5 smart ways to add Meerkat into your marketing mix

Meerkat

It was the hot topic on everyone’s lips at SXSW; Meerkat, the live streaming social video app that currently has more than 120,000 users (and growing, fast). The basic principle behind the technology is that users can live stream directly to Twitter using their mobile and anyone can tune in to watch.

There is potential for Meerkat to have an enormous impact on brands’ digital marketing. However, the streaming app should not simply be viewed as a way to broadcast; it’s all about real-time interaction and engagement. The benefits for brands are plentiful; never before have brands had such insight into exactly who is watching, listening and engaging with them right at that moment. Moreover, companies have the power to schedule upcoming live streams and alert their followers with notifications on Twitter.

So, how do you make your mark on the hottest newbie in digital marketing? With our five smart tips of course!

#1 Events and news announcements

Live conversations are key to an event’s success, so open up your conference, speech or product release to a whole new audience, anywhere around the globe. Live video access to an event or announcement will convey a new depth of information about your brand and combining a live stream with the relevant hashtag will supercharge your reach on social.

#2 Product demonstrations and tips

Product demonstrations tie into the above point, as the unveiling of a new product is often the focus of an event. However, brands can take this even further; got a complex B2B tech product? Inviting a tech expert to do a live demonstration, answering potential and existing customers’ questions in real-time, goes beyond providing entertainment and offers something uniquely valuable to both customers and prospects.

#3 Behind-the-scenes access

People love to feel that they are part of something ‘exclusive’, so offer a fly-on-the-wall experience to build anticipation to your brand’s events or announcements. Seeing behind the scenes allows your audience to discover the ‘human’ side to your brand which, as we know, goes a very long way to building consumer trust.

#4 Promos and deals

In much the same way as Snapchat, brands can use Meerkat to offer exclusive, limited-time deals and promos. And unlike Snapchat, Meerkat has an audience in the B2B arena. Twitter is home to many business professionals and producing content that users can only get via Meerkat will help brands build a large following, right from the word go.

#5 Q&As

Live ‘ask me anythings’ are a great way for B2B brands to prove their expertise, position themselves as thought leaders and build the profile of C-level execs. Meerkat offers the opportunity to show the brand’s ‘human’ side through a Q&A with ‘unscripted’ answers in real-time.

It’s still too early to tell whether Meerkat is here to stay, or whether it will be another ‘fad’. While it can add genuine value to your marketing mix, the main barrier to brands adopting the streaming service will most likely be lack of control over content. Unlike Instagram and Snapchat, the live nature of the app prevents any editing and once it’s out there, it’s out there. However, it’s precisely this ‘realness’ that we think makes it special.

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Election 2015: A vote for social media?

Social media and politicz

We know that social media has the power to alter our personal perceptions – but will it truly influence the party we vote into power? The General Election in the UK is approaching rapidly and yet social media’s strength is still proving to be an unknown quantity. What we do know however, is that the clout of Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn has grown dramatically since the last general election in 2010, when it failed to have the expected degree of impact on results.

There’s an important difference between this election and the last. Five years ago just a quarter of MPs and only one party leader used Facebook. Now, two-thirds of MPs and all the party leaders have a profile. While they are now all online, the tactics each party has adopted differ greatly; one aims to engage people in debate, while another is using paid social advertising to disseminate its messages. Perhaps that explains recent research suggesting that one experiencing greater success on Twitter and the other is dominating on Facebook.

PR Week thinks social media will be key; the publication says that this year could be the first truly integrated election we have experienced in the UK. All the major parties have continued to use traditional media to explain their key messages and most have then used social media to augment their significance.

According to a recent Ipso Mori survey, more than a third people aged 18-24 think social media will influence their vote. However, voters outside of this group are doubtful. That’s to be expected; surely the key to any successful campaign is to reach the target audience in the place they prefer to absorb information? True, social media has a strong resonance with younger demographics – who prefer to get their news from social platforms as opposed to printed broadsheets – but older audiences are still more likely to ascertain their information from traditional sources. Supporting this argument, the same survey pointed out just 19% of people are likely to trust information gained from social media above newspapers. It also explains why social media is apparently lagging behind TV debates, newspapers, and election broadcasts in terms of influence.

