Meerkat and Periscope

Meerkat and Periscope

Listen as Brian Fanzo shares how businesses are using live video broadcasting with Meerkat and Periscope.

You can also subscribe via , , , or . .How Brian got started with mobile broadcasting

Brian, who calls himself a change evangelist, has a technology background and a love of social media. He is always looking for ways people can leverage technology to be more productive and tell their story in unique ways. Brian likes to jump on every new app: it’ll either fail fast, and he’ll uninstall it or he’ll run with it! Mobile broadcasting definitely falls into the later category.

Brian shares how he was introduced to Meerkat. He was speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, when he got a message from someone who worked at Twitter, telling him that Ashton Kutcher and Gary Vaynerchuck were on a new video app. About 35 seconds later, Brian had downloaded it and clicked the start button.

Meerkat came out February 26, 2015, and Brian was on it March 2.

Brian took to Meerkat immediately. He put his mobile device on his tripod, hit the stream button, put in the event hashtag and was live. He treated it like he does his regular YouTube videos: walking around, describing the event and sharing it with his audience.

About three minutes in, someone commented, “I see the Samsung booth, can you turn to your right.” That’s when Brian realized he didn’t just bring the experience to his audience, he was letting his viewers be a part of it. People in the United States could dictate what they saw in Spain. “It felt interactive, like having a true conversation,” he recalls.

Since Brian was about to go to South by Southwest,  he put some strategy behind his Meerkating. Brian contacted a couple of brands that were holding different events, and asked for backstory, so he could be prepared to cover them. During SXSW, Brian did a Meerkat of all the sessions he went to, as well as a preview each morning and recap every evening. About 300-800 people watched each stream, no matter what he was talking about.

Brian had a lot of opportunities to explore Meerkat in March.

Periscope was released into the Apple store during Social Media Marketing World (the last week of March 2015), and Brian recalls using Periscope for first time during the opening keynote.

Listen to the show to hear where Brian was when he heard about Periscope at Social Media Marketing World.

How live streaming apps work

Live streaming isn’t anything new,” Brian explains. “It’s really just turning on a video and opening the portal to anyone who wants to use it.”

What’s new is the fact that we’re able to download an app, sign in with a Twitter account or phone number, click stream and post the link. Then anybody in your Twitter community can click on that link and watch whatever you’re showing on your phone. The big piece is the mobile aspect. It’s as simple as a basic tweet and hitting the “stream” button.

Listen to the show to learn how and where to watch a Meerkat or Periscope live stream.

Businesses uses for live broadcasting

Much like podcasting and social media, the people who using mobile video are doing so from a storytelling point of view. Brian recommends businesses think like a fan. There are fans of what you are doing who want to have access into your everyday life. Think about what fans would like to see (for example, behind the scenes of your life and business) and show them that.

Hootsuite did a campaign called “Follow the Sun,” using Periscope. They decided to let their employees showcase what they called #HootsuiteLife. They gave access to different people in every company office around the globe. Throughout the day, it would “Follow the Sun,” and people in different offices would log into the Hootsuite account and walk around and show off their culture, interviewing their friends, etc. Brian remembers thinking that they talk about the importance of culture and now they are proving it. The number of inbound applications drastically increased after people got that sneak peek into their company.

Hootsuite’s #FollowtheSun campaign showcased #HootsuiteLife around the globe.

The people who watch mobile streaming video are able to comment on the screen, so the person who is showing them around can also answer questions.

Brian shares a few other use cases for this technology. A realtor can do a live stream walk-through on a Friday before a Saturday open house to drum up excitement. Anyone in a business where they want to premiere something ahead of time or need to show off something remotely, whether it’s a mobile app or a physical product, will truly benefit from this. It humanizes you and your brand, and encourages the audience to root for your success.

Brian believes there’s nobody better to share your passion, your story and your value proposition than you. Not everybody is comfortable blogging, tweeting or humble-bragging on Facebook. But if you can explain to someone the how and the why of what you do, it makes it a powerful conversation.

At Social Media Marketing World, Brian interviewed Jay Baer backstage before Jay did his first keynote on Hug your Haters. It was a real raw look into what Jay’s feelings were before he went on stage.

Listen to the show to hear the Hootsuite coffeemaker story and discover the powerful impact that unproduced story elements can have.

Recording your live streams

Both Meerkat and Periscope allow you to save video to your camera roll. At this point, comments are not part of the saved video.

When you upload the video portion to Facebook native video, Facebook adjusts it so the player view is only as wide as the video, while YouTube plays the cropped rectangle.

Both apps give users the option to hit replay.

In Periscope, anyone who is following you on that app can watch the video for 24 hours after the live stream. After that, the video is gone, unless it’s saved to your camera roll.

Because Meerkat is a startup with venture backing, and they have an open API, streamers can use a 3rd party app record the live stream. Brian uses Katchkats, and has it set up to automatically record and upload to his YouTube channel.

Listen to the show to discover how the data is saved.

Meerkat versus Periscope: the pros and cons

Brian believes both apps have strengths and weaknesses.

