What is Meerkat App: The DIYMarketers Meerkat Startup Guide

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There’s a new social tool in town and all the digital marketing, social media experts and agency glitterati are singing its praises:

“It’s like Twitter back in 2008!”

Meerkat App is live streaming video direct to Twitter

There is nothing new about streaming live video, you can do that via Google Hangouts, Ustream or Livestream. But the Meerkat App is a little different; it’s more like Vine or Instagram but with a Snapchat twist. In other words, you can only see the stream while it’s live and once it’s over — it’s over. Now there is an option to save the video once you close the video Meerkat will give you the ability to save the video.

And, if you want to stream the video directly to YouTube there is a hack you can use, however, to save your video to YouTube. You’ll find the details in this TechCrunch article;

Add #Katch to your Meerkat video description tweet and the service will record and upload the live stream to YouTube, tweeting you a link to the video once it’s done processing — like so (below) — and adding to the tally of badly framed videos on YouTube:

While Snapchat hasn’t quite caught on for small business applications, Meerkat has taken off for commercial applications.

Is the Meerkat App for You?

Like any social media tool, Meerkat maybe a good tool for you, it may not be. I’m going to be writing a lot more about this, but here are my recommendations so far (remember, this tool has only been out for a couple of weeks now) so results may vary as we learn more.

Meerkat is for you if —

If you and your location are where it’s happening. Meerkat is a great tool for newscasters and reporters. If you are somewhere like a trade show or concert where the action is happening where you are, this is the tool to use.
Your content is YOU centered. Let me explain, Meerkat works from YOUR mobile device. It’s not like Google hangout where a bunch of people from all over the world can get together. It’s where YOU are. YOU need to have the ability to carry the hosting or the action. Either you are reporting, recording or interviewing.
You are a performer. I can absolutely see the benefit of this if you are a musician or artist or speaker. All you do is set this puppy up and start recording your performance — BOOM – everyone is there. Super for promos.
You have a restaurant. It’s an awesome tool for chefs and restaurant owners to bring the experience to their fans and social media communities.

You are an athlete or sports professional – Use Meerkat to share receiving a trophy or to catch that great play.

You are launching a product: Get the excitement going around an upcoming product. Strategically Meercast meetings and backstage prep.

You are demonstrating something: An awesome way to share a product or service demo or how-to tip LIVE.

How to watch a Meerkat Meercast

The first thing you want to do is get your terminology straight — it’s called Meercasting or Meerkatting.

#1. Download the app.

Grab it on iTunes. Unfortunately for Android users, the app is “watch only”.

#2. Sign in with your Twitter account.

You’ll need to have a Twitter account to sign in. Here’s how that works.

#3. Grab some followers to watch

In the upper left hand corner you’ll see your Twitter handle — click on that and you’ll get a screen that looks like this:

Everyone will have some “followers” listed there. Click on “Followers” and you’ll see this:

When you first start out — you’ll only see plus signs. When you click on a plus sign, you’ll see a green check mark, that means that you are following these people and the next time they start #Meercasting — you’ll get a notification on your phone. Once you see the notification, Meerkat will start grabbing the stream:

In a few seconds, you’ll start to see the live stream.

Watching a live stream

As soon as you login, you will see a screen that looks like this —

At the top of the screen are the current live streams that are running. Simply tap the screen and you will begin watching.

Notice that at the bottom of each stream you can see 3 icons — these are important

The heart icon = favorites

The chat bubble = Tweet
The arrows = Retweet
The house — takes you back to the main screen

To leave a comment or Tweet – simply press the chat bubble at the bottom of the screen — you can see the comments steaming. If you were to go to Twitter and click on the Meerkat LIVE tweet – you would see all the comments there.

Startup Meerkatting Tips

I’ll start by saying this — Meerkat isn’t for everyone, AND if you fit any of the criteria I discussed above, definitely take some time to try it out. Look, remember, the folks who grab a platform the soonest will get the most followers, will build a better audience and have MUCH better engagement.

I learned basic Meerkat in about 45 minutes. I was able to sign in, grab some followers and watch a few. I still haven’t created any Meerkats, but I expect to in the next few days or so.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Meerkat is a MOBILE platform – Use your iPhone or iPad to run Meerkat. It’s by far the best way to experience the tool. The commenting is easy and it’s much easier to find Meercasts to watch.
    Don’t be afraid to mess around with it. Right now, people are experimenting with all kinds of stuff, some are doing contests, some are simply showing a blank screen – and PEOPLE ARE WATCHING and commenting. Go figure.
  • Failure is NOT an option – You cannot fail right now, you can’t screw it up or do anything wrong. Give it a day, give it a shot. And really challenge yourself to find a fun application for it.
  • Finally, if it’s not for you — just ignore it. The last thing I would want you to do is stress about another new tool. I will keep you posted and continue sharing what I learn.

Download the Meerkat app and let me know what you think. If you have Meerkat tips – share them in the comments below.

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