Disregarding the debate, and looking at the maths, here are some stats for you: 

  • There are more than 46 million eligible voters in the UK
  • Approximately 6 million of those that can vote are aged 18-24
  • In 2010 44% of those aged between 18 and 24 voted – that’s around 2.6 million voters
  • In 2010 there were 29.6 million total votes cast (27 million aged 25+)

That means, should the 6 million eligible to vote in this age group take to the polls this May, they’d make up more than 20 percent of the total voters. That’s a lot of influence, given that the winning party took just 36.1% of the vote last time around!

Perhaps then, the big question is, can social media influence traditionally apathetic 18-24 year-olds to head to a polling station in May? If the answer is yes, then this really could be the first election to be won through the power of Twitter and Facebook.

Of course, nothing is certain and we, like everyone else, will have to wait until May (and the post-election analysis) to discover the true power of social media. In the meantime, what do you think? Can a party get your vote by engaging with you on Snapchat?

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Weekly social scoop

Latest news and developments on LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook – just in case you missed it 

Weekly social scoop

#1 LinkedIn revamps Sponsored InMail

By The Drum

  • Building on its new suite of Marketing Solutions, launched last month, LinkedIn has revamped and reintroduced Sponsored InMail
  • The key update is that mail will now only be sent to users when they are logged in and actively using LinkedIn
  • The move is aimed at improving targeted messaging; enabling brands to directly communicate with the right people, at the right time

#2 YouTube introducing 360-degree videos

By Tech Radar

  • In a nod to the virtual reality tech innovations we have been seeing more and more of, YouTube has announced it will launch support for 360-degree videos
  • The new technology will allow users to see either side of a scene and even turn round completely to see behind
  • The swish new tool is said to be launching in the next few days and advertisers and brands will be among the first to make use of it 

#3 Snapchat valuation soars

By The Guardian

  • Snapchat’s valuation has skyrocketed to £15bn (£10bn) thanks to Chinese ecommerce giant, Alibaba, investing $200m in the company
  • The latest figures from the photo-sharing app dwarf the $3bn offer from Facebook just over a year ago
  • With Snapchat currently banned in China, it is unclear what the immediate value of the app is to Alibaba

#4 FCA’s warning about Twitter

By City Wire

  • Companies promoting complex products have been warned by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) about using ‘character limited’ services such as Twitter
  • “It may be possible to signpost a product or service with a link to more comprehensive information, provided that the promotion remains compliant in itself. Alternatively, it may be more appropriate to use ‘image advertising’ to promote a firm more generally” said the regulator 

#5 Facebook revamps content guidelines

By BBC News Technology

  • Facebook is hoping to provide more clarity around what content is banned on the social network with its revised guidelines
  • A section on ‘dangerous organisations’ will now be included in community standards to give more detail on what types of nudity it allows to be published

#6 Twitter looks east

By The Financial Times

  • Despite Twitter being banned in mainland China, the social network has opened a one-man office in Hong Kong, in the hope of attracting more of China’s fast-growing, global companies onto the platform
  • Peter Greenberger, who heads up the social media company’s emerging markets operations, said: “The opportunity, we think, is huge. We know there’s demand. We’ve had some experience with Chinese companies already that are seeking to reach audiences overseas.”

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Weekly social scoop

Latest news and developments on WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ – just in case you missed it…

Weekly social scoop

#1 Is Google+ dead?

