (you can comment on everything you see and read other people’s comments in real time) is certainly addictive to many people.
It offers all main elements of Persuasive Marketing Experiences
In other words, the apps check a serious amount of boxes in the ‘highly persuasive elements’-list. And not the least of them. The most addictive or persuasive elements from Persuasion Marketing Theory apply here. The experience design is a masterpiece, even up until the easily recognized and emphatically designed Meerkat logo.
There’s always something going on, it easily becomes a routine activity, there are no barriers for instant use anytime anywhere, there is an uncertainty factor in there (you never know when it will be exciting, providing an emotional reward and excitement, but not predictable), it is socially interactive. You receive rewards in the form of likes, followers, etc. You even get a score when you broadcast, based on time, likes, retweets and alike, adding a gamification element that appeals strongly to users. Next to that, there’s different roles you can take, from broadcasting your life, to functional streams showing or explaining your skills or knowledge, to just ‘lurking’, watching and seeing what other people’s life is about, and very often… what it’s not about.
Biggest time spender on the internet?
In terms of time spent on the internet, this could easily grow into one of the largest threats to Facebook, now the major time spender for probably the largest part of your audience. Maybe it won’t be achieved through the two apps that take all the attention now, but the time seems right for the social streaming concept and it must certainly be something that Zuckerberg is keeping a sharp eye on.
What can your business do with it?
At this moment, not so much yet. The audience is still limited and it’s still early days in terms of integration with other services, monitoring tools and other elements you would need to use this structurally as part of the experiences you can offer customers in their customer journey. Advertising is not in place yet, which for now is a good thing while audience growth is still at the bottom of the hockey stick graph.
Still, you should reflect on it to recognize some of the opportunities that could deliver you some benefits and allow your organisation to build up experience with social streaming, before your competitors might do so. The timescale is months, not years, in which you should evaluate what you can do with this medium.
Explore the opportunities now
Opportunities you should explore make use of the ‘early innovator’ audience and their willingness to share and influence others. Last week, the fairly unknown model ‘Nora Segura’ took over the leading position in the Meerkat score list of mega pop star Madonna with a series of … let’s call it: teasing videos. She proved to be able to build her personal brand on top of this relatively new medium and I’m sure she’s monetizing this perfectly now. Other new heroes like Herbie Merrin or Geoff Goldberg easily compete with big names because they understand the medium and effectively claim a position. Your brand could do the same and launch into this current niche, using the PR that it generates for more brand awareness. Especially if your brand has a lot of visual content to show, either of the product itself, or in ‘backstage’ production processes, it is not very difficult to build a highly profiled position at this moment. A New York Pizza Restaurant, craftsmen and many local musicians have already profited from this, attracting customers and fans outside their ‘natural reach’ and for a very low budget.
Powerful: Intrinsic loyalty and advocacy enablement
These apps are perfect instruments to build up intrinsic loyalty (customer being loyal because they want to, not because you reward them for it) among a crowd that is highly sensitive to sharing their experiences and opinions with others. The current direct coverage of social streaming is limited, but the indirect impact of the power of advocacy of this audience should not be under estimated, especially because their loyalty to your brand – in case you would be an early adopter in broadcasting engaging content – can be long lasting and building up a lot of credits. Not the monetary type yet, but the really valuable credits: the emotional type.
At this moment, you could use Meerkat and Periscope to educate people about your brand, the way your product is used best and show your viewers exclusive behind the scenes content that doesn’t require expense video teams and directors. The more spontaneous and informal, the better. At VEMT, we have suggested several clients to use this medium to create their desired group of advocates for a very low budget, faster than before, while learning what this medium could grow into when audiences grow and will have higher expectations of the content delivery quality. It’s not mainstream yet and expectations should be moderate, but using your marketing technology infrastructure to manage this new untapped crowd of highly engaged people. Besides that, it’s fun! Try it out and let me know about your experiences!