How and Why Periscope Might Make Sense for Small Business

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Click to watch this archived Periscope recording from

Over the last few years, I’ve seen one of my roles as the practical beacon for new technologies and trends that I believe small business owners can make use of.

I don’t report on new technology just because it’s hot as much as try to figure out if there’s a way to apply its value to make life better for the typical small business owner.

One of the newer and increasingly talked about social technologies is something called Periscope.

Now, I’m guessing you can tell from the headline of this post that I’m still lukewarm in terms of recommending it, but I did want to share my thoughts on it.

What is Periscope?

Essentially, Periscope is a mobile app that allows you to easily live stream video to other Periscope users or on the web via a link. The app is owned by Twitter, so there’s a tight integration into Twitter and every live stream can push a Tweet so people are alerted to the “scope.”

Now, live streaming is not new and pretty much any Google+ Hangout can be pushed to Twitter, so what we really have here is convenience that relies on the mobile device – both key to adoption of tech these days.

A few social media experts have certainly jumped on it as a way to expand their “guruness.” I mean everyone knows the best way to be considered a thought leader in social media is to be the first one with a course telling people how to profit from a new social network. Of course, it helps if most of your course and value comes from relentless self-promotion. (For those who cannot read sarcasm – that was it.)

Here’s the deal – always. When looking at new network, technology or platform the only test you must pass in order to consider it this: Will you be able to use this new network to add value to your relationships with your clients. If yes, then dive in.

From what I’ve seen so far there are three kinds of videos going on Periscope. Complete self-promotion, total goofiness and some cool behind the scenes looks.

The first is mostly the social media gurus running three or four scopes a day spent mostly on telling other people how to be gurus on Periscope. (You can spot them through their generous use of emojis ) The second consists of very bored people talking about what they did on their walk today. The third, however, is where I believe the potential for Periscope lies.

Live, raw, unscripted videos can send a very strong brand message and let people see how stuff is really done. I think that’s where you can use video and the ease of this platform to build relationships with your current community.

You may actually find that you can turn this into new leads, but I think the real value is building community.

There are a handful of useful features for community building, sharing and learning. But, there are also some goofy gamification elements that in my view actually devalue the tool.

You can build a following, push your live scope to Twitter and interact live with participants as you record. I love these features, but you can also vote or “like” a scope while viewing by tapping the screen and giving a stream of hearts out during the broadcast. Watching people ask for these hearts like candy is pretty silly so try to look past this popularity contest feature.

After you complete a scope you have the option to save it to your phone’s photo roll for future use as the archive on Periscope only stays available for 24 hours. I understand why that might be necessary from a platform standpoint but I think the full archive of your scopes could have lasting value so I recommend adding a tool called so you can build a library and even embed the scopes as I’ve done above.

Again, there’s another revolutionary about the technology, but the ease of use is what might make it take hold.

What could you post on Periscope?

You can post anything, so the real question is what would add value to your community? What would make someone take note of the value you deliver? What would help your stand out in a way that would make people want to join your community?

My friend Michael Port shot his recording the audio book for his upcoming book. Now he’s a known expert, but there was something very real about watching him do interesting work.

Anyone can show the office staff interacting, show how their product is made, or do candid interviews with clients as a way to showcase the human elements of the brand.

Consultants should consider doing live Q and A session on a schedule. Mini webinars are sure to be a hit on Periscope. My guess is that brands will start holding press conferences on Periscope. Events will certainly tap the portable nature of this network to promote event happenings. Look for large scale announcements to start cropping up.

Imagine new product demos and even customer service via Periscope. The face of a real human interactive live via video could be powerful for brands. I can’t imagine it will be long before flash sale promotions come to Periscope.

Some other considerations

If you have a large Twitter following already and you like doing video Periscope might make total sense. If you have already have a large following in other networks, you could certainly use this tool as a way to create a greater connection as long as you promote your scopes.

If you’re not that active in social media, don’t enjoy talking into a camera phone and are a bit nervous about anything raw and unscripted, don’t give Periscope a thought – there are other things to work on.

How to get started

  • Download the IOS or Android App
  • Create your username
  • Connect to Twitter
  • Find some people to follow and watch a dozen or so to get the hang of it (Periscope will suggest from your Twitter following.)
  • Fire up the app and start recording (others will find your)
  • Create a name for your session that’s very compelling – it’s the ad for your scope
  • Once you start recording you can flip the camera by double tapping the screen
  • To end a recording swipe down and hit the stop button

Of course now comes the hard part. How can Periscope technology help you add value to your existing and future client relationships?

I plan to run regularly scheduled scopes talking about marketing related tools as a way to connect with even more folks that choose that platform and like to participate in a more interactive experience.

I would love to hear your ideas on using this new technology.




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