My favorite part about working in social media is finding out about cool new platforms gaining popularity across the world. A great example of this is Periscope – the live streaming video platform released in March of this year. The app is getting increasingly popular with each passing month – in the first 10 days Periscope gained 1 million users!

What’s the massive draw, I wondered? It seemed like Periscope is basically a live streaming version of YouTube … what’s the big deal? Well, it turns out the live-video platform features live chatting and guerilla-style behind-the-scenes footage, making it totally, utterly fascinating to watch random people go about their daily business. It’s like finally being a fly on the wall! Individual users bring us into their homes, their places of business, their commutes, etc., and we’re given a glimpse – or in some cases and in-depth, close up look – at their daily lives.

So, as a B2B social media enthusiast the question naturally becomes, “How can B2B brands use this new platform to bring in business?” After taking some time to check out this still somewhat new social platform, here are three main categorical uses I see for early B2B adopters.

BUILDING TRUST & BRAND AMBASSADORSHIP

Thought leadership is the number one best use for Periscope, in my opinion. Because the app allows anyone to bring an audience into their world, so to speak, the opportunities for proving one’s expertise are abundant. Some Periscopers are streaming their keynote speaker presentations, some share brainstorming meetings or quick feedback tidbits outlining their opinions on products or happenings in the industry. The more you let prospective customers into your personal world, the more they trust you.

Company culture is another great, easy use for this app. Similar to Snapchat, brands are using Periscope to give outsiders a peek in at the way their company works and what a day in the life of team members looks like. With Snapchat, however, a Story only lasts 24 hours and is static. With Periscope, companies can broadcast and chat live with onlookers during brainstorming sessions, company/team building outings, and presentations. For instance, many newscasters are using Periscope to stream what happens behind the news desk during commercial breaks. Last week I watched a sales team at Top Golf for almost half an hour – I’m not crazy about sales OR golf, so that’s really saying something about the fascination of Periscope.

Live Q&A is an obvious one. Is your company getting a lot of questions on a product or service of yours? Or, is your company craving customer feedback? Use Periscope to host a live Q&A session; give your customers a chance to get their questions answered, and the opportunity to learn more about your products and services, answering questions they may not have even known they had. By providing your customers visual insight and live access to you and your fellow experts, you cultivate trust and long-lasting relationships with your customers. Investment in your service to customers is how brand ambassadors are built!

Interactive webinars are another Live Q&A-type option; the difference being a webinar is more structured wherein the host sets the pace and outlines the content. I would recommend a webinar over a Q&A session when the objectives are more about informing a customer base or introducing a new product or service. In a webinar format, questions and comments would be relegated to a specific time, whereas the Live Q&A is just that – questions and answers.

PRODUCT-FOCUSED VIDEO MARKETING

Events promotion is the leading use for Periscope in the product-focused video marketing vein. Whether your company is hosting an event, attending an event, or merely preparing for an event, using Periscope to live stream team members and customers interacting with a product is a great way to spread awareness and brand recognition. Events are naturally a huge draw for Periscope users.

Product launches and live demos are the next best bet for live streaming on Periscope. Before an official product launch, you can crowdsource ideas, and once the product is out you’re able to share reactions, showcase lesser-known uses/aspects of the product or service, and do live demos of a product. The live demos especially draw big crowds; some products and services might seem complicated at first, but with a live demo they’re much easier to understand.

Video Marketing As part of live demos, some people are using Periscope to interactively showcase large, immobile products, such as real estate. Realtors are able to take prospective buyers into a home from across the country and show them the nooks and crannies of the house like exactly how big that walk-in closet is. I expect this type of use for Periscope to grow even more in time.

Exclusive offers have become a part of Periscope marketing, producing pretty great results. For companies about to launch new products, attend national events or hold Live Q&As, offering exclusive deals on products and services over live streaming is one way to gain attention, reward brand loyalists and grow their follower base.

HELP & PRODUCT OR SERVICE ASSISTANCE

Tutorials and training sessions are a big hit on this platform. Does your company make a complicated product? Or have a very detailed service offering? Using Periscope to teach customers, prospective customers or value-added resellers how to use your product/service offering is a great way to provide hands on training. Periscope allows real-time tutoring and training feedback, so you’re able to tailor each session to those particular attendees.

Customer service – live – has become quite popular using this vertical. Similar to the way companies now have a Live Chat option on their websites, Periscope gives companies opportunities to assist customers face to face, in real time, with live streaming to demonstrate a problem or issue. The timing on live customer service is the wonky part – anyone can join in on a customer’s back and forth with a company team member, so there’s no privacy here. That hasn’t seemed to stop most people, though, so I think it’s another way things are changing and the younger generations are fine with it.

CONCERNS & CONSIDERATIONS

While Periscope is definitely a great live-video platform to be used for a variety of video marketing efforts, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Copyright infringement is a consideration. For instance, don’t stream an NFL game live from your company suite. While watching an individual fan’s live stream is a great way to see a blacked out game, streaming a copyrighted production as a company is asking for legal trouble.

Similar to the Snapchat issue mentioned above, content you’ve streamed on Periscope is only available for 24 hours. This isn’t too much of a drawback, but do keep it in mind if you’re going to have a design team building an entire product or writers writing a long script – keep in mind the ROI isn’t going to be the same because the content won’t be available next week to capitalize on.

The only metrics available on Periscope are live views, replay views, and number of hearts (likes on a broadcast). There’s currently no way to track the number of comments and/or questions received during a broadcast. In addition, there’s no way to monitor and regulate live chats – meaning cursing, bullying or other negative comments could appear with no way to stop it, aside from the host physically saying something out loud about it … which only draws more attention to it. As of now, there’s nothing much to be done about it.

Finally, the search function leaves a lot to be desired. As with most platforms, I’m sure we’ll see growth and positive changes to the network over time, and these issues will be addressed.

As it stands now, Periscope is a great tool B2B companies can use for their specific needs. I encourage you to see what’s out there, and maybe follow a few brands to learn how they’re using it. Happy watching, and happy streaming!