Skype. Facetime. Snapchat. YouTube.
There are plenty of options these days on how the public can follow and view other people’s videos. So many, in fact, that one might wonder why yet another one needed to be developed, and what it could provide that these others can’t.
Enter Periscope, a live streaming-based social media app created by Kayvon Beykpour and Joe Bernstein.
The Beginning of Periscope
While on a trip to Istanbul in 2013, Beykpour wanted to follow news updates on the protests in nearby Taksim Square, so he jumped onto Twitter—but what he really wanted was to see the protests, not just read about them. This is how the idea for Periscope was born.
Designed to be able to live stream directly and immediately from a phone, Periscope was an instant hit when it launched in March of 2015. Users responded enthusiastically to the immediacy of the app, which allows viewers to participate in whatever is going on in the video they’re checking out. “Participation” means sending comments and hearts, which show up in real time onscreen, which results in one-on-one response from the person who’s sharing the video. This is Periscope’s big draw, and it makes for a much more active viewing experience, compared with other live streaming apps.
What’s the Big Deal?
Periscope is special not only because of the close interaction between sharer and viewer; it also allows users to see parts of the world and events they might not otherwise get to see. Viewers can see real-time action at a game, a breaking news story happening right in front of their eyes from the scene, or just “experience” what it’s like to stroll along the streets of Paris or Los Angeles. Users can also use the Map View to search for videos being broadcast in a certain part of the world.
After Periscope was created by Beykpour and Bernstein, Twitter bought it from them and developed it. And in December of 2015, Apple named Periscope as the iPhone App of the Year. Although there was Meerkat before it (which never took off to the same degree due to not being as polished) and Facebook Live after it (which, so far, just seems to annoy people), Periscope stands out from other similar apps because of its superior engineering.
Although Periscope has its own set of unique features that set it apart, it did have some predecessors that we’re all pretty familiar with. Skype, Facetime, and YouTube all laid the groundwork for this app to exist. Periscope is a bit of all these concepts combined. It features the interaction of Skype, the invitation to view the world that YouTube offers, and the aesthetic and real-time aspect of Facetime.
How Can Periscope Benefit My Business?
If you’re a business owner, you may be wondering how Periscope can benefit you—and the answer is: in many ways.
From insider videos to live Q&A sessions, Periscope has helped many entrepreneurs, brands, and even small business owners in a variety of ways.
Musicians can broadcast a live stream video about their newest album. Makeup artists can show viewers tutorials. Car companies can bring viewers “into” factories to watch how a car is made. A theater can film rehearsals to get potential audience members excited enough to buy tickets. A lawnmower repair service can show viewers tips and tricks to equipment care. Even Hilary Clinton streamed her first presidential campaign rally.
With Periscope, it’s about attracting new people that turn into followers and perhaps even clients.
So how exactly can Periscope help businesses? Read on…
How-To’s. We’ve all done it: rushed to YouTube to see how to fix a leaking pipe, make a birdhouse, or cook a meatloaf. While YouTube has most likely rooted itself in the world as the King of How-To’s, Periscope offers something that YouTube can’t: the ability to provide users with instant answers to their questions, and clarification on the spot.
Live Q&A Sessions. Very popular with companies, live Q&A sessions through Periscope allow followers to submit questions in real time, which you can answer. Encouraging questions on the spot is a fantastic way to demonstrate your industry knowledge and even get to know your future customers a little.
Behind-the-Scenes Videos. Do you have a product that you’re able to show off how it’s made? If so, you have the makings of a great Periscope broadcast. Invite your followers to check out a “tour” of where your product is manufactured, and how it’s put together. “Walking” viewers through non-public areas can attract customers, so showcase your expertise.
Focus Groups. Maybe you’re in the middle of developing a new service or product. If so, a Periscope broadcast is perfect to get some live feedback instantly. Ask viewers to give you input on how the product looks, and even let them vote. This can be extremely helpful, and can save you time and money as a business owner.
Closing Thoughts for Business Owners
Periscope was born out of a necessity to instantly connect people all around the world. It’s about community and connection, and this includes sharing what your business does with millions of eyes. It’s an outstanding platform to display what you, your product, or your company can do—while giving your company a more personal way to connect with customers.
Using Periscope for your business can humanize your brand, gain you more followers with webinars, let you get creative with a new campaign, build your mailing list, or allow you to personally provide customers with exclusive offers and specials. It’s an immediate, techy way to connect with followers who may end up being customers. And in today’s world, that’s everything for a company.