Periscope is a new solution from Twitter to allow users to share their current environment via video stream from their smartphone. It allows your followers to quickly dive into your world and share your experience. Mostly users would leave their broadcast for everybody to join but optionally users can broadcast in private.
I have been trying Periscope out not thoroughly for some time and learned a little bit how normal people use it and how organizations use it. Based on the experiences I have made I would like to use this article to provide my overall opinion and some constructive feedback, to everybody who is interested in it.
What Is Periscope There For?
From the positioning of the solution it is marketed and designed to provide people with a glimpse of another world. A virtual backstage pass into the life of someone else if you want to call it like that. Their primary motto is “Explore the world through someone else’s eyes.” and that is exactly where the solution excels – no more, no less.
“Just over a year ago, we became fascinated by the idea of discovering the world through someone else’s eyes. What if you could see through the eyes of a protester in Ukraine? Or watch the sunrise from a hot air balloon in Cappadocia? It may sound crazy, but we wanted to build the closest thing to teleportation. While there are many ways to discover events and places, we realised there is no better way to experience a place at the moment than through live video. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but live video can take you somewhere and show you around.”
– Story of Periscope
In my personal opinion Periscope should be used to provide insight into a special event or a special occasion, hence it’s name – ‘Periscope’. The commercial use of Periscope as a marketing tool and channel is perhaps not viable and may even harm your organization’s reputation. While latter is no different from any other poorly implemented marketing campaign on another platform or in real life, on Periscope something like that can happen very suddenly and is risk is hard to control due to the nature of a live broadcasted video stream.
What Bad Things Could Happen?
What could possibly happen? Well for instance you might attract internet trolls who use the chat function to drop inappropriate things into the broadcast. You could disable the chat but that would also take away the possibility for your audience to interact with you.
From a legal point of view you actually need the agreement of people that appear in the broadcast in writing prior to the recording. That means as soon as someone walks through the background who did not sign an agreement to be on your video stream, the person might be in a position to sue you – depending on the actual local laws and behavioral alignment of the person, but it is a risk. Similar issues would arise if licensed and copyrighted music or other media would appear on your stream.
The viability of using Periscope as a marketing channel is concerning. In order to deliver a high quality video stream to your audience you need to invest a lot of work. You need to have a good data connection to upload video stream data in a decent quality and often this rules out cellular data services and leaves you only with Wi-Fi – and Wi-Fi is also not a direct guarantee for a good upload speed into the internet.
If you want to have good audio quality you can utilize third party equipment such as Bluetooth input devices or a wired microphone. If you want to improve video quality you should consider a tripod.
How to Do It Better
Even when that has been accounted for and is in order, you start your broadcast and you will have some random people joining in instantly but it will take your actual followers a while until they arrive in your session even if they got the notification right away. If they saw your stream announcement as part of a social network message it might even take same several minutes to see that and join – sometimes more or worse, they won’t even make it while you are still online. For a small retainment period the video is being kept on the server for people to watch it but after that is through, it’s gone.
If you run an interview or similar productions and actually produce interesting content and invest effort, it should not just be gone shortly after being produced. It may sound controversial but my recommendation would be to take a nice up-to-date video camera, put it on a tripod, and yes why not use professional microphones and record your content without being live. You do a tiny bit of post-production to make it look neat or to brand it with your corporate identity and then you upload it on YouTube for everybody to watch it in their time. You will be able to leverage that a lot longer and better than the mere Periscope timeframe of being live and stay available for a little longer before it will be deleted.
Periscope Is an Addition Not a Replacement
Now, what should you use Periscope for as marketer? Use it on events to provide a virtual backstage pass to your fans and audience. Show them around the place and you could even double-cast an interview with the Periscope session on top of the actual refined recording or at least provide the followers with a teaser to later return and check out the full interview on YouTube.
You might think I’m just giving the new solution a hard time and that I am not reasonable about this but please consider the risks. Do you want to risk people complaining about quality on air and risk legal trouble if unforeseen events occur among other risks there might be. All the effort for something with such a temporary nature? That’s not content marketing, that’s content destruction. I still think it is a great tool to engage with audience and give them something back but you might not be braced for the trouble it could cause if not done right.
Please consider the positioning of Periscope if you are a professional and use it to support your content marketing strategy, not replace other solutions with it. It is a new, fresh and funky app and I like it but possibly it will have a larger impact on consumer usage than in a commercial world. If you just want to use Periscope on top of your already successful strategy, that is all fine and great in my books but please don’t waste the content by going all-in and not recording the material professionally.
I hope that is going to help some of you and please consider the article as constructive critique based on the experiences I have made with the platform and my personal opinion. I would be happy to hear your thoughts on the subject so please feel free to add your comments below. Many thanks for reading!