Periscope: Live Streaming for Success

Chris Tomlinson

Periscope: Live Streaming for Success by Chris Tomlinson

When it comes to social media today, you have more options than you can shake a stick at, almost literally. There’s Facebook, LinkedIn, G+, Twitter and dozens of others that may or may not be worth your time when it comes to social media marketing. One new platform that you can’t really afford to ignore is Periscope. It’s an interesting new take on social media, and because it’s owned by Twitter, it offers some integration that can really benefit small business owners. What should you know about this app and how it can benefit your needs?

Periscope: Under the Hood

First, let’s take a look at what Periscope actually is. It’s an app designed to help you create tiny snippets of live video from anywhere, at any time. However, it’s not a one-way street. This isn’t television broadcasting. Periscope combines live video recording with the ability to discuss things with your audience and for them to give feedback. It’s a true social media experience embedded in video.

After your broadcast concludes, it can be viewed and shared on the app for a full 24 hours. After that, the app will delete it, but you can actually save the video to your mobile device (smartphone or tablet), and then share it again later.

Writing for Forbes, Steve Olenski sums Periscope up quite well. “Periscope … is a live-streaming app that makes it easy to broadcast messages or have video conversations through your iPhone or Android. You can make messages public or private because it is basically your own broadcasting station. Essentially, you can go live ‘on the go’ anytime and anywhere. Anyone who joins your broadcast can see your live video (if you have your stations set to public). There is also an interactive component where users can ‘like’ a broadcast by clicking hearts on the screen, get involved in the broadcast by commenting live, and share stations on Twitter.”

Stats and Figures

To highlight just how quickly the app has grown, let’s consider some key statistics.

  • Founded: 2015

  • Number of Daily Users: 2 million (as of late 2015)

  • Number of Total Users: 10 million +

  • Brands on Twitter Using Periscope: 15%

  • Hours of Daily Video: 350,000

  • Languages: Periscope is available in 25 different languages

When you realize that Periscope achieved all this without being even a year old, it shows just how much potential there is for the app. If you’re not using it, you should be.

Periscope Key Statistics

How Does It Differ from Other Options?

If you’ve been paying attention, then you know that Periscope is not unique. You can do essentially the same thing using a Google Hangout, or with Meerkat (another similar app). You can also use web-chatting capabilities to achieve similar results. What makes Periscope better?

Really, the biggest difference is that it’ designed to be mobile. Google Hangouts can be mobile if you wish, but the technology isn’t really designed for that. Periscope was engineered to be used while people are “out and about”. There’s also the ability to link to your Twitter account as well, which makes it easier to build your presence on the network.

Writing for Pocket-Lint, Elyse Betters sums it up this way: “Periscope, in other words, is like Twitter on steroids. Twitter is known for providing real-time access to information about breaking events. People on the ground can post tweets, photos, and videos of whatever they’re seeing, allowing the world to experience the same situation remotely but still live. There’s yet to be anything else that can do what Twitter does, that is…until apps like Periscope and Meerkat came along.

With live-broadcasting apps, you can watch the drama unfold and ask people on the ground direct questions. Video feeds and information will flood your mobile device at a pace that makes already-fledging cable news networks and newspapers look archaic. It’s beautiful, to be frank.”

What Can You Do with It?

Sure, Periscope sounds great. Who wouldn’t love the ability to create their own broadcasting channel? How does that benefit businesses, though? Actually, there’s a lot to love here, particularly if you’re struggling to gain visibility.

Take Your Audience Places They’d Never Go: One thing that you can do with Periscope that you can’t do with anything else out there is bring your audience into the thick of things, where they’d never be allowed to go otherwise. For instance, when CNN covered the birth of Princess Charlotte, Periscope was instrumental in letting the audience know that big announcements were coming so they could get to their TV sets to watch live.

The same thing applies to the Baltimore police protests, where Periscope was used to take audience members into the thick of things, showing them firsthand the conflagration of a housing development, and speaking to people right in the middle of the protests. Of course, it doesn’t have to be quite so dramatic. A number of celebrities are using Periscope to give their fans backstage access – Mariah Carey and Jimmy Fallon are just two examples.

Forming an Intimate Connection: Another vital use for Periscope is for creating an intimate connection with your audience. It can do this in ways that regular broadcasting cannot touch. For instance, watching the news is a one-way street. Information flows from the television to your brain. There’s no flow of feedback from you to the news anchors. With Periscope, that changes.

