As more brands join and use apps like Periscope and Meerkat, it’s becoming clear that live streaming will play a major role in digital and social marketing in the coming months and years.
Live streaming is anything but new; however, it’s recently jumped to the forefront of industry discussions, since the launch of Meerkat and Periscope. YouTube has long featured live-streaming options, dedicated websites allow users to broadcast feeds, gamers have always had an affinity toward watching other gamers (Twitch attracts more than 45 million viewers each month) and cable companies often stream live programming over the Internet.
But, aside from Twitch, you could argue that no technology, app or website has risen to such prominence as quickly as Periscope (and Meerkat, to a lesser extent). Furthermore, it’s safe to say that no other technology is capable of having such a widespread impact. Unlike Twitch, which focuses solely on the gaming industry, Periscope can be used by anyone. In fact, everyone is using it.
Everyone may be using it but a handful of brands stick out above the rest. Here are some examples of how big brands are successfully using Periscope and other live streaming apps to enhance their customer service and marketing messages.
Red Bull: If there’s a new, trendy marketing platform, you can expect Red Bull to get involved. They haven’t disappointed, already using Periscope as a new branding platform. At the recent Miami Music Week, Red Bull live streamed a handful of their Red Bull "Guest House" events. The company coordinated efforts with Twitter and Snapchat to drum up support.
Spotify: The popular music-streaming service is also interested in live-streaming video. Shortly after joining Periscope, Spotify said “hello” by posting a behind-the-scenes video with Conor O’Brien from the Villagers. It received a few hundred live viewers and has been replayed a few hundred times more.
Mountain Dew: Another early adopter is Mountain Dew. They used it as a way to engage and reward their Twitter followers. “[In the video] we showcased Mountain Dew swag like hats and T-shirts,” reported Christine Ngo, head of digital marketing at Mountain Dew. “Of the many fans who liked/commented on our Periscope stream, we surprised a few fans and will be sending them some cool Mountain Dew gear.”
General Electric: It’s not just “hip” or “young” brands using Periscope, however. General Electric proved that it’s willing to adapt by using the app to live stream a behind-the-scenes interview with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and scientist Bill Nye.
Adidas:The award for most unique Periscope stream goes to Adidas. The popular sportswear company gave fans a chance to watch soccer star James Rodriguez sign his contact extension with the company.
How your company can use live streaming
While big brands like Spotify, Mountain Dew and Red Bull may steal the headlines, there’s plenty of room for you too. Small and mid-sized businesses will be able to carve out their own niches and drive engagement with apps like Periscope and Meerkat. Here are a few ideas:
1. New product releases
All signs point toward new product release features as a major focal point of live streaming. You could use it to showcase a product in anticipation of a release date, do a live unboxing or provide a firsthand look at beta testing and prototypes. This’ll be an interesting trend to follow, as major brands will likely invest in this strategy to gauge interest and enhance buzz around new releases.
2. Live Q&A
From a customer service point of view, live Q&A sessions are invaluable. You can use these opportunities to humanize your brand, address pertinent issues and solve problems. Having regular (weekly, monthly, quarterly) Q&A sessions can be a good way to gain valuable (and free) firsthand feedback and insights from your customers.
3. Celebrity takeover
It’ll be interesting to see how Periscope affects endorsements. If you happen to have good connections, or celebrity endorsers, you may be able to benefit from a “takeover.” Depending on with whom you align your brand, the viewership and return could be incredible.
4. Behind the scenes
As you can see from the brands mentioned above, behind-the-scenes streaming features will be popular. Customers always want to know more about the companies they support, so giving factory tours, showing interviews, and providing teasers will be effective from a marketing perspective.
5. Build Twitter
Ultimately, the value of Periscope will always be tied to Twitter. If nothing else, you can use Periscope to increase and enhance your Twitter followership. A stream here and there may help you to grow your audience.
The future of Periscope, and live streaming technology in general, is unclear. Will it be a flash in the pan, or will it morph into something transformative? As a business owner or marketer, you have to bet on the latter. Now is the time to start experimenting with live streaming to see if it works for you. The companies that are able to build a strong foundation in the beginning stages will reap long-term benefits down the road.
Using the aforementioned brands as examples, and applying some of the tips mentioned here, how’ll you use Periscope to take your branding, marketing, and customer service to the next level? The answer to that question is anything but insignificant.