If your business is looking for a better, more personal way to connect with customers, Periscope is the answer. The Twitter-owned live-streaming iOS and Android app lets anyone broadcast video for free, giving small businesses an easy, fast and affordable way to communicate with customers in real-time.
Launched in March, Periscope has quickly catapulted into the most popular live streaming app. Like its competitors Meerkat, Stream and Hangouts, Periscope allows your business to be more accessible to customers and to create more personal relationships with them.
To help you use Periscope for business, we asked social media marketing experts and small business owners how they have found success with the live-streaming platform. Here are 12 winning ways they have used Periscope to grow their brands and build trust with customers. [Social Media for Business: 2015 Marketer’s Guide]
1. Humanize your brand
Periscope lets you connect with customers in a personal way. One great way to do this is by humanizing your brand, such as by providing an inside look at your business to establish an emotional connection.
"People love the idea of being on the inside," Yunche Wilson, founder of WhoRYou Marketing, said. "Give them a rare look of where the magic happens."
For instance, you could give customers a peek at what life is like at your company.
"We recently started a Periscope account to do sort of a behind the scenes of an SF startup," Emily Schuman, community manager at Roost, a self-storage and parking company, said. "We're using it for things like chats with our CEO, live talks that our COO gave at 500 Startups, and sometimes just fun things we do around the office."
It's also a creative way for customers to see other faces behind the products.
"Show what it is like to be in a planning meeting, what office shenanigans go on throughout the day, who is the office clown and so on," Wilson said.
If you don't have an office, home-based business owners can get in on the fun, too.
"If you are a 'homepreneur,' showcase your little bosses — the kiddos — or how your dog seems to only interrupt you when you get on a call," Wilson added. "People enjoy seeing people live their daily lives."
2. Behind the scenes
Besides showing what goes on around the office, you could also use Periscope for a behind-the-scenes look at your products. It could be as simple as showing how a product is made to strengthen customers' trust in your brand.
"This method lets the people viewing your Periscope broadcast feel like they are the insider," James Blews, an online marketing and SEO consultant (jamesblews.com), said. "They get to see a walk-through of how your product is made, in real-time. Not only does this show the quality, but it can also give them a more trusting feeling of the behind-the-scenes that most business just do not."
3. Product demos
Periscope is also a great way to market your product more effectively by giving a live demo of how it works.
"Sometimes a still photo and some website copy just can't fully explain how the product works and only video will do,"Rob Watson, a digital marketing consultant at Click to Sale, explained. "By demonstrating your product on a Periscope broadcast, viewers can see exactly how it works. What's more, the slightly rough- and-ready feel of Periscope makes product demonstrations feel more real and unrehearsed, giving the impression that your product really is that easy to use."
This is an especially useful avenue if you have a niche or high-tech product. PrecisionHawk, an aerial data collection company, uses Periscope to demonstrate how their unmanned drones gather information.
"One of the challenges we face is delivering rich, interactive media to showcase the capabilities of this technology in the field," Lia Reich, senior communications director at PrecisionHawk, said.
This is because current regulations allow this technology to be operated only in remote, rural areas. However, Periscope has allowed the company to broadcast the process to a global audience and help them better understand how the service actually works.
"We did our first live Periscope this summer at a field demo with the American Farm Bureau," Reich said. "It was very beneficial to bring our audience with us out in the field and allow them to witness the technology work in real-time through a live- flight demo. We also did on-site interviews with some of the attendees."
In addition to product demos, you can also show live tutorials or hold live-training sessions.
"This is something I do myself frequently on Periscope," Wilson said. "Teaching someone something of value for free is a certified way to position yourself as an expert in your industry."
Doing so has the added benefit of potentially growing your followers and customers.
"Because you have given something of value, people will not only follow you, they will tell others about you," Wilson added. "Use this as a way to showcase what it is like to work with you so that people want to inquire further."
5. Showcase offerings
If you don't have a tangible product, Periscope gives you a chance to show off what your company has to offer.
One example is real estate. Venerate Media Group uses Periscope to help clients such as 360 Realty Tampa broadcast open houses and reach more potential buyers.
"An initial walk-through of the property is done to showcase the features of the home," David A. Blacker, managing principal at Venerate Media Group, explained. "Many times viewers are on the fence about a property and would like to see it prior to traveling. The listing is then placed on YouTube until the property is sold."
6. Live events
Is your company hosting an event? Periscope lets audiences watch from all over the world, even if they can't attend in person.