Periscope allows the creation of a direct, dynamic connection with your audience. They’re not passive participants just along for the ride. With this app, they’re right there with you and able to get involved. Let’s go back to CNN’s coverage of Princess Charlotte’s birth once more.

Max Foster was the reporter on the scene for the network, and he used Periscope to let his audience members tell him what they wanted to discuss. They asked questions through the comments, and he answered them. They told him who they wanted to talk to in the area and he would interview them.

“I was responding to the questions that people were asking and things that I wouldn’t think to have covered, so that was useful. They were also directing me around the area. So they wanted to see a statue, for example, I’d show them a statue. Or if they wanted to speak to a particular person, I’d take them over to that person. They wanted to meet one of the royal fans who had become quite well known on TV, so I took them over and had a chat with them,” explained Foster.

You Get Feedback: Periscope isn’t all about giving your viewers a way to interact with you. It also provides them with a way to give you feedback. The hearts mentioned previously let users tell you what they like and what they don’t like (think of Facebook’s like function, but with a bold pop of color and animation that allows the hearts to show up in a flurry of red).

By getting immediate feedback from your audience, you can tap into what they like and start avoiding what they don’t like. That allows you to tailor your broadcast much better, ensuring maximum engagement.

Learning the Language

Every single social network out there has its own language and terminology specific to the platform. Twitter is a great example, but Facebook has its own as well. Periscope is no different.

Scope: Scope is the term given to the live-broadcasts that you create. Each new broadcast is a scope (from Periscope).

Scoper: A scoper is a Periscope user, someone who watches broadcasts on the network.

Follow: Think like Twitter – a follow is when someone decides they like your content and become a follower of your account. You can follow them back if they do (it’s considered polite to do so, but you’re not obligated to follow back).

Replay: This is actually a function offered by Periscope so that other people can re-broadcast your material. Replays are great, and they’re a sign that your material is popular and shareable.

Learn the Periscope Language

How to Use Periscope?

The uses for Periscope are myriad. They range from journalism to fashion to marketing and everything in between. The crux of the matter is this, though – you need to use it to connect with your audience. Remember that you’re not making commercials. This is a two-way street. If you’re designing your scopes to be one-way flows of information, then you’re going about it wrong and your audience is not likely to appreciate it.

Instead, find ways to turn Periscope to your advantage by offering informative, useful content that encourages your audience to interact with you. Writing for Entrepreneur, Samuel Edwards said, “As more brands join and use apps like Periscope and Meerkat, it’s becoming clear that live streaming will play a major role in digital and social marketing in the coming months and years. Live streaming is anything but new; however, it’s recently jumped to the forefront of industry discussions since the launch of Periscope.

YouTube has long featured live-streaming options, dedicated websites allow users to broadcast feeds, gamers have always had an affinity toward watching other gamers, and cable companies often stream live programming over the Internet. But, aside from Twitch, you could argue that no technology, app or website has risen to such prominence as quickly as Periscope. Furthermore, it’s safe to say that no other technology is capable of having such a widespread impact. Unlike Twitch, which focuses solely on the gaming industry, Periscope can be used by anyone. In fact, everyone is using it.”

Here are a few examples of how you might turn this new trend to your advantage:

How To: If your business sells a product or products, you can easily create how-to scopes that explain how to use those products. Video is the ideal format for this type of content simply because it can be difficult to explain how to do something with the written word (through a blog post, for instance). Once you’ve streamed your broadcast to Periscope, turn around and post it in YouTube, giving you double the exposure.

New Releases: Have a new product waiting in the wings? Use Periscope to create a scope highlighting the product’s release to the market. This can help you build buzz for your new options and boost sales, as well as ensuring that you can spread the word without costing you a fortune for marketing materials.

Behind the Scenes: Take your audience behind the scenes of your business and show them something they’d never see otherwise. Do you manufacture products? Show your audience the process. Do your employees have fun in the break room? Show your audience. For instance, a small brewery might be able to walk viewers through the entire process, giving them a virtual tour of the brewery from their mobile device. A shoe manufacturer might be able to highlight how everything is constructed and then put together.

