Submerged in a barren sea off the coast of a frigid, fortified enemy stronghold, the ping ping ping of an oncoming destroyer alerts your naval crew of the imminent doom you and your shipmates will face if you can’t get a visual. In that steamy, cacophonous tube of steel and explosives, your one chance at survival is within arm’s reach. You whip out your iPhone 6 Plus and open the Periscope app: the Internet HAS to see this!
OK, so Periscope is of zero use to WWII-era submarine battles, but it can be of great, powerful use to your business. For the uninformed, Periscope is a relatively new app that allows users to stream live video at anytime, right from their cell phones. With an Internet connection, a user at Mardi Gras in New Orleans can stream shenanigans to an Irish sheepherder in Kerry. Other livestream services have been around for ages (see Twitch), but this app is one of the first to get mobile streaming right.
Linked with a Twitter account, you can alert Followers and strangers alike to experience something with you, live. Viewers can “Heart” your stream as some positive feedback, or even comment directly via text-based messages that appear over your stream.
Cool, but what the heck can it do for my business?
Well, dear reader, I’m glad you asked:
- Behind-the-Scenes: People love to look behind the Wizard of Oz’s curtain. Let viewers get a peek behind the magic of what your business creates or provides. You may think it’s boring, every-day blahness, but your audience may have never known that you have to pull the big red lever to make the doohickey on the assembly line. Be sure to keep business secrets secret, but let people in a little for some great interactivity opportunities.
- Q&A: Speaking of interactivity, there’s nothing as honest and transparent as a question and answer segment done live. Of course, the on-camera personality will have to be comfortable potentially answering difficult questions (or ignoring Internet vitriol), but you can even come with a prepared list of questions and disable commenting if you work in an especially controversial industry.
- Take on Topics: Feature a regular “show” in which you discuss the latest news and innovations in your industry. This is not only great for brainstorming and staying up-to-date in your industry, but also can position your company as a thought leader.
- Lead by Example: Leadership and management can host a quick lesson session, in which they share an industry insight with the audience. If someone from your leadership team is also speaking at an event, it’s a great chance to share awesome insights.
- Be a Showoff: If you or your team frequent expos, trade shows or other similar events, document your time by streaming speeches and booth activities, or even providing a comprehensive review of the event after its conclusion. This may help expose your brand to new audiences.
Another benefit to note: all of your streams can be saved within your phone for use on YouTube or another video service.
Periscope doesn’t come without some dangers, however. Due to its live nature, you must always be careful to only choose team members that can exemplify the professional values that your business holds. Rule of thumb: Potty-mouthed Paula may not be a great choice to host your Q&A segment. Also, with comments enabled, you may bump into the ugly, belligerent underbelly of the Internet. Never acknowledge abusive comments and, if necessary, stop the stream and restart with comments disabled.
Like any new-ish social media channel, only time will tell if Periscope rises above the waters of app oblivion or sinks into eventual obscurity. For now, however, it can be a powerful, innovative tool for nearly any business looking to expand its reach, tell its story or share its insights.