If you haven’t heard of Periscope, where have you been for the last ten months? The Twitter owned mobile live streaming app has been taking social media by storm and was even awarded the prestigious accolade of Apple's App of the Year for 2015.
Periscope allows users to broadcast live video from an Android or iOS device and share it with millions across the world. In August 2015, it announced that over 10 million user accounts had been created, and that 40 years worth of video content was being watched every day on the platform. It’s expected Periscope will continue to experience high growth rates and evolve the landscape of social media.
The live, raw and unedited nature of a Periscope broadcast paints a stark contrast to the social media we’ve become accustomed to for the past few years. It’s not the photoshopped Instagram image, or the highly edited YouTube video with added gloss, filter and accompanying clickbait thumbnail. With Periscope, it’s what you see is what you get. There’s no restart button or "we’ll edit that out in post." It’s authentic and that’s what makes it incredibly appealing to many viewers. Couple this with real-time interaction, where viewers comment live during a broadcast, and it’s clear to see why it took the app just ten days to attract its first 1 million users.
This instant interactivity has forced the early evolution of new content forms: content that is interesting and informative, but that has conversation and interaction with the viewers at its core. It’s this mix between authenticity and conversation that makes Periscope a powerful community-building tool, with many broadcasters already gaining hundreds of thousands of followers.
It's the most interactive and social broadcasting experience there is, and with it comes the ability for brands to connect, share, promote and ultimately sell in ways that were previously unobtainable.
A study by Socialbakers revealed that 15% of top brands on Twitter (based on their follower count) are using Periscope regularly. The obvious opportunity for any brand with this new narrowcast medium is to gain global reach and a worldwide following to market products or services to. The ability to display your products in new ways, interact live, and gain a deeper connection with your audience to turn them into potential buyers is huge.
Building a dedicated channel with a loyal, targeted, engaged and global audience is achievable at virtually zero cost. No longer are brands restricted to being the 30-second ad sandwiched between a channel's content. Now, a brand is the channel, creating content it knows its audience will enjoy and featuring products they will come to want, purchase and love.
So what are my top tips for brands wanting to use Periscope?
1. Broadcast valuable content
As with any medium, when it comes to mobile live streaming content is king. If you start a channel just trying to sell, sell, sell, you will fail! Content that works is content that provides value to viewers, not content that tries to shove a product down their throats.
People are giving up their time and spending their mobile data to watch, so they need to feel that they are getting value in return. That value could be in the form of knowledge, it could be a 10% discount code, or it could be the warm fuzzy feeling they get from watching a beautiful sunset, but the rule is always the same: content is king, and content that provides value reigns supreme.
2. Interact with the audience
The second rule of this new medium is interaction. This isn't one-way broadcasting. People have the ability to comment live, and the most successful broadcasters are the ones who are finding new ways to utilise the comments, involving the audience fully in the show. Showing something is no longer enough; viewers want to be a part of it, discuss it and even control it. Some are doing this in the form of simple Q&As; others are being more creative, and letting their audience decide the path a broadcast will take. Think of it as a live Choose your own adventure game: "Which road shall I take?", "Which song shall I sing?" or "Which product do you want to see first?"
3. Work with influencers
The opportunity doesn't just stop with a brand's channel, but extends through influencer marketing. Key influencers are already forming on these platforms and live-streaming stars are being born. There’s a real opportunity for brands to work with key influencers and leverage their large fan bases.
These stars connect with their audiences on a daily basis, they hold a massive amount of influence over their followers' purchasing decisions, and when matched with the right brands, their ability to drive sales is unbeatable.
84% of consumers around the world say they trust word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family above all other sources of advertising. These online stars are seen as friends and family by many of their fans, and they hold more power over people's purchasing decisions than any advertising campaign ever could.
A recent Periscope campaign by Royal Caribbean encapsulated these three tips. #ComeSeekLIVE showcased some of the cruise line's destinations by livestreaming them through Periscope, then sending edited versions of those broadcasts to digital billboards in New York City within minutes.
It used social media influencers from the world of YouTube and Periscope to create 13 live broadcasts as they visited five islands across seven days. The content including things such as the Las Playas natural water slide in Puerto Rico, playing with green monkeys at the Wildlife Reserve in Barbados and riding ATVs in St. Maarten. It was visually exciting content to watch and not something you’d get to see every day. The streams were highly interactive with the influencers letting viewers make decisions and say what they wanted to see and do next.
Expect to see many more brands jump on Periscope throughout 2016 and experiment with this new technology. If you’re yet to try it, download Periscope to your smartphone and follow me on Periscope for more tips, tricks and advice:
Alexander Pettitt is associate head of live and social at John Brown Media