Periscope for Marketers: Five Simple Rules

Christine Birkner
Next Practices
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Key Takeaways
What? Periscope, a live-video-streaming app, lets marketers connect with consumers via real-time content.

So what? The technology of Periscope makes it simple for brands to connect with consumers on a personal level.

Now what? Incorporate Periscope into your social media efforts by creating and promoting exclusive, compelling content for the app; being authentic and measuring your results. 

Next Practices

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.”

2. Craft exclusive, engaging content. Give consumers a reason for people to follow your video stream and share it, says Jeff Woelker, vice president and senior director of technology and media at Zocalo Group, a Chicago-based digital and social media marketing agency. “A lot of marketers create one piece of content and push it out through all of their channels: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter. Don’t approach Periscope the same way. Have something exclusive. Show a behind-the-scenes product launch that you’re not showing anywhere else.”

In terms of length, short and concise typically works well for video, but the most important thing is to keep your Periscopes focused on one topic, Honigman says. “Be clear in the beginning about what your ʼscope is about. There’s nothing more boring than seeing a ʼscope that goes in 10 different directions, or is misleading based on the title, or drones on.”

3. Keep it real, but be professional. The live nature of Periscope is a benefit, and adds authenticity to your messaging, Caravella says. “It’s not totally prepackaged and canned, and it’s a cool channel to cut through the noise and clutter to get people to connect with you.” At the same time, however, you should still pay attention to quality, he adds. “Real time doesn’t mean that it has to lack sophistication. Don’t talk over the presentation you’re recording. Mount your camera, and keep it stable. You don’t want to look like Blair Witch Project. And make sure you have people who want to be on video and, personality-wise, are open to it. The last thing you want is to ʼscope someone who is uncomfortable. Pick people who are charismatic and have interesting things to say.”

4. Promote your ʼscope. Post about your Periscope live streams ahead of time on social media, and ask viewers to share the broadcasts as they happen, Honigman suggests. “Make it simple for your audience to share it. Say, ‘Hey, if you’re getting value from this, swipe right to share it on Twitter.’ ”

Use your Periscope to promote other pieces of content. For instance, conduct a Periscope interview with the author of one of your white papers, using the Periscope live stream to promote its release and direct viewers to the URL where they can download it, Woelker suggests.

5. Measure your results. Keep track of the amount of viewers tuning in, viewer retention rate and number of “hearts” received to measure your success, and be realistic about your metrics, Honigman says. “Only the Coca-Colas of the world are going to get tons of questions or comments on their Periscopes. You can’t expect that initially, but viewers and ‘hearts’ accrue on your profile over time, which is often the sign of a highly credible Periscope account.”



s Caravella: “The great part is that you can test and learn. Ask for feedback on what people liked or didn’t like. As with any multimedia, Periscope will add dimension to your brand. Whatever your goal is—branding, lead gen, whatever—it’ll help you humanize your brand, which is a win.”​

This article was originally published in the January 2016 issue of Marketing News.

Author Bio:
Christine Birkner
Christine Birkner is the features editor for the AMA. E-mail her at and follow her on Twitter @ChristineBirkne.
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