Podcast: Podcasting has become incredibly popular, but it does have a few drawbacks. One of those is that it’s not a visual medium. It’s audio only. You can use Periscope to ramp up your podcast and turn it into a visual experience for your followers. Not only that, but it transcends the pre-recorded nature of most podcasts out there, allowing your viewers/followers to ask questions on the fly and interact with you during the broadcast. It’s dynamic, active and integrated, rather than being static and one way.

Customer Support: Traditionally, customer support has been provided by phone. That’s great and all, but what if you could take things up to the next level? Why not make it a live stream? Your support specialists can connect with the customer in need of help, but also with a wider audience, building your brand’s reputation at the same time. Add in the fact that your customers can save the video for use later, and you have a winning combination.

Share Customer Love: Shoppers love to hear feedback from other people who’ve bought products they’re interested in. That’s what is behind the rise of sites like Yelp and Angie’s List, as well as the dozens of others dedicated to helping customers spread the word about the good, the bad and the ugly in terms of businesses they’ve patronized. You can use Periscope to spread the (good) word through customer video testimonials.

Keep Your Customers in the Know: One thing that Periscope does more than anything else is it connects people live. That means you can use it to help keep your customers in the know. Got some industry news that you want to share? Do it. Have some insider information about upcoming changes? Tell people about it.

Host a Q & A: Your customers have questions, and you’ve got the answers. Give them the ability to ask those questions live with Periscope. Not only will that go a long way toward building your brand and reputation, but it will also help to increase transparency when your customers see that they’re able to ask almost anything and get a straight answer from you.

Connect with Influencers: No matter how large or successful your company might be, there are influencers out there that you need on your side. These are individuals who are respected, and whose views are appreciated. Often, influencers can make a huge difference in whether someone even becomes a customer of yours, or if they go to a competitor. Follow industry influencers and engage with them on Periscope. Use the interactive experience to your advantage and ask questions, show up for their streams and become a part of their experience. You’ll find that this can result in positive branding for your company.

Get Out in Front of Bad News: Bad PR happens, and it can happen to any business. All it takes is one mistake and you have mud on your face. This is particularly true today when a few words taken out of context can spell doom. Use Periscope to get out in front of bad PR and help change the conversation. You can use it to respond to journalists, answer questions from customers, and show that you’re more than happy to be transparent about whatever disaster just occurred.

Real World Examples

So, the previous hypothetical examples were great, but what about some real life examples? What are actual companies doing with Periscope and how are those efforts affecting their bottom line? Let’s take a closer look at what some brands are doing with the platform.

GE: You might not think of General Electric as a “modern” brand, but they’re dedicated to putting new marketing techniques to use to grow their profitability. GE used Periscope to live-stream an interview with both Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Red Bull: Red Bull is synonymous with extreme sports and outdoor events, and the company used the platform to live-stream some of their Guest House event. These broadcasts were tied in with other efforts on Twitter and Snapchat to help build buzz for the events and the brand itself.

There have been plenty of other brands using Periscope. Mountain Dew, Spotify and Adidas are just a handful of examples. There are plenty of others.

The Benefits of a Smart Periscope Campaign

So far, we’ve touched on what Periscope is, how it works, and a few ways that brands can start to utilize this platform for marketing. However, what about the benefits? What do you actually gain from using this new social platform? More importantly, how do those benefits stack up in comparison to other social media marketing efforts?

One of the very real benefits here is that you’re able to give your brand a touch of humanity, even a human face in many instances. For example, Roost is a self-storage company located in San Francisco, California, and they are using Periscope to connect their audience with the company’s CEO and other executives. They do this with a “CEO chat”, as well as talks from the company’s COO. They also show fun events and occurrences in the office and more. It’s really all about giving a faceless business an actual persona that resonates with your audience.

This can be done by almost anyone, regardless of the type of business in question, or the size of your business. For instance, a small business with just a couple of employees can use it just as easily as a large company with many executives. Even home-based businesses can use it to really get in on the action (and you can feel free to add in your children, your pets, your spouse and more just to give it an extra touch of humanity).

Another benefit here is the ability to build a more informed customer base. This applies to many different uses of Periscope, from company talks to product demos to how-to videos. All of these involve you providing useful, important information to your audience. The more informed your audience is, the more connected they are to your company. The more connected they are, the more market share your business has, and the more likely your audience is to think of your company when making a purchase decision.

