Who wants to watch shaky camera footage of celebrities?
About two million people so far, it seems.
Periscope, Twitter’s new platform for instant livestreaming, has drawn a lot of headlines since its launch in March of this year, with plenty of online marketers developing an interest in the possibilities of livestreaming branded content.
Some commentators have sneered at the popularity of new livestreaming platforms like Periscope and Meerkat, arguing that two million is a tiny number compared to net users as a whole. But just between you and me, I believe there’s a big possibility that Periscope might just be the next Snapchat.
Livestreaming is by no means new.
The popular games streaming platform Twitch registered well over 100 million viewers per month in 2014, and as far back as 2013, Ustream’s most popular video, a conference on climate change, was seen by over 20 million people.
The draw of new mobile livestreaming platforms like Periscope, though, comes from their portability. Streaming through a dedicated phone app is far easier than being tied to a games console or computer, allowing for new and more diverse broadcast content.
With blink-and-you-miss-it streaming content, there’s an urgency to viewing that can’t be replicated by a permanent video.
Users get the feeling of watching something exclusive and precious, which won’t ever be repeated - such as a live music session or, for cheeky viewers, a pay-per-view boxing match.
In just a few short months since its launch, Periscope has managed to sign up over 2 million users, and a look at a graph showing their number of users over time suggests that this is a platform that’s picking up steam:
In fact, Periscope began making headlines in mid-May 2015, when its user base made its first big leap in numbers, leading many marketing professionals to wonder about its potential for developing brand reach.
Early adopters like Adidas and Red Bull found that Periscope was worth the gamble, as the app’s user base has continued to grow.
Eager to get a piece of the pie, many more brands are rushing to get established on the platform; although, due to its relatively small reach, the Periscope ad market is hardly oversaturated.
For those looking to get in on some sweet livestreaming action, here are a few tips to making the most of Periscope, Meerkat, and other similar platforms.
Don’t Sweat Perfection
If your brand relies on crisp, neat marketing content without a spontaneous side, then Periscope might not be for you.
The appeal behind the platform comes from its intimacy – viewers can see exclusive video content in a private setting (in a sense that everything that’s not on YouTube is at least a little private).
A shaky camera, mic static and grainy video are all part of the experience – Periscope works best when it feels like material that’s being casually shared between friends rather than a broadcast to the masses from an unreachable megacorp.
Take, for example, Jimmy Fallon’s use of Meerkat to share footage of himself rehearsing a comedy monologue before the start of one of his shows. It’s personal, intimate and exclusive – fans can later brag that they saw him laughing at his own jokes, or argue that his rehearsal performance was funnier.
Exposing a brand in this way takes a lot of courage. If anything goes wrong during the feed, there’s no time to fix it. But when things go well, it can leave viewers with a newfound appreciation and loyalty for your brand.
Enjoy the Intimacy
Imagine if you could give every potential customer a big hug – do you think it’d help sales figures?
I’m willing to guess that it would. In my personal experience, the personal connection is the best way to sell products both online and in person.
When considering Periscope or other livestreaming platforms, it’s crucial to think about how you can best make the viewers feel special.
While it’s tempting to use the platform to talk about the merits of your business, giving something back to your fans is going to be far more rewarding.
Spotify did this when they offered Periscope viewers an exclusive live acoustic performance from Conor O’Brien of Villagers. Fans were able to see an intimate, unpolished interpretation of the band’s music in a way that felt natural and friendly, as if they’d been invited backstage at a concert.
The best part about once-in-a-lifetime footage that isn’t permanently recorded is that it encourages fans to make time for your marketing messages, and that those who missed a video they care about are all the more likely to find time for your next one.
Go for Celebrity
When all else fails, you can’t beat a good celebrity endorsement. Fans will love a chance to see their heroes in performances that aren’t scripted or controlled as strictly as more permanent appearances.
The best part is, every mundane action can become Periscope gold when it stars a famous face. Adidas, for example, used Periscope to broadcast soccer star James Rodriguez signing an extension to his sponsorship contract.
With YouTube content, it’s important to get celebrities to do something interesting or attention grabbing. With livestreaming, though, even the most ordinary events can find an audience among diehard fans who are eager to see more of their favorite celebrities in the wild.
It’s About Trust
Livestreaming branded content is an excellent way to connect with your customers, particularly if you’re looking to connect with viewers on a personal level.
Fans will love the opportunity to peer behind the curtain, and will appreciate the intimate nature of impermanent videos. While Periscope may be the tool that introduces new customers to your brand for the first time, it’s far more useful as a way of building brand loyalty among existing customers.
People who follow you on Twitter or other social media outlets are those who’ve already shown some interest in being up to date with your latest news: providing them with livestreaming content means adding more fuel to the fire of their love for your business.
Have you tried Periscope? Do you have any tips for livestreaming content? Let me know in the comments below.