Meerkat or Periscope - which one for attorneys?

Meerkat – Periscope update

After my post on the two neophyte live-streaming tools, Meerkat and Periscope, I was fortunate to attend a webinar on the same topic, hosted last week by @SocialMediaExaminer and led by @iSocialFanz.  Social Media Examiner is “the world’s largest social media magazine at, Brian Fanzo is Chief Digital Strategist and Partner at BroadSuite and tweets with the handle, @iSocialFanz.  Here is a summary of Brian’s insights, followed by my suggestions on how live-streaming might be used in the legal world (plus, please refer you to my original post).  At this time, neither Meerkat nor Periscope are ready for use on Android, but Brian expects this will come soon.  Because of this early stage, he refrained from choosing one option over the other. 

You may know or recall from my post, these two apps debuted earlier this spring, Meerkat in late February, and Periscope in late March.  Both were created with the idea of “failing fast,” meaning neither one was “baked to perfection” as Brian puts it, but allow the user community to engage and help shape the products.

Why should business care about this?  “It’s a technology, allowing you to connect to your audience in real time, to have a live, authentic, mobile-to-mobile experience,” said Brian.  Plus, both options leverage a mobile group that already exists (Twitter).  Meerkat allows content to upload directly to Twitter, Periscope allows users to select people to follow from their already-established pool of Tweeps.  Brian also noted that the mobile-enabled capability increases ease of use:  once you set up an account, simply log in, input a description (for your stream), and go live.

How might you use this?  I ran into Brian at the opening reception of the 2015 Social Media Marketing World conference.  While I was talking with Mark W. Schaefer and Chris Penn, Brian joined us and he was live-streaming the meeting and interactions.  Brian’s followers could then view and hear the interaction in real time, “meet” Mark and Chris, as well as post questions for Brian or for those he was with.

Much of America learned about selfie sticks from a light-hearted post by President Obama.  Mashable took it a step further by creating a dual selfie stick for live streaming.  During this time where Meerkat and Periscope are competing, why choose one, when you can stream via both platforms simultaneously?  (See below, Brian broadcast live over both platforms today to gauge how each platform and each respective audience responded.)

Who’s watching?  Meerkat gives you the ability to schedule ahead and alert your followers to an upcoming live-stream by sending an advance tweet, for example:  “@Savvy-Lawyer (not a real account) goes live at 1PM with an update on recent MedMal ruling.”  When you are live, with Meerkat you can see an array of your followers shown in a banner across the top of your mobile screen.

Periscope doesn’t yet enable scheduling, but you can promote via Twitter and other social media, just as you might promote any other event.  It does provide the ability to view engaged followers – they appear on your screen as they “like” and comment on your content.  On Periscope, you can have private broadcasts (define a group and broadcast only to them) and limit who can comment.

People can subscribe to a live-stream feed without following the particular individual’s Twitter account. 

Call to action.  Brian showed an example where Madonna used Meerkat live-streaming to promote an upcoming album, and closed out that broadcast with a message motivating viewers to follow a link to buy the album.  As of Brian’s webinar, Periscope did not have the call-to-action/link feature.  In contrast, building your following is harder on Meerkat (you can build up Periscope from your Twitter following), but you can build a list of who has commented on your broadcasts (Meerkats) and can use the call-to-action feature.  Brian said, “The ability to link that data from Meerkat to Twitter is powerful.”  (He mines the data of the comments after each broadcast as a way to better understand his audience – a smart follow-up technique.)

Show your story.  Live streaming may be a means for telling others about your mission and culture.  Brian mentioned the example of HootSuite, who gave employees access to the company’s Periscope account, and created “Follow the Sun,” a live-stream story of the company’s culture, told as the day progressed through HootSuite’s international offices.

Live means live.  At the close of a live-stream broadcast with Periscope, you have the option to “save stream.”  This will save for 24 hours.  There is no time limit on a recording, but if you want to save the file, size will matter because you can’t save to your phone.  You can import to your phone like any video in your camera roll.  Without the save feature, the broadcast disappears.  Live means live – if you didn’t view the Madonna album announcement live…you missed it.

Both platforms enable live comments from your viewers – opportunity for real-time conversations.  Periscope’s comments are almost real-time, Meerkat takes slightly longer (15 to 20 seconds, per Brian).  You can turn off the comments feature in Periscope, but not in Meerkat.

Have a plan.  Live-streaming will drive creativity, but if you don’t provide value, viewers will quickly tune out and/or unfollow.  Therefore, Brian cautioned, have a strategy when live-streaming.

Show me!  Wanna see an example?  You can search “Live on Periscope” or “Live on Meerkat” in Twitter and pull up people who happen to be live-streaming right now.  For example, as I was drafting this post, my search pulled up the live debate, “Is Meerkat dead?” between Brian and Mark Kaye, podcaster, @MarkKayeShow - see the graphic at the top of this post.  Brian’s comments reflected much of what I have included here from his webinar last week.  Mark noted the new “replay” feature in Periscope which allows people to watch broadcasts on their own time (similar to listening to a podcast at your convenience).  He also championed the ease of building an audience from established followers.  For Meerkat, Brian uses the Katch feature to save his broadcasts.  He did emphasize that the present competition between the two apps will breed a better user experience for all.

Main point today:  the race is not over.  Both have and lack features when compared to the other, though I expect we may have a front-runner, possibly a winner by the end of the summer.

Now for attorneys and law firms:  As noted in my prior post, there are two modes of thought for attorneys to ponder related to live-streaming.  The first considers the various ways in which an attorney, practice group, or law firm could use the tool of live-streaming to broadcast relevant presentations and to interact with clients in private, mobile-to-mobile meetings.  When you decide to use live-streaming, think like a fan.  What would your client, prospect, or audience most want to hear?  What will motivate them? (What’s your call to action?)  As for the culture example from HootSuite (Follow the Sun), that may be an avenue for HR and recruiting to engage with prospects – especially because a live-stream is far more current than a website that may be a year or two (or more!) old in design.

The second theme concerns the legal implications for the use of live-streaming.  Brian’s webinar included an example where a conference panel’s presentation content was prohibited from live-streaming, but where he could still provide interesting content by interviewing people before and after the event (for example, interview panelists before or after their talk, interview sports players before and after an event).  Another behind-the-scenes favorite of Brian’s is ESPN Sports Center’s Robert Flores – who live-streams during commercials to further bring his audience into the conversation.  These behind-the-scenes, outtake options may be safe.  But, when a rogue broadcaster captures otherwise copyrighted material, privacy and intellectual property issues come into play.  For example, Periscope came under scrutiny just this week because someone live-streamed from the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout.  Periscope CEO, Keyvon Beykpour responded this morning on CBS, emphasizing the outtake option:  “That’s the exciting content – the content you can’t see on TV.”  Here is the interview:

To get another taste of what this is all about, take it from Brian.  Here are all of his past Meerkats:  Be prepared, he talks fast!  Mark has a great summary in "8 Secrets to Awesome Periscopes."

Want to brainstorm about ways your legal practice might use live-streaming to engage with your targets?  Contact us today!