StartupPop.com, a company that holds monthly startup events that allow 10 companies to pitch in front of a panel of investors, has found success reaching a wider audience by broadcasting them via Periscope.
"On June 15 we ran an event in Boca Raton (Florida) where Periscope followers could watch our event live," Dan Gudema, founder of StartupPop.com, said. "We had over 100 viewers and people who could not make it could watch. Since then I have pretty much been on Periscope about 60 minutes day."
7. Live Q&A
Periscope is also an easy, convenient way to interact with customers with live Q&A sessions.
"This method of using Periscope does two things," Blews said. "The first is that it lets your customers and clients see you showcase your experience and expertise in a quick, real manner. The second is thinking on your toes back and forth can really reinforce your knowledge better than any webpage Q&A or support page. No recorded videos can do that in real-time."
In particular, it's a great way for service providers to establish authority and expertise in their field.
"For service businesses, running a Periscope session educating and answering questions makes total sense," Gudema said. "For instance, answering tax questions or marketing questions."
It can also be used to offer free advice, which is how New York City-based recruitment firm HR Search Partners has successfully used Periscope.
"The managing partners [of HR Search Partners] hold a biweekly Periscope show offering advice on your job search," Blacker said. "The show is then edited into segments and placed on YouTube."
Like Q&A sessions, you can also hold live webinars on Periscope. This is both easy and cost-effective — you don't need any tech skills or pay for fancy webinar software — while also giving you a chance to boost engagement.
"Periscope broadcasts can effectively be low-tech, simple webinars when you look at the benefits they offer," Watson said. Webinars on Periscope don't just offer a visual impact, it's also an opportunity for audiences to ask questions and leave comments, which allows you to immediately respond in real-time, he said.
It's also a valuable learning opportunity for businesses. "This might just provide questions and highlight problems you hadn't thought of, as well as give insight into the terminology that your audience uses," he added.
Because Periscope allows you to interact with viewers in real-time, it's one of the fastest and easiest way to crowdsource feedback and other types of information. The simplest way to do so is by conducting a survey.
"Surveying is one of those truly amazing ways to hear how much someone loves or hates something, but Periscope takes this to new heights," Wilson said. "Because of the live feedback, I can get immediate answers to my questions. No waiting or bribing someone with a gift card to give their opinion. I can have the feedback of up to 500 people in one sitting."
Whether you're unveiling a new product or hosting an event, you can make customers feel special by announcing it first on Periscope.
"People love getting the inside scoop on things," Wilson said. "When you announce that you are launching a new product — especially when Periscope gets to hear it first — it makes it an exclusive community. Kind of like, 'You heard it first on Periscope!'"
It's also a great way to increase followers and keep people on their toes about what you have coming next, Wilson added
11. Exclusive offers
People also love discounts and giveaways. Similar to Periscope launches, you can also make customers feel extra special and boost sales with exclusive, Periscope-only offers.
"Who doesn't love getting a good discount or even free stuff?" Wilson said. "Based on a crafty title like, 'I'm giving away two iPads, get in here to grab one,' you could create a frenzy that results in your broadcast being super-full."
Offering Periscope-based discounts also allows you to track what is and isn't working. Wilson suggested creating a coupon code just for Periscope followers, which allows you to easily monitor how often customers use it when you announce it on Periscope.
12. Customer service
There are several ways to provide customer support over social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even third-party apps. Now you can add Periscope to that list.
Darna & Co., LLC, uses Periscope to provide real-time customer service for its anti-nausea device, No Mo Nausea Band.
"Periscope allows my company the ability of providing a personalized experience for customers that is interactive, informative and fun," Jacqueline Darna, CEO of Darna & Co., LLC, said. "It's an amazing opportunity where there's no production cost and the video doesn't have to be perfect, just real."
Furthermore, the No Mo Nausea Band is only sold in hospitals, pharmacies, dive shops and airports, places that used to limit Darna's direct interaction with customers before Periscope.
"Answering their questions on a one-on-one basis allows me to interact with them in ways I never would be able to," Darna said.
Periscope is also a cost-effective way to provide tech support, especially for the most common questions and issues.
"The way you can use it for tech support is by conducting a live broadcast similar to a webinar," Taylor Murray, co-founder of call center software provider CallTools. "Let's say you sell a tangible product and you keep receiving messages on how a feature works. Well, you can gather all your customers with the similar problem through an email and ask them to join you on Periscope."