By Jeff Urbanchuk & Elisabeth Wraase
Just ten days after Twitter initially launched Periscope in March, one million users had signed up for the livestreaming app. Five months after its introduction, the app is already producing stars who are gaining popularity, influence and momentum by broadcasting moments in their lives to an audience eager for content. Now, with over six million visitors to the service, Periscope has become a social media darling and, not surprisingly, the newest social media tool in the PR professional’s kit.
Periscope’s recent emergence on the social scene means that its current users, which still amount to only a fraction of the Twitter universe, are essentially beta testers looking to find the best way to use the application, build audiences and make an impact online. Periscope hasn’t had its “critical mass” moment just yet, but it goes without saying that when it comes, it will be the result of users learning and fine tuning best practices to take full advantage of the application’s reach.
Several PR pros from the nonprofit and business world led a PRNews webinar last week to discuss their favorite tips, strategies, and ideas for leveraging Periscope for PR. On the whole, their recommendations are spot on and we’ve prepared a summary of them for review, as well as our own thoughts on how to use Periscope to its fullest.
- Pick a compelling title
The headline is your first chance at making an impact. It’s the hook that gets viewers in the door. Be creative. Be concise. Make it exclusive and exciting. Like any good pitch, verbal economy is a must. So is riding the line between click-bait and being tonally neutral. Use hashtags and don’t be afraid of using emojis that catch the eye.
- Consider your location
If you’re using a cell phone or iPad, you know that audio and video isn’t broadcast quality. Invest in a shotgun microphone for mobile devices to improve audio quality. The same goes for lighting. The font-facing camera and built-in flash of most phones isn’t going to flatter your subject. Invest in a led panel for off-camera lighting and some diffusion paper to soften the light.
- Remember, it’s a visual medium
Get as close to the action as you can and invest in a tripod or a steady cam rig to avoid shaky video. If you are planning to share a keynote speaker at an event, you may need to hook onto an internet hotspot to ensure Wi-Fi capability. When 45,000 people login to a hotel’s internet at the same, your initial Periscope plan may not work—so having a secure hotspot is a Plan B that ensures you’ll be online at the right time.
- Have a secondary comment monitor
You need to have someone on a brand-focused channel that is monitoring what people are saying. They can reply to questions, quickly block negative users, and are more readily available than the person behind the screen.
- Plan and promote
Yes, it’s that simple. Publish a blog post before the event that includes details of your Periscope streaming event, remind users via social media to follow you on the app, and Tweet daily reminders a week or two ahead of the event to increase viewership. Remember to make replays available for 24 hours.
- Encourage engagement
During a broadcast, take time to ask viewers to share the feed with their own followers on Periscope. Do this by asking viewers to swipe vertically on Android devices and left to right on iOS and clicking the share button.
What’s Periscope for?
- Sneak Peek
- Product Demo
- Chat with CEO
Periscope can be used to go behind the curtain, reveal something new, or even to recruit—showing people what it’s like to be a part of a company. If you’re doing a Q&A, seed questions in advance from your Twitter audience so you have some items ready to go while you gather questions during the stream. Storyboards can be helpful if you know what will come up during the live stream; plan what images and sound bites you’ll want to capture so that your team knows what to expect during filming.
Remember to interact with your audience. This helps you gain “love” through Periscope’s heart mechanism. Viewers are able to tap the screen to give you hearts during the live stream. The more hearts you receive, the more likely your content is resonating with them. While you may not be able to respond to all commenters, don’t forget that people are watching you. Say hello, be friendly, and thank them for the hearts. A little gratitude goes a long way.
For Periscope, success can be measured by views and hearts. Immediately after you end the stream, write down or take a screenshot of the total number of views and hearts. If you’ve made replays available, this number will change, so you’ll want to have the original data. Before your Periscope announcement, make note of the number of followers you have on the app—calculate the increase once your event is over. All this data can be presented to the client quickly.
When all is said and done, develop a wrap-up blog post. Your actual Periscope video may not live beyond its extra 24-hours on the app, but your blog post will. Give your readers a summary of the event—what content was shared, screenshots from the event, and what items resonated with the viewers. Remind them to tune in next time for their chance to get involved with the brand.