Real-time engagement is another benefit that cannot be overlooked. This is vital, as no other platform offers this to the same extent that Periscope does. Even Facebook and Twitter don’t quite match it. Your customers and potential customers are able to ask questions right in the middle of your live stream and get answers right away. It’s an indispensable tool for enhancing your audience engagement.

Of course, you can’t neglect the fact that Periscope is not yet saturated (or anywhere near saturated). While there are 10 million registered users, that’s a small number compared to Facebook’s billions, or even Twitter. What this means for you is that there’s tremendous room for growth on the network. There’s massive potential for interaction and growing your audience, without the stiff competition found on other social networks.

It might sound counterintuitive, but you also gain an entirely new set of followers on Periscope. Yes, it’s tied into Twitter, and your followers on that platform will play something of a role in your success with the app, but there’s more. Periscope users are not necessarily the same as Twitter users, and that means you have the ability to tap into a brand new audience. Not only does that mean you have a chance to engage with more people through this one platform, but that you can migrate them to your Facebook page, your Twitter account, your G+ page and more.

Interestingly, not all the benefits of live streaming are customer focused. You can also benefit your employees. Imagine not struggling to get everyone together for a Google Hangout – just swipe a button on your phone and you’re instantly connected to all your employees through Periscope, where they can ask questions, you can provide information, and do so in a seamless fashion.

Finally, there are many who think this might be Web 3.0 in the making. Kim Garst, writing for Entrepreneur, said, “Personally, I believe that live streaming is the next evolution in how we connect, engage and eventually buy. This is going to change the way that we get information and interact with brands and businesses, as well as our followers. I also think it’s going to be a major shift in how we can market our products and services. Think about it a minute: Where can you pick up your phone, click a button and immediately be in front of a live, captivated audience that sees who you are, is interested in what you have to share and, if its members know and like you, will ultimately trust you enough to buy what you are selling?”

The Catch

Yes, Periscope is great for business – it enables much better audience engagement, allows you to do more marketing with less, and can really help generate buzz for your company. However, you can’t do it all in a vacuum.

Periscope should not be seen as a replacement for other social networks. It’s an important addition to the tools available to you. It allows you to leverage other channels to build more excitement on Periscope. For instance, you can’t expect to pull off a random live stream without any previous hype or buzz and have it come off as a success. You need to leverage other networks to drive traffic to your Periscope account first.

Not only do you need to tie your efforts on Periscope to the rest of your social media marketing efforts, but you need to ensure you’re following Periscope best practices to maximize visibility and avoid any gaffes that might derail your success.

Periscope Best Practices for Businesses

Like all other social networks, there are some specific best practices that need to be followed when marketing through Periscope. Some of these are pretty similar to the rules you follow on other networks, but some are platform-centric.

Engage: The best thing about Periscope is that it allows your audience to engage with you through your live broadcast. Of course, you have to respond to those comments and questions. If you don’t, you can look for your success to be pretty nonexistent. If you’re unwilling to engage, your audience will unplug and find a competitor who’s more than happy to talk with them.

Show Personality: You can’t afford to let your broadcasts be boring snooze-fests. You’re not creating a documentary. You’re working on something that should cause excitement, incite curiosity, or bolster brand recognition. You don’t want your brand to be synonymous with words like “dull”, “somnolent” or “blah”. The best way to combat that is to show your personality. Be real. Laugh and joke if possible. Be yourself, and your audience will respond to that in a positive way.

Remember It’s Live: Too many people start using Periscope and the fact that this is a live broadcast just flies out the window. They record lengthy videos with no recaps, no interaction and no encouragement for viewers. You cannot afford to do that.

A few of the best practices to follow in regards to your actual broadcast include:

  • Have an Intro: You need a brief introduction that covers what the broadcast is about.

  • Recap Regularly: Every few minutes, give a brief recap about what’s been covered and then move to the next point. This is important because viewers might be tuning in at any point during the broadcast and you want to keep them up to speed.

  • Keep Your Viewers Involved: It can be easy to leave your viewers out, particularly if you’re doing an interview. However, you can’t afford to do that. Make sure you answer questions, give shout-outs to people, and get involved with your viewers.

  • Don’t Forget to Plug Other Networks: During the broadcast, you need to plug your other networks, particularly your Twitter account. Tell your viewers your Twitter name, and mention other important networks so they can find you there, as well.