Since Meerkat is a startup, they are going to add features that are not fully baked and might have some glitches. They were the first ones to have an android app and they were the first ones to attempt to do a feature that automatically posts to a Facebook page. It may not be perfect from a delivery standpoint, but they are embracing what Brian calls “failing fast” and allowing their community to have input into how these features are built.

Meerkat also has scheduling ability. You can schedule a live stream 24 hours in advance, and get a permalink to share that drive traffic to your live stream.

Periscope does not have that option. However, when you go live, Periscope will automatically post the link to Twitter for you. Periscope also gives you the option to do a private stream. You select certain followers in the app, and only those followers are notified and are able to view that stream. It gives you a little exclusivity.

Another thing that Periscope has done really well is that it focuses on the user’s experience, as well as the streamer’s. It uses every aspect of the screen for the video. They have hearts, so if you are watching the video, you can tap on the screen as a watcher and the streamer will see the hearts float up from the bottom and know what they are talking about is something the audience likes.

Periscope viewers can show love by sending hearts hearts.

Brian shares some things to keep in mind when deciding which app to try first.

If you are looking to be the streamer, the one behind the camera, Periscope is a great place to start, because it has a larger community. You have the flexibility of growing your community, plus it’s more likely your feed will be found by the masses.

If you want to test the technology out, and see how others are using it and be part of the community (jump on other streams, comment, ask questions), then try Meerkat. Those who are on Meerkat have been on it a little bit longer and are likely to answer questions.

Put simply: Want to get going now? Periscope. Want to test it out and see what others are doing? Meerkat.

Listen to the show to discover why competition is a good thing.

How to start strong as a broadcaster

Your greatest opportunity to draw in viewers is the tweet that’s sent out whenever you go live. So, like in every great tweet, include hashtags, as well as a title that will capture attention and define your topic.

Also, Brian says, keep in mind, a half-baked live stream today is better than a perfect live stream tomorrow. So if you keep trying to make something like this perfect, it’s never going to happen. Just embrace it and don’t overthink it.

It’s essential to be yourself and be human. Brian shares the friendly reaction he received when he told his audience he had to jump off a live stream to eat dinner with his daughters.

Brian recommends the following for live streaming:

  • Ollo clip: a mobile phone lens; one lens is the fish eye and one is for zoom.
  • Joby tripod: a desktop tripod with magnetic feet.
  • Audio: indoors you should just be able to use your mobile device. However, if you are outside or somewhere noisy, use your iPhone headphones.

Remember, when broadcasting you need the phone close enough so you can read the comments.

Listen to the show to learn how to switch cameras back and forth on the app, as well as Brian’s tripod hacks.

What to avoid

People are not going to tune into your stream over a professional one, Brian says. They are there to see you and your unique view.

Avoid streaming things that are copyrighted, as well as events people are already paying for. It doesn’t hurt to ask who is running the event permission to stream it from your angle. It’s not replacing what someone else is doing, it’s offering another aspect.

Also, tell others around you that you are streaming, so they are aware. For more information on copyright and live mobile streaming, check out articles from Kerry Gorgone.

Listen to the show to discover Brian’s motto for what to stream.

Discovery of the Week

TripMode is a cool tool to use on your Mac laptop that will give you freedom to decide what apps are able to connect to using the data on a mobile device. So, if you don’t have wifi, and decide to sync your iPhone to your laptop and use it as a mobile hotspot, you can have fast performance.

TripMode helps you manage which apps can connect to your mobile device and use your data.

Install Trip Mode and an icon will appear in the menu bar. You can have it automatically connect on the mobile hotspot or turn it on manually. It will even give you data usage per app. For example, you can check or uncheck Dropbox, Google Chrome, mail, etc.

You can turn it on with any wifi.

There’s a promotional price right now. There’s also a free version which has an unlimited trial for 7 days and then it gives you 15 minutes free per day, which might be enough.

Listen to the show to learn more and let us know how TripMode works for you.

Other Show Mentions

The Social Media Marketing Society is a member community for anyone who cares about social media marketing.

There two big questions people are asking are: Is the Social Media Marketing Society for me? And how much does it cost?

If you are always trying new things with social media and feel you already keep up with all the changes, then the society is likely not for you. However, if you feel you are a little behind on what’s going on in social media, need a competitive edge for your business and want to be trained in latest proven techniques, then check it out. We built it for busy marketers who struggle to keep up with all the latest and greatest changes in social media.

Society membership includes three original, highly tactical trainings each month, which last 60 to 90 minutes. Members also get access to exclusive private forums, where they can connect with like-minded individuals, ask questions and help out others. They also get social hangouts. Every month we bring people together on a video conference to connect.

The cost is $40 per month and enrollment for the Social Media Marketing Society ends on June 30 and will not reopen until 2016. It’s not a contract, so you can cancel at any time. Check out one of those trainings for free. Just go to You can also register there.

Listen to the show!


Key takeaways mentioned in this episode:

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Insights from Brian Fanzo on how businesses are using Meerkat and Periscope for live mobile broadcasts.

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