Focus on the Live-Streaming Video App Periscope

Twitter—the online platform that schooled us all on the art of brevity—has acquired a shiny new tool that seems tailor-made for marketers. In March, the social giant bought live-streaming video app Periscope, which marries the immediacy of Snapchat with the robust social sharing of Facebook. We asked social media experts to weigh in on the very visual platform—and share their thoughts on how retailers and brands can harness the power of Periscope. 

How It Works

Periscope streams live video. It’s watchable at the moment it’s being captured, and then for only 24 hours after that. When you open the app on a mobile device, you can opt to see live broadcasts or watch/search for recorded videos from the past day. 

You can follow feeds, comment on videos, and even show your love for a broadcast by sending up a flurry of animated hearts—a proprietary Periscope flourish. And you get a notification each time a person you follow broadcasts.

The app pairs perfectly with Twitter, of course: You can add a Periscope link to your feed on Twitter, or curate a private list of people who can view your broadcasts. Periscope can be used with WiFi, but also allows users to stream videos off their device’s data plan (as you can with movie apps like Amazon Prime), a not-insignificant convenience for followers who tend to travel.

Why It’s a Good Bet

There are plenty of popular video apps; Vine and Meerkat both have millions of fans. But Twitter’s acquisition of Periscope—which was more like an incubation, since the app was in beta-testing mode when it was courted and bought—gives Periscope an instant edge over the competition. “I think a lot of people have faith in it because it’s owned by Twitter,” says Anna Greenberg, social media director for Connecticut-based restaurant group Barteca. “If it wasn’t from Twitter, I don’t know if it would have such a huge following.” 

Periscope’s synergy with Twitter is another bonus for businesses that already boast big Twitter followings. That broadcasts aren’t accessible after their brief lifespan adds to its appeal. “The thought of interesting content only being available for 24 hours makes people more curious because users feel like they’re getting exclusive content,” says Romey Louangvilay, cofounder and director of digital marketing for Curate Directive in New York City. 

For example, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres stokes enthusiasm for upcoming shows by broadcasting exclusive behind-the-scenes footage on Periscope. “It’s just another, more interesting way to get the word out on your business and show who you are,” Greenberg says. 

How to Use It

What, as a jewelry business, can you actually do with Periscope? Live-streaming Q&A sessions with designers, bench jewelers, or even personable sales associates are always a good idea, says Louangvilay—who also suggests announcing limited-time offers or deals for your Periscope followers, previewing upcoming events with short videos, and taking your audience behind the scenes of your operation (celebrity chef Jamie Oliver recently broadcast himself frying up bacon in his home kitchen). Why not live-stream a short video of your brilliant bench jeweler casting a new design? Your audience awaits. 

(Image: Trinette Reed/Stocksy)