I must admit that I’ve been a bit of a Periscope lurker lately. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are a good way to recap some of your daily highlights but they still lack true immediacy. I’ve been intrigued by live streaming for a while but it took one specific event to get me really hooked.
A few weeks back I was having trouble sleeping so I grabbed my phone to kill some time. I fired up Twitter and noticed that one of my favourite golfers had just Tweeted out a link to his Periscope stream. I clicked on it right away.
The Open Championship (aka The British Open) was in a rain delay and a few of the golfers took to Periscope to pass the time. The stream featured Ian Poulter, Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood and Paul Lawrie sitting around a table in the clubhouse enjoying a tea while they waited for the storm to blow over. If one of the golfers had shared a photo of this encounter, I probably would have noticed it and moved on. I quickly discovered that live streaming made this experience really cool.
With Ian Poulter playing camera man, the group fielded fan questions from Periscope and took turns answering them. It was totally unscripted, very candid and really entertaining. For many golf fans, that 30 minute video is probably as close as they’ll ever come to meeting the guys they watch on TV every week. I learned more about them in that one Periscope than I’ll ever learn watching a golf broadcast.
For those that haven’t experienced the ‘scope (I totally made that name up, no one that calls it that) yet, here’s a quick rundown. Periscope is a live streaming app available for your mobile device that allows you to create video on the go. People can tune into whatever you’re up to and comment and like your stream in real time. Users have the ability to follow others and even get notified when their favourite Periscoper is live.
The biggest advantage Periscope has over similar apps (Meerkat is another very similar app launched about the same time) is that it’s owned by Twitter (Twitter bought it in March, 2015). Having a company like Twitter in your corner is kind of a big deal. Think of the knowledge, resources and opportunities Periscope now has access to. I’m anticipating some pretty cool Twitter integrations in the future. You can already share a link to your stream on Twitter which helps you gain an audience.
So what’s the big deal about live video? Why should businesses care? Here are some things to consider:
- Having content that showcases the “here and now” is important. We live in a world where people just need to know stuff. They don’t want to wait. They want it now.
- The ability to create and share content from a mobile device is important. Live streaming used to be a bit of an operation and it wasn’t something that many businesses had on their radar. Business owners don’t have a lot of extra time in the day so anything that can be done on the fly should be investigated.
- Live streaming allows for an even deeper connection between broadcaster and audience. Sometimes Facebook comments and Twitter replies work just fine but they aren’t as personal as a video.
- We constantly stress the idea of bringing the consumer closer to you and your brand. Periscope offers you the opportunity to show people the people, processes and products that make you different and unique. And they can watch it all happen in real time.
Sounds pretty cool huh? It does have some drawbacks though:
- Live streaming can blow up your mobile data pretty quickly. A WiFi connection is almost a necessity.
- Speaking of WIFI, you need a pretty strong connection. We noticed our first broadcast got a bit bogged down even though we were using our WIFI.
- Broadcasts last for 24 hours but the app does allow you to save them to your phone. You could then add them to a site like YouTube if you wanted.
- The app itself is pretty easy to use. It’s gone through a few changes in recent weeks and, although it’s far from perfect, I expect the user experience to get even better in the future.
There are a million different things that businesses can do with live streaming – Q&A’s, tours, demonstrations, panels, presentations, interviews or just straight up chit chat. We are always stressing the idea of “here and now content” for small businesses. It doesn’t get much more “here and now” than this.
The live streaming game is quickly getting more competitive. Along with Periscope and Meerkat, Facebook is testing a live streaming platform in addition to their already released Riff app. YouTube has had a live stream feature for a while and we can’t forget about UStream and Livestream either.
Periscope makes live streaming technology a bit more readily available to the mobile masses. Will these people embrace the chance to create live content or will Periscope go the way of so many other unsuccessful platforms? Only time will tell.