By The Independent

  • Bradley Horowitz, a VP at Google, has announced that the company will be splitting its social network into ‘Photos’ and ‘Streams’
  • There has been no word from the company on the future of the struggling Google+ brand, which was launched in 2011
  • The Independent has observed that “Photos and Streams are likely an attempt by Google to take the more popular and successful services that are integrated within Google+ — such as its photo editing tools and its integration with other software — and ditch the Google+ branding” 

#2 Instagram rolls out clickable links

By The Independent

  • For the first time, Instagram will allow advertisers to post clickable links in their posts
  • The update is part of a broader push to encourage users to interact more with paid-for posts and comes after the intro of the new ad format, “carousel ads”
  • Instagram says the scrollable ads could allow companies to “bring the potential of multi-page print campaigns to mobile phone”

#3 Meerkat fun on Twitter

By The Guardian

  • Meerkat, a live-streaming phone app, was launched at the end of February, but became a fascination for many Twitter users last Wednesday
  • The clever tool allows users to live-stream video straight to the web and uses Twitter to alert people to Meerkat broadcasts
  • As other people start to watch your stream, their profile picture will appear on your screen and you are able to interact with each other 

#4 iOS calling for WhatsApp in Beta stage

By International Business Times

  • There is fresh evidence that WhatsApp is in the beta phase of testing iOS calling, with rumours that the update will be available for public download in the near future
  • Italian blog, iPhone Italia, has posted screenshots suggesting the new tool is being tested for the OTT app

#5 Facebook develops artificial intelligence test

By Internation Business Times

  • A team of artificial intelligence researchers at Facebook HQ have developed an intelligence test for computers
  • The test is designed in the hope that it could one day be used to create a digital assistant – potentially used to filter Facebook user’s news feeds 

#6 Facebook page ‘Likes’ expected to plunge

By The Independent

  • If your company has a Facebook page, you are likely to see the amount of ‘Likes’ your page has drop, thanks to the news that Facebook will remove deactivated accounts and those owned by people who have died
  • The removal is thought to begin in the next few weeks and it is unclear at this stage exactly how many accounts will be affected

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Weekly social scoop

Latest news and developments on YouTube, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter – just in case you missed it

Weekly social scoop

#1 YouTube for Kids

By BBC News Technology

  • The world’s largest online video platform, YouTube, is rolling out YouTube for Kids in a bid to make its content more child-friendly
  • The app, which will run separately from the main channel, will have strict parental controls and restrictions on who can upload videos, as well as curating content from sources such as Sesame Street
  • It launches in the US on Monday the 23rd February and will be available in the UK later in the year

#2 LinkedIn launches global ad network

By Financial Times

  • Following its acquisition of Bizo last year, LinkedIn has launched a set of advertising products that bring ads to users, not only on LinkedIn’s site, but on over 2,500 other websites
  • The move, aimed at increasing LinkedIn’s lead-generating capabilities, will allow marketers to utilise more of LinkedIn’s data to bring tailored adverts to the right people at the right time
  • The Drum has reported that Samsung and Lenovo are two of the first companies to trial the new product range following the launch last Thursday

#3 Snapchat gets musical

By The Guardian

  • Snapchat users using iOS are now able to add music to their snaps using SoundCloud, iTunes and Spotify
  • The update will enable users to record a track and use it as the soundtrack on their snap or upload it to their “Stories” profile, which may pose a threat to start ups such as the music-based communication app, Dubsmash
  • It looks like this may be the first of many steps into the music world for SnapChat as the company’s Chief Executive, Evan Spiegel, has said he “sees music as a really interesting opportunity”

#4 Facebook ads get smarter

By Mashable

  • Facebook is making its adverts even smarter by rolling out a new set of dynamically optimised tools called Product Ads
  • The updates will bring more intelligent, tailored ads by targeting users based on their activity, location and interests
  • For the first time, adverts will also have the ability to show more than one product at once, which should increase the odds of users finding something to buy

#5 YouTube prepares ad-free service

By The Guardian

  • In a bid to compete with streaming services such as Netflix, Google’s YouTube is preparing to launch a paid-for subscription service for users who don’t want to see adverts
  • The move, which the video-sharing platform has been trialling since 2013, is part of YouTube’s efforts to “fine-tune” the user experience 

#6 Twitter wooing developers

By Financial Times

  • Twitter is launching an international campaign to attract businesses and developers to build products for the social platform
  • Twitter hopes that the new products will increase its user base and drive revenue
  • The move follows the release of tools last October specifically designed to help programmers build apps

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