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Up Periscope!
No, we aren’t preparing for battle on the open seas. We’re talking about Twitter’s live-streaming video app for mobile devices that is making waves in the marketing world. If you haven’t heard of Periscope yet, then you’ve probably been trapped on the ocean floor in a submarine for the last nine months.
Why is this app a great tool to help grow your small business? It allows you to have a more direct, personal relationship with your customers. Even if you haven’t fully launched your business yet, you can still leverage your first Periscope campaign to build your brand and attract new fans. The stellar app gives you a chance to stream live events, personalize interactive support, and hold live global press interviews. You can also engage customers with short product demos and take your Q&A sessions from bland and boring to a beautiful, brand-building customer resource.
Consider this: when they launched Periscope back in March 2015, the new platform got a million users in its first 10 days and gained more than 10 million active users in the first five months. And the user list boasts some pretty impressive brands—Doritos, Uber, Dunkin Donuts, and sports game maker Electronic Arts (EA) Sports, just to name a handful. Target used Periscope to encourage consumer demand before a product came out, and 90% of the collection sold out in a few days.

A Quick View of the Basics

Periscope was named the Best App of 2015 by Apple, and although there is a bit of a learning curve, you can start broadcasting a live video in a matter of minutes. How it differs from a more traditional live broadcast is that it’s interactive, so viewers are able to give you feedback by sending chats (so you can engage with viewers) and hearts (which measure your popularity).
Other than that, you just invite your followers to join you, send Tweets a few days beforehand to build excitement, and start broadcasting! You can make it a multi-channel event if you want to reach out to everyone on your marketing list or make it a private, invitation-only party.
If you’re serious about starting a Periscope campaign, first get your website optimized for mobile viewing (this video sharing app is specifically for mobile devices). Then take a look at the following real-life examples of how brands put Periscope to work for them.

How to Get the Most From Your Periscope Campaign


  • Create a multi-channel plan. Streaming live events is a great way to spark interest and encourage audience participation. Dunkin’ Donuts created a multi-channel marketing plan last summer called “DD Summer Soundtrack,” a series of five concerts they sponsored in which they made good use of seven social media platforms, Periscope, and paid promotions to create an impressive mass social presence aimed at Millennials who preferred Starbucks.

Mimic DD’s out-of-the-donut-box thinking by broadcasting your own live streaming video on Periscope and incorporating paid and non-paid promotions across various channels at the same time – think desktop banner ads and audio/video ads on Vine, Spotify, Twitter, and other social platforms. Another thing DD did right was keeping the content fresh throughout the summer with wrap-up sizzle reels featuring photos, video, and audio clips of performances, and behind-the-scenes updates.
And don’t just stream your event and then forget all about it after the 24-hour window expires; consider running a campaign that lasts several weeks with the goal of keeping your audience coming back for more. As Scott Hudler, Dunkin’ Donuts VP of Global Consumer Engagement, says: “[Modern marketing] is rapidly morphing to a place where brands will have to engage across all of these channels just as a general course of doing business.”

  • Use live streaming technology to build relationships with current customers. While Dunkin’ Donuts initiated a full-out social media campaign to woo new customers, others, like Benefit Cosmetics, use the technology on an ongoing basis to build brand loyalty. The San Francisco-based brand regularly hosts live Q&A sessions and tutorials with their in-house experts to help customers learn how to use their makeup properly.

And their strategy seems to be working. They generally capture at least 2,000 views per release and some Periscopes have garnered almost 20,000 hearts. Your customers lead busy lives, so live streaming video is the next best thing when distance or time prevents a real face-to-face meeting to see demos or get help.

  • Introduce new products with pizzazz. Taco Bell is one fast food giant that uses Periscope to boost exposure and promote giveaways. “We’re always looking for new ways to engage with our fans and saw that they were using Periscope,” says Rob Poetsch, Director of Public Relations at the Bell. “It’s a fun way to broadcast news and live events.” They used the platform to announce Breakfast Defector Day last May with an invitation to stop by participating locations for a free Biscuit Taco to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

If you have a new product launch in the near future, or want to drive traffic with a contest or giveaway, this platform will help you spread the news in a fun, mobile-friendly way. Taco Bell formatted their content similar to a formal press release, but you don’t have to take that approach.

  • Let your fans tell their story. While many brands have hosted live streaming Q&As and how-to demonstrations for their customer base, Nestlé used a different lens to showcase their Drumstick products – putting their customer in front of the camera. The brand convinced current customers to eat their product on video and got permission to share their experiences with others. It’s a way to personalize content that resonates with consumers in a creative way outside the typical marketing plan that uses actors and company executives to promote the brand.

When social influencers createcontent and post streams on their personal channels word travels fast. If you reach out to your fan base to help you create Periscope content, look for well-connected social influencers and support your “influencer campaign” with promoted Tweets to get the most out of your Periscopes.
After your live feed ends, you can opt to have the video repeat until the 24-hour window closes or immediately stop broadcasting. The choice is all yours. You even have access to metrics to help you assess the campaign engagement levels and success based on your pre-broadcast goals. The videos stay within the Twitter-verse, so you won’t reach the world at large, but you can opt to invest in paid promotions if you want to reach a wider audience and build new relationships while giving your current customers something new to enjoy—and, hopefully, share with all their best buds.
If you still aren’t sure how to get started with Periscope, check with your web hosting service. They do more than just help keep your website up and running 24/7. Your Bluehost rep can point you in the right direction with helpful resources and tools to create a killer, mobile-friendly website, get your social sites linked together, and help you explore emerging tech marketing tools, like Periscope, to grow your small business.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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