Every time you hop on the Internet there seems to be a new social media tool everyone is talking about. The latest darling of the social media world is Periscope, an app that enables you to broadcast live from your mobile device. Scopes, as broadcasts are called, are used to inform, educate and entertain. The biggest caveat for public relations professionals to remember is that scopes are LIVE.
As always, it’s important to thoroughly evaluate a social media tool to determine if it’s an appropriate channel for your campaign rather than just jumping on the bandwagon. Below is an overview of Periscope, how it can be part of your public relations toolbox and best practices for successful scopes.
What is Periscope?
Periscope is an app enabling users to live stream to over 20 million viewers and counting. Users are notified when people they follow start broadcasting. Viewers can type in comments or questions during the broadcast, and the broadcaster can respond to comments live as they stream across the screen. Scopes are only available for replay for 24 hours on the app itself, but you can extend the life of a scope by saving it to your mobile phone camera roll or online with a service such as katch.me. Now that the app is included with the new Apple TV, some people think it will replace evening cable TV watching.
Why use Periscope?
In today’s “me, me, me” society, it’s no big surprise that individuals would jump on to Periscope as another way to share their lives with anyone who will watch. But the app is also gaining popularity among businesses, government and community-based organizations as a communications tool. Scopes can help organizations introduce their brand, establish their expertise, showcase what they do and give the public access to a perspective they can’t get elsewhere. Some ways organizations are using Periscope is to teach viewers about a specific topic, broadcast press conferences, host question and answer sessions and share personal stories.
Tips for a good scope
· Make a plan: Before you even consider pressing play on your first scope, take the time to plan out your strategy. Is your audience on Periscope? What is your goal for using Periscope? What will your broadcasts be about? What unique content can you offer? Broadcasting consistently is key, so take the time now to put together an editorial calendar to identify topics, speakers and broadcast dates. If you have a hard time coming up with more than a few ideas, then Periscope may not be the best channel for your campaign.
· Use the right equipment: No one expects your scope to have the same quality as Hollywood’s latest blockbuster, but you do need to make sure the lighting is good, viewers can hear what you’re saying and the camera is steady. For example, if you’re filming a question and answer session, mount your phone on a tripod, use a wired microphone, open up blinds to let in natural light and film your speaker at eye level. Always shoot in landscape so your scope will look good on other devices (TV or computer).
· Pick the right person to film: People want to be entertained, even if your topic is more CNN than TMZ. You need to put a personality in front of the camera. You want someone who is real, authentic and engaging. They need to be comfortable in front of the camera and with broadcasting live. And, most importantly, they have to be able to stay on message while interacting with viewers’ comments and questions.
· Plan your scope: The typical scope is five to 10 minutes long. Your scope is live as soon as you press your record button, but don’t forget that most of your viewers will join your broadcast after it starts. You’ll want to leave a buffer at the beginning to give people time to join. Scopes always start with the rear facing camera, and you can switch to the front facing camera at any time during your broadcast. If you’re stationary, set up your device so it’s facing your computer screen, and use a nice opening graphic or video you’ve prerecorded. Use the first thirty seconds of your broadcast to welcome viewers, tease your topic and introduce yourself. If you’re in the field, think about a nice setting you can use for your opening image or design a title card in advance that you can print out and hold in front of the camera. At the 30 second mark, switch the camera to face you and dive into your topic. End your scope with a question and answer session, a call to action, by asking your viewers to share your scope and by teasing your next scope.
· Promote your scope: Establishing a regular broadcast schedule will also help you promote your scopes. Promote your scope on your various social media channels the day before and the day of broadcast. Also promote it on Twitter about 15 to 30 minutes before you start broadcasting. Promote your next scope at the end of your broadcast. Upload your scope to your YouTube channel so it lives beyond the 24-hour replay available on the Periscope app.