Periscope, that’s what.

Wait … isn’t periscope that sneaky spy thing on the top of a submarine? Yes. And it’s also a powerful new smartphone video broadcast application that’s taking the online world by storm (10 million accounts were created in its first four months). It lets you instantly “go live” with a video broadcast wherever you are.

Periscope was a budding startup when Twitter acquired it several months ago. (Twitter was so excited about its potential that it snatched Periscope up before the app was fully launched.) Hardly the first personal broadcast application (Meerkat, Ustream and a host of new arrivals – including one from Facebook – are vying for attention), Periscope benefits greatly from its Twitter parent.

Running on iOS and Android devices, Periscope allows users to stream live video while viewers make text comments, facilitating a rapid, instantaneous interaction. Viewers can tap their screens to send hearts to the broadcaster … cute, but nifty in how it says, “I dig what you’re saying.”

Periscope’s technology is a natural addition to the Twitter family, taking the real-time delivery and exchange of information to a new level. One interesting Periscope attribute: broadcasts disappear in 24 hours. (There are ways to save and repurpose them.)

So it all sounds pretty cool, right? Is it just for fun? Nope, but it really is fun. To the point of being addicting. Is it just for brands, marketing or education? Nope, but many people are using it for those. Can it create community and sales? Absolutely.

Brian-Fanzo-KatchPeriscope has allowed me to engage and amplify my story to an audience that never knew who I was and those who did know me now can look me in my digital eyeballs. Everyone is craving a transparent and authentic relationship with their customers and Periscope has made that possible at a scale like never before!

~ Brian Fanzo / iSocialFanz

The graphic above contains some of the people I follow on Periscope. The group includes a woman with whom I took a lovely bike ride through the beautiful Dutch countryside recently, the amazing Brian Fanzo (who’s in contention for the most prolific communicator and community-builder out there), a few people who are teaching us how to use Periscope and video technology in general, and a cool French dude who does some really serene exercise “scopes” every day.

St Germain Periscope PeepshowThen there’s that disappearing peep show I mentioned. Put on by St. Germain Liqueurs, it topped the list of scopes I’ve seen for high production values and serially-released episodes. Take a look at my Instagram post about it (and please follow me while you’re there). Click to read the Ad Age story about St Germain’s marketing feat.

Still young, the potential uses of Periscope have yet to be realized. On the personal side, “scopers” share morning well wishes over a cup of coffee or their sunset view or walks along a beach. To be sure, there are a lot of dumb, time-wasting scopes. Just log on Friday night; you won’t have to look far for party broadcasts. But hey, isn’t time-wasting one of the top features of the Internet?

On the other hand, the potential business applications of Periscope really are exciting.

  • realtors are taking prospective buyers on candid, virtual tours of properties
  • personal trainers and yoga instructors are leading live workouts
  • beauty experts are conducting interactive makeup tutorials
  • product developers are hosting spontaneous, casual focus groups
  • attorneys are sharing their knowledge about their specialty (I saw one recently on trademark law)

… the possibilities do seem endless! I can think of some businesses and organizations that would find it challenging – but not un-doable – to broadcast interesting content over their smartphones. Water and sewer authorities and duct cleaning companies come to mind.

Who else is making Periscope work?

Sