Periscope, the new social media platform that enables users to broadcast a live-stream directly from their iOS device, is quickly gaining popularity. The ability to share and witness a live experience with someone from anywhere in the world in real time is truly fascinating. The capacity to interact with that person as it happens makes Periscope so much more intriguing than simply watching something on a video-sharing site. When I was first introduced to Periscope, I instantly saw how much potential this type of real-time, face to face interaction could have as a digital marketing tool. Effectively engaging your current and potential customers is the basis of content marketing and the key to building brand equity. So naturally we decided to start to using it to help boost our digital media reach, and on one of the first nice days of the year, we went down to the beach and Periscoped live “10 minute only” Q&A on how to use social media to build brand equity. The concept was great, but with only 3-5 viewers and no interaction, this less than impressive response prompted me to start exploring the reasons we failed in hopes to avoid making the same mistakes and to help optimize our use of the platform in the future.
Here are the 5 things I learned from failing at Periscope at the beach.
1. You must engage the audience
Our first mistake was not engaging the audience we had. We opened up with a brief introduction and jumped immediately into a dialogue on brand equity. The few people we had on, quickly jumped off once they realized they were essentially watching a lecture rather than a live forum to interact on the topic. Remember, one of the major appeals to a user on Periscope is the ability to interact with the experience. You, as the broadcaster, need to facilitate that interaction by talking to the audience and prompting engagement when needed.
2. You need to build a following
Much like any other social media platform, you need to grow your network to maximize your reach. When we did our Q&A, we promoted the stream throughout the day on our twitter accounts thinking that would be enough to build an audience – we were wrong. Periscope allows you to follow users you know or find interesting, and create a list that will show you if any of the users you are following are currently streaming. Building your Periscope followers will help to increase your viewers because your followers tend to already be interested in you and can then subsequently find your streams more readily.
3. Keep your message short and to the point.
The digital age is one of quick bursts of information and Periscope is no different. As I played around with Periscope on various topics using different titles and approaches, I found that the viewers that made it past the first couple of seconds tended to only stay for 2-5 minutes. Of course, as you build a more loyal following, that number can increase, but as a rule of thumb try to keep your streams to only a few minutes. Stay on a single topic and engage your audience efficiently. This will allow your followers to be willing to invest the couple of minutes to hear out your message in its entirety.
4. Titles Matter
A really cool feature of Periscope is that when you go live, people that follow you get a notification that you are broadcasting along with the title of your stream. Your title essentially becomes your call to action, so make sure to give your title some thought and don’t forget to include hashtags. This brings me to another great feature of Periscope. You can set up your broadcasts to post directly to your twitter feed. Just as your Periscope followers are notified of your broadcasts, your Twitter followers too can receive notifications of your broadcasts via their twitter feeds. What’s more, by effectively using hashtags, your broadcasts can be searched and viewed by the entire Twitter universe. Twitter uses #Periscope when it auto posts to your twitter feed, and this hashtag has become something people from all over the world use to search for live streams on Periscope when not on the app, a truly brilliant idea for Twitter and a great hack to further build your audience. Much like your message, keep your title short and to the point, and try to build intrigue with it. Hit your main topic of the broadcast, and use hashtags to attract both live and replay viewers.
5. Don’t get caught up in the number of live viewers.
Don’t be discouraged if you see less than anticipated live viewers. If you have built a strong following on both Twitter and Periscope, your broadcasts can always be searched and viewed at a later time. So while lower live viewership may reduce the amount of engagement on your broadcast, don’t let that discourage you from finishing and presenting your message in its entirety. Just make sure you are prepared to present material if your engagement is down. Not only will you then continue to deliver great content, you will also begin to assemble a collection of material that demonstrations your expertise on the various topics you cover.
Periscope is changing the way we interact on social media, and while it has not yet reached its potential as a business tool, early adopters can use this time to experiment with the platform while building a following and establishing themselves as an innovator in the way content is distributed via social media. It truly is a culmination of its social media predecessors, combining the real-time appeal of Twitter, the visual appeal of YouTube, and the social entertainment value of Facebook all rolled up onto one highly entertaining and addictive platform that’s laying a path for the future of social media both for business and pleasure.