3 musts for using Periscope or Meerkat

The live-broadcasting channels are hot, but the caveats—including pivotal legal issues—warrant caution and an understanding of how best to proceed.


Video is the hottest communication channel for young consumers.

Last December, Facebook video posts overtook YouTube video posts, with brand managers posting 20,000 more videos on Facebook than on YouTube. Video-enabled platforms such as Vine, Snapchat and Instagram are among the fastest-growing social networks for 18- to 24-year-olds.

Now Periscope and Meerkat have been tossed into the mix.

These instant video streams offer immense value for consumers. They can access content anywhere and everywhere, making digital TV ubiquitous. Before brand managers jump on the live-streaming bandwagon, they should ask themselves three important questions to avoid simple social media blunders:

Does this make for good TV?

YouTube and Facebook videos are usually segments of recorded, planned and strategized programming. Periscope and Meerkat, however, are live broadcasts. Does your Periscope campaign make for good TV?

During live TV shows, 62 percent of viewers are using a second screen. Think about how you can evoke the same kind of interaction, but in real time. Most campaigns rely on user-generated content, with the brand manager tossing in one question or statement to fuel a viral conversation. With Meerkat and Periscope, the content produced is stemming only from the organization.

Also, these live streams happen fast. Marketers should think about how they can keep the conversation going. Questions and comments fire quickly across screens on Periscope, so your on-camera exec should be someone who is quick on his or her feet, and is ready for any curve balls—especially during an AMA (ask me anything) session.

Who is your audience?

Before marketers have their CMO or CEO broadcast a company announcement, think about who is using the platform. Given that both Periscope and Meerkat are still in their early stages, user demographics have yet to be disclosed. Thought the platforms are still establishing their identity on social media, both Periscope and Meerkat attract younger viewers—as Snapchat has done—and early adopters.

These users might not know what to expect with Periscope. One early trend was #FridgeView, in which everyone—celebrities and everyday Joes alike—showcased the contents of their refrigerators. Conversely, reporters and citizen journalists have also taken to the live-streaming world, broadcasting breaking news via cell phones.

Make sure the message you want to convey in the live broadcast syncs with your target audience.

Is this illegal?

New platforms are always enticing for marketers and brand managers. They provide opportunities for organizations to engage with their community. However, new platforms come with new rules. Agency reps and brand managers must consider the legal repercussions.

Guerrilla campaigns and “man-on-the-street” style videos generate great content, but similar to the TV industry, brand managers must have the live-video participants sign a release. Unlike Twitter or Facebook contests for which the rules are written, Periscope and Meerkat would require that releases be signed prior to the live broadcast, just as when shooting video ads.

For example, if marketers want to host a campaign asking participants questions for a prize, the participants would be required to sign a release form. This protects the organization from any violations to a person’s right of publicity. Kerry Gorgone, lawyer and social media law expert, recently detailed other legal aspects for marketers to consider.

The ability to live-broadcast anything through mobile devices is an incredible revolution in today’s user-centric generation. The opportunities for organizations are endless, as John Bohan mentioned in April.

Still, it’s crucial to make sure the content is engaging, captures the right audience and stays within legal boundaries.

Brian Selander is executive vice president at Whistle Sports Network. A version of this article first appeared on iMediaConnection.

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