The Social Media Opportunity That’ll Confuse Your Digital Marketers

Tony Compton, Managing Partner

If your sales, marketing, and customer service teams are not embracing the value, power, and creativity of one of the two new live streaming video apps, you’re missing out. Moreover, they’re probably starting to give your digital marketers fits.

You’ve heard about Periscope and Meerkat. You’ve read reports about these new apps and their rapid penetration into the marketplace. You may have even watched a video or two to see how these apps work. (They’re very easy to use.) And while you may be wildly enthusiastic about the potential of live streaming mobile media, this is one social initiative that differs from the rest. It’s also one that your digital marketers are ill-equipped to truly handle. Not in terms of technical ability, but in terms of human performance. It’s essentially live television, and guess who’s anchoring your corporate broadcasts? Your colleagues. Your team, especially your digital marketers, needs help. 

Agnostic, For Now

This post doesn’t endorse one app over the other. Between the two, Meerkat was first to market, but Periscope is owned by Twitter and seems to be getting a bit more “play” nowadays. That’s my anecdotal impression. These two apps are certainly not the first ones to offer live streaming media options, but they have captured the imagination of the mobile market in 2015.

Modest feature and functionality differences between Periscope and Meerkat exist, but each provides the ability to go live, on-camera, anytime, to speak to a worldwide audience by using an iOS or Android device. Indeed, the marketing, sales and customer service opportunities are endless, but you’ll need to address a number of human performance and audience interaction issues before getting started with live video. Your digital personnel likely won’t be equipped to handle on-camera performance issues and talent coaching, and you may be expecting too much from them on this one. Your salespeople, service reps, and marketers, too.

Four Paths

With respect to the new streaming media apps, there are four distinctive paths from which to choose. You can:

  1. Do nothing.
  2. Deny everybody access.
  3. Wing it! Allow your people to use one or both of the apps however they see fit.
  4. Recognize what’s at stake, and act on the requirements of this social media initiative.

Choosing either of the first two will allow your competitors to beat you to the punch. It’s that simple. While you’re crafting emails, updating web pages, polishing slides, and printing collateral, those who have built both private and public audiences can take to the app “airwaves” instantaneously for real-time interaction. While you’re using your typewriter, they’re informing and engaging.

If they’re properly using live streaming media, that is.

Number 3 is a Nightmare. If it’s the Wild West of external communication at your company, and anybody can start a live video anytime about any topic, hang on to your hat. If you’re lucky, you may have somebody on staff who practices superior on-camera performance behaviors which give an audience a reason to watch and engage.
But remember, even top presenters need to know about the lengthy list of technical, environmental, and situational considerations before presenting on a live video app. Sound, location, crowd control, lighting, wardrobe, the setting… it all counts and it all matters. No doubt you’ve watched live TV when something unexpectedly goes wrong. It happens to the best in the business, and it’s bound to happen to you and your people, even in the best of circumstances. Imagine what will happen if the approach is to wing it. Your brand and reputation are going live, and you need to adequately prepare.

Number 4: Recognizing What’s at Stake and Taking Action

It bears repeating:

Your people.
Going LIVE, on-camera.
Anytime, anywhere.
Influencing your brand and reputation.
What will you do?

That’s just for openers. Think about the power your customers have. Think about the weight live video through an app carries when tightly integrated with Twitter. You certainly can’t control your customers, but you can – and should – control what you do in these channels to positively influence your audience. This is not about uploading another corporate video. This is about supporting and governing immediate, real-time, LIVE, on-camera audience interactions to strengthen brand and reputation, customer service and demand generation initiatives, and new business opportunities. Any way this new trend is viewed, it can become an extremely powerful tool in your company quiver.

Creative ideas about what really can be done with the planning and distribution of content on live video apps is the subject matter of upcoming posts which will go beyond the simple notions of streaming a speech or giving a product demo.

For now, consider embracing the innovation and value of real-time mobile video that Periscope and Meerkat provide, and brainstorm about how it can be used for a competitive advantage. Please, think beyond sticking your nose in your smartphone camera and becoming just another talking head! Your marketing, sales, and customer service teams will appreciate what quality, live video content and customer interactions will do for them, and your digital marketers will thank you for the help in addressing recurring on-camera talent issues.

In doing this, you’ll be a trailblazer in your industry.

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