The Stare: Yes, Periscope gives your viewers the chance to ask questions. Those show up on your phone, and you can read them while you’re broadcasting. The problem here is that it’s easy to just sit there and stare at the phone screen while you read the questions, without actually saying anything. This is an immediate disconnect for many viewers. There’s nothing more boring than watching someone read their phone screen.

Your Hardware: The only piece of hardware you need for your live stream is your phone. However, you need to make sure that it’s fully charged before starting. Have the charger and an outlet handy as well in case you run long and need to charge mid-stream. Nothing will put a damper on your audience’s enthusiasm faster than the broadcast ending mid-segment because your phone battery died. If you’ll be broadcasting from an area without access to an outlet, invest in a portable charger.

Connection: Your audience expects and deserves a smooth, clear broadcast, but the only way you can do that is if you’ve got a 4G or Wi-Fi connection to your phone. If you’re struggling to get a signal, your audience will struggle to watch, and that’s never a good thing.

Duration: It can be tempting to just run the stream as long as it takes to cover your topic, but that’s not the right thing to do. In fact, Twitter (the app’s owner) recommends that you limit your broadcasts to no more than about three minutes (but no less than a full minute). This gives ample time to make your pitch, but it doesn’t drag on and on.

Know What You’ll Say: Before you press the record button, you need a rough idea of what you’re going to say and how you’ll be shooting the broadcast. Not being prepared can lead to hiccups, breakdowns and disconnects, which do you no favors with your audience.

Be Consistent: Social media success requires that you post consistently and Periscope is no different. Make sure you’re broadcasting regularly, or you’ll find your audience evaporating. Ideally, you’ll post a minimum of a brief broadcast at least once per day.

Build Your Community: You cannot take your audience for granted. You need to interact with them, and then work to tie them together and to your brand. You can do this in a number of ways, from creating hashtags that apply to your business or broadcasts to giving them things to discuss and share with one another. If your followers broadcast, take the time to view those and become involved with them outside your business.

Periscope Best Practices


Periscope is a disruptive new social platform that works on the premise of live video streaming. It offers a number of significant advantages both to business owners and decision makers, as well as to those business’ customers and potential customers.

Periscope has seen phenomenal growth in a relatively short period of time, but it is not completely saturated yet. It’s also available in a staggering number of languages, which allows you to reach your target market whether that audience is in the UK, the US, Brazil, or on the other side of the globe.

It also enables some significant things for businesses. You can leverage this technology to enhance your transparency, build your brand, showcase products or services, highlight your company’s culture and a great deal more. You can use it to improve your customer service, to build your brand, and to engage with influencers around the world.

With that being said, you need to ensure that you’re following best practices. For instance, not regularly recapping what’s been covered during a longer broadcast could lead to confusion and defection among late coming audience members. Always recap what you’ve covered before going on to the next point.

You also need remember that you’re broadcasting live, and globally. That means you’ll be getting some interesting (and strange) questions. Use the blocking tools provided if necessary to deal with troublemakers (there will be some). You also need to make sure you stay focused on your audience – don’t stare at your phone for minutes on end reading questions. Bring the audience into it by reading the questions out loud and then answering them. This offers interactivity, but it also eliminates the “Periscope stare”.

Remember that you cannot succeed by using Periscope in a vacuum. It’s a powerful tool, yes, but there are many others that you need in your kit. Don’t sacrifice Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, G+, LinkedIn and the rest for the “new kid on the block”. Include Periscope with your other efforts, and use it to drive traffic to your other accounts, your website, blog and other locations. You should also use those other outlets to drive traffic to your Periscope account in order to maximize cross-platform success.

Finally, you need a way to measure the results of your efforts. This can be done in a number of different ways, including using the very rough stats offered by Periscope when you end your broadcast, through Google Analytics to measure traffic to other websites and more. Without accurate analytics, your efforts might be for nothing, so know what you’re achieving and track your progress over time.

Social media marketing is becoming more and more complicated by the day, and many business owners find that they lack not only the time to leverage it successfully, but the technical knowhow. If you’re struggling to build an online presence, Peppersack can help. We’re proud to provide a one-stop solution to all your marketing needs, but we can also offer cutting-edge website design, ecommerce, analytics and data science, CRM and SaaS solutions, and a great deal more.

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