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Introducing Periscope: Twitter’s New Video Streaming App

Twitter has acquired a new app – known as Periscope – which allows you to stream live video directly to your Twitter feed. The microblogging site picked up the app at the for $120m, after it had been in development for just 11 months and launched it at the end of March.

This spelled bad news for a similar app, Meerkat, which had been promoted by West Coast (US) tech bloggers who it has been claimed attempted to force the app into the limelight. However, the public weren’t overly enamoured with it despite the media labelling it ‘the hottest new tech startup’. Meerkat had received $14m in funding on the same Thursday that Periscope was launched. By the Sunday, the latter had become a hit, making it into the top 30 in the app store (iOS), which is rare for any kind of social app.

Meerkat Was Never Popular

Meerkat, on the other hand, never climbed any higher than 140 in the app store and once Periscope was launched, this plummeted to number 523.

“Meerkat’s “success” was the creation of a handful of West Coast tech bloggers who managed to lure major newspapers into covering a phenomenon that did not exist,” BGR said.

So Meerkat appears to be doomed to failure, whilst Periscope, having been snapped up by Twitter appears to actually be ‘the next big thing.’ Periscope is the brainchild of Kayvon Beykpour who, whilst visiting Istanbul, found himself in a hotel near Taksim Square where a peaceful protest quickly turned violent. Whilst in his hotel room, he had no idea if it was safe to go outside or not and considered the idea that there were 1000s of people outside with high-speed internet connections and smartphones.

This led to the idea for Periscope, an app that allows you to live stream video to anywhere in the world.

With this in mind, how can marketers best make use of the new app to boost brand awareness and send out marketing messages?

Big Brands Already On Board

The good news is that some of the large brands are already experimenting with the social app. According to Adweek, these include Spotify, Mountain Dew, Red Bull and DKNY. Spotify, for example went behind-the-scenes with Irish folk singer Conor O’Brien, whilst DKNY invited viewers to check out its ‘fashion closet’.

Currently, Periscope is not hugely functional, and to operate it, you simply have to tap a button and begin streaming. Your followers then get a notification that you’re streaming and they can watch through the app or in any browser. You get the option also to share the stream on Twitter and saved videos are kept for 24 hours before being deleted.

When you open the app, you’re presented with a grid of broadcasts from people that you’re following. You can’t brand your profile, unfortunately, as user profiles are not yet available, so in order to use Periscope for marketing, you’re going to have to get create. You can however comment and, according to Wired, this feature is one that the developers have worked hard on to ensure that you can converse with broadcasters in real time. This is a feat in itself, as Meerkat’s commenting feature was “crushed by the latency” and so didn’t work in real time, often taking up to 10 seconds for a comment to appear.

Hearts are used to send appreciation for the broadcasts that you particularly like.

Name Your Broadcast

Whilst you can’t fill out your profile, you can name each and every broadcast that you make with Periscope. With this in mind, you should consider what you can broadcast which will help with your marketing and come up with a catchy title that includes keywords. The search function isn’t great at the moment, but it’s likely that it will get better and for this reason, start off with good habits.

When it comes to deciding what to broadcast, think about how you can present your brand in such a way that it will hook people in and encourage them to keep watching. Use the principles of storytelling to help you to come up with ideas about how you can present your brand and give it a personality.

You should also consider how you can appeal to the viewer in terms of connecting with them emotionally. This means that rather than just videoing a day at the office, think about how you can inject humour, controversy or simply solve a problem that your audience might have.

Get Creative

Red Bull is tested out Periscope during Miami Music Week by live streaming events at its Red Bull Guest House. Unless you represent a huge brand, it’s likely that you won’t have the budget to cover big events in the same manner that Red Bull do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it at all.

Consider Periscoping (assuming that will become a word) industry events that you attend. Perhaps you can get hold of a big industry name whilst you’re there and conduct a short interview. Once Periscope takes hold, it’s likely that we’ll see industry leaders become amenable to this in much the same way that we’ve seen the selfie craze take hold.

There are doubtless plenty of applications for using the app for marketing, so do sit down and think hard about how you can take advantage. If you have a physical product, this is much easier of course – you can video people using the product in everyday life, or perhaps people using it in an unusual way.

Follow, Follow, Follow – and Interact

Whatever the case, do it now whilst the app is still young, get following as many relevant people as possible and it’s likely that by the time we see the app gain mainstream use, your brand will be firmly entrenched as one of the early adopters. In turn this will mean that you have something of a head start on the app and you never know, get really creative and it could get you noticed by influencers and large publications.

Live streaming is sure to become the next social media big trend, so make sure that you get in on the action early on and start building your brand awareness. Interact with people as much as you can, create interesting broadcasts that people actually watch and it could give your brand a welcome boost.

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