I knew Periscope was a winner the day I taxied down the runway and took off in the cockpit of a WW2 Lancaster bomber. That same evening I took a walk down a night noodle market in Taiwan and had a guided tour of a museum in Glasgow. I was hooked.
For those of you late to the Periscope party, it’s one of the latest social media apps from Twitter, which allows any user to live stream what’s going on around them using their phone, to their Twitter followers and anyone else using the app, from anywhere in the world. Like all new social media platforms it started with the silly and the random – people sharing the contents of their fridge for example. But slowly I saw how the immediacy of a tool like Periscope could help form connections and create engagement and intimacy. The day my 5 year old was able to ask another 5 year old questions about life in a different country for instance, or the time I sat with bated breath while a stranger waited to hear the news from his doctor about whether his cancer had gone into remission. (It had, and I cheered).
But besides idle curiosity does Periscope (and it’s lesser known challenger Meercat) have practical business applications as a business social media tool?
Can live streaming be used by B2B and tech companies as part of a business content marketing strategy to enagage?
While Periscope is new technology, start by considering it as an alternative anywhere you’d use video, with the added benefit that you’ll be able to crowdsource participation and engagement with viewers helping to direct the action.
The key is to recognise that it’s not a one way medium, and that users are looking for an intimate experience with you. Remember the examples I began with – a once in a lifetime adventure, an honest conversation, the heart-in-mouth wait to hear a yes from a doctor instead of a no.
That level of honesty and openess – to which your audience will respond most and remember longest – is an experience that’s impossible to stage manage, and opening your brand up to it can be a little scary at first.
But if you do it well and bravely, you can generate the sort of familiarity and respect that’s traditionally hard for a B2B brand to do without a salesperson being involved.
7 ways you can use live streaming as part of a business social media strategy
Bring your internal team to life, through giving backoffice staff a profile – like familiar but unseen customer service team members, and night-owl code monkeys.
FInd another channel for external communication through no-holds barred ‘Ask the exec’ chats, presentations and talks.
Give customers a look into the archive – many businesses have a facinating collection of memorabelia and historical items which can give an insight into your brand’s heritage.
Provide an exclusive backstage experience – show viewers the preparations for a conference, ad shoot or (dare I say it, expo – although we’ve said before that most trade shows need to die a quick death…)
Broadcast product demos – give customers further along the sales cycle, a chance to see an ad hoc product demo and benefit from feeling like part of a community of users.
Replace webinars and podcasts by providing useful, snackable content that’s available on a predictable schedule so your followers begin to look forward to it.
Share how it’s made– for bigger or more involved decisions, potential customers have to get over a trust barrier if they can’t see and feel your product – Periscope provides a way of lifting the kimono a little particularly as they get closer to a purchase decision.
Get genuine feedback – the more anonymous nature of Periscope means customers feel less on the spot, which means their feedback tends to be more honest and direct. Just make sure you’re prepared to hear the bad news with the good (and also prepared to take action about it).
Don’t forget that Periscope can enhance your B2B content marketing activity too.
Once you’ve streamed your content on Periscope it’s got just 24 hours to live and no more. But you can share with those who may not have been watching live if you choose to autosave it and repurpose it through your email marketing and social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Evergreen content (material that won’t go out of date quickly) can form part of a longer term business content marketing strategy as part of a blog, or through a hosting site like Vimeo or YouTube, to improve organic search results and help with brand awareness.
And because Periscope offers two-way communication (it is a social media platform after all) you can mine any interaction or questions you get and use it as a rich source of inspiration for enhancements to your website, points to cover in a sales presentation or even a blog post series.