It may be time to hop on the video streaming bandwagon. Here’s how.

By Cathy Hackl (Founder, Globally Social)

You’ve probably heard Periscope or Meerkat by now. If you haven’t, here’s the quick lowdown: They’re live-streaming video apps. In its first week, Meerkat acquired 28,000 users according to The Verge. Then came along Periscope. TechCrunch is reporting Periscope got 1 million users in first 10 days.

Think it’s time to figure out how to use leverage apps for your business? You’re probably right.

Live streaming is nothing new, but these two hot apps are all the rage right now. They let users broadcast video live from their mobile phones directly to social media, which can be a great way to promote your personal or corporate brand to increase reach and exposure.

Celebrities have already jumped on the Periscope bandwagon and it’s no surprise that politicians are joining the live streaming app train too. These apps will definitely be front-and-center of how candidates communicate with voters on the 2016 electoral campaign trail. Immediate access to voters: a dream come true for politicians.

How Live Video Streaming Apps Work

I’ve been periscoping (yes, this is a new verb) a lot more than I’ve been meerkating, so I’ll be focusing on Periscope. The user interface in Periscope is simple, and it sometimes feels like the video version of Snapchat because of the immediacy.

Immediate interaction is what makes these apps unique. When viewers tap their screens to express their approval in Periscope, hearts go flying on the screen. They can also comment and ask questions as the video streams. In my opinion this is both the best — and worst! — feature.

I love the fact that viewers can have that immediate connection to the broadcaster. The interaction is priceless. But these comments are being posted live, sometimes you’ll see lewd or rude comments that no one want to see. I’ve seen plenty of these on my streams and many others. Before going live with your broadcast, you can select to only have people who follow you comment, which can help. The great things is you can always go back and unfollow or block the people who are making disturbing comments.

So how can entrepreneurs use Periscope or Meerkat strategically? The good news is that since these apps are so new, the world’s your oyster for testing out different strategies. Experiment a little. See what works best for your product or brand and for your viewers.

How Startups Can Use Periscope

  • Broadcast on Periscope right before your crowdfunding campaign goes live. I actually advised this to my friends at MonstRpreneur. They were Periscoping as the campaign went live and as pledges were coming in. It was exhilarating to see their excitement, which humanized crowdfunding for me.
  • Take viewers on a behind-the-scenes tour of your startup or business. Broadcast real-life video of what an entrepreneur does every day, such as prepping for a meeting with an investor.
  • Do a live Q&A with an investor or even with an employee to highlight what makes your company a good one to invest in or work for.
  • Give viewers a sneak peak of your app or product. Let them be beta testers by proxy. Since Periscope is a visual platform, this could be a great if you have a physical product to show.
  • Take viewers on a tour of your office and showcase your startup’s culture.
  • Stream from a conference you are attending and add commentary if you can.
  • Take viewers on a tour of your city and show them why starting up where you are was a great choice. My friends from Silicon Beach Australia have started doing this and it was fun to watch them visit a pirate ship in Melbourne. (Very appropriate since they call themselves the Silicon Beach pirates.)

These are just a few tips on how startups can use Periscope and Meerkat for brand building, all the while generating interest from viewers. You never know who will jump on your stream, it could be a possible client/user or even an investor.

How to Speak Periscope

  • Swipe right: Encourage people who tune into your stream to share your broadcast by swiping right and sharing your stream with their followers.
  • Hearts: A sign of approval. Users can tap the screen for hearts if they like the stream. Hearts are great to get, but don’t force them.
  • Start broadcast: The button you hit to go live. The first frame of your stream will show up as the thumbnail in others screens, so keep this in mind. First impressions matter.
  • Broadcaster: A term many people are using to describe the person who is broadcasting live.
  • Say something: This is where viewers can ask questions. If you’re the broadcaster, remember the most important tip of all: ENGAGE YOUR VIEWERS. I’ve seen too many streams where folks don’t engage their audience. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s all about relationships.
  • Most loved: Periscope’s list of the people who have gotten the most hearts.
  • Only users you follow can chat: You can avoid comments from folks who don’t follow you. This tackles the creepiest feature of live streaming from your mobile.