Twitter was once "going to be gone before the end of this decade."
People thought a Terms of Service update would kill Instagram 3 years ago.
But, of course, for every success there are many failures. For every Spotify there is a Ping and for every LinkedIn there is a....whatever Google + wanted/wants to be. All of this considered, it should come as no surprise that with less than a few months on the market, the lives and deaths of live-streaming apps, Periscope and Meerkat have already been written/predicted/hot-taked to death.
We're not really here to tell you which one to use or which is better (but, yeah, it's probably Periscope). What we would like to do is simply run through what these apps do (short answer: basically the same thing) and why at least one of them will end up mattering to a brand's social presence.
What They Do
Periscope and Meerkat are both Twitter-integrated live-stream apps. Meaning that your friend in California can take a video at Venice Beach and live stream it to you, in New York City, and the rest of his or her followers all over the country/world.
So that you don't get too confused: Meerkat and Periscope are not different because of what they do but because of how they do it. They are both live-stream apps that exist for the purpose of giving people a live look at whatever you're looking at, the difference simply lies in the ease of Twitter integration and what interface you prefer.
To simply further, Twitter owns Periscope so it will always integrate more easily with Twitter.
Why Use It
This is fun to write about because my crazy hot take is this: no one can really tell you how to use it.
I'd be lying to you if I tried to sit here and preach the ways in which Periscope and/or Meerkat can help your brand. The simple and exciting truth is that we don't really know that yet. Periscope and Meerkat might have some answers that they use to lure investors, but they can't really know because...well, not a lot of people have done it yet! MySpace was repackaged as a music-based social network for bands which has gone...okay? The point is that you don't really know what good a social network will do for you without trial and error.
I did mention this was exciting. You're on the ground floor of a social network. This doesn't happen that often and without being able to tell you exactly why Meerkat or Periscope will be important for your brand, I can tell you that there's an innovative way out there for you to do that. And you get to find out what that is (maybe even before anyone else does).
These live-stream apps are blank canvases for you. You can use it to enhance your brand personality, give yourself more of a presence at conferences or host live Q&As via the comments section on either app. It's up to you! One may work better than the other, but one will work out well enough to try again.
Final Question: Meerkat or Periscope?
Look, you can Google that question and find a consensus or you can just do the fun thing and download both apps and see what you like best. No brand that started on Facebook and never moved to Twitter is too far gone to be on Twitter. Many brands still haven't figured out a way to be on Instagram (which is fine!).
The point here is that, if you like Meerkat, use Meerkat. If you like Periscope, use that. If one fails before the other, you can move to the winner without much of a problem besides a few adjustments days/weeks. But you should try one out, even if it's just on your personal account because while people might have been right in predicting the deaths of certain social networks, others have been proven very wrong in predicting the death of social media. It's here to stay for the foreseeable future and apps like Meerkat and Periscope are a part of the evolution.
The best thing you can do is just try not to fall behind.