Digital & Social Media

Your Periscope Stinks: How Brands Can Better Connect

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Periscope recently added options to fast forward or rewind broadcast replays because “busy” users need to get to the good parts sooner. While the introduction of Skip Ahead is a great timesaver for viewers, it should also be seen as an indictment of the poor experience that content creators sometimes provide. To put it bluntly: Your Periscope stinks.

Since Periscope debuted in March, the live video-broadcasting app has gained more than 10 million accounts, and reached an equivalent of more than “40 years of video watched per day,” according to developers. Those years’ worth of videos were viewed largely because audiences had no choice but to sit through the boring moments. Now that Periscope gives users the option to skip forward or rewind, brands must work harder to share compelling broadcasts that give consumers a reason to watch again instead of skipping ahead.

Dump the script and focus on interaction 

Preparation is always good, but an unscripted broadcast with a loose outline is even better. Viewers are easily turned off when brands attempt to broadcast heavily scripted events or ignore viewer comments, so interact authentically. Find opportunities to involve viewers in your broadcast and allow consumers to ask questions via the comment feature. The live interaction gives consumers a direct line into the conversation and builds stronger relationships.

Be disposable but memorable 

All Periscope broadcasts should speak to something current but also be interesting enough to view on YouTube days later. For example, a company that often talks about innovation should show rather than tell. Is there a breakthrough or new piece of technology that you can publicly share? Launch Periscope and showcase it live from your testing lab. Once companies stop treating Periscope as a place to rehash the same information from their press releases, they will discover the app can excite users with a fresh view of their company.

Establish a voice and face to run the channel 

If possible, find a charismatic person to appear consistently in streams so viewers form a familiar connection with your host. He or she will be the face of your brand on Periscope, so make sure this person is charming, funny, or at least quick thinking. Welcoming guests is great, but maintain that consistent presence so regular viewers have a stronger interest in the broadcast.

Make the viewer care about what you have to say 

Just because you’re a big brand doesn’t mean audiences are going to watch. What unique access can you give your audiences? Is it a behind-the-scenes look at computer manufacturing, or a rare interview with sponsored athletes? Give the viewer something they can’t see anywhere else and they will tune in. If there’s a closed-door demo day or a first look at a new product, early adopters and passionate fans will have more reason to stick around and learn more

Promote your content to increase participation 

A brilliant broadcast doesn’t count for much if no one sees it, so bring in more people to liven up the event. Pre-publicize your broadcast with a promoted tweet or partner with an influencer to cross-promote. You can also use the Periscope “Screenshot” tool to capture and tweet out an image to bring in more viewers. Once your broadcast is complete, drive Twitter followers to the 24-hour replay of your stream and consider sharing the broadcast recording on YouTube (if it’s good enough).

Brands may soon discover that their retention rates on Periscope replays drop because of the app’s recent updates; weak content will be to blame if that happens. Get out of the office, show more personality and give people a reason to tune in. Then maybe your Periscope won’t be so terrible.

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About the author

Andrew Kameka develops content and integrated social media strategies for both the consumer and enterprise sectors for some of FleishmanHillard’s national clients. He brings extensive experience in the technology sector, with particular interest in mobile technology, online subcultures and advocacy for increased minority participation in technology. Prior to joining the agency, Kameka served as a managing editor for the technology publication MobileBurn. A FleishmanHillard employee.

Lauren Price supports social media programs and develops engaging video content for some of FleishmanHillard's largest national clients. She brings extensive experience in producing online videos, and prior to her time with the firm, held producer positions at Forbes.com and the 20th Century FOX show "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet." A FleishmanHillard employee.