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Periscope for Marketers: Five Simple Rules

Christine Birkner

Marketers increasingly are incorporating Periscope into their social media efforts. Here’s how to make the most of the live-video app. ​

More and more social media users are consuming real-time content via live tweets and video, and Periscope, a live-video-streaming app for smartphones, has become a way for marketers to tap into that. Brands large and small are experimenting with the app, which was acquired by Twitter in January 2015 prior to its official launch that March. Users simply download the app, create an account, and shoot live-streaming video from their smartphones. Other Periscopers can follow your broadcasts and comment on or “heart” your videos, which typically are live on the platform for 24 hours. Periscope also offers sponsored videos, as Instagram and Twitter do. In June 2015, Nestlé’s Drumstick brand ran live-streaming videos on Periscope of people eating Drumsticks on beaches and in backyards, and Dunkin’ Donuts streamed live video of concerts around the country as part of its “DD Summer Soundtrack” iced coffee promotion last summer. 

Although live broadcasting has been around for decades, the technology of Periscope makes it simple for brands to connect with consumers on a personal level, says Brian Honigman, social media consultant and CEO of New York-based content marketing consultancy Honigman Media​. “The biggest benefit for any organization is that it allows you to humanize your brand. Whether you’re Coca-Cola or American Express—a big, unruly brand—or you’re the mom-and-pop store across the street, it’s a great way to talk to someone. It’s almost like a private Skype, except you’re doing it at scale.” 

Like other social media tools, there are some unique rules of thumb for messaging on the platform, experts say. Here’s how to make the most of your Periscope efforts. 

1. Figure out if it’s a fit. Periscope is ideal for broadcasting product launches and live events or conferences, and having an active Twitter presence is key because Periscope automatically shares feeds to your Twitter audience, Honigman says. “Ask yourself if your audience is active on this platform and if you have enough resources to actively commit to it. There’s nothing worse than being on 12 channels in a lackluster way.”

Andrew Caravella, vice president of marketing at Chicago-based social media software provider Sprout Social, agrees. “As with any social network, you have to understand if your audience is there and engages with it. There’s a tendency, sometimes, to jump on any platform because it’s there. It’s about examining whether it fits with your audience and the kind of activities you’re doing.”

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Christine Birkner

Christine Birkner is a freelance writer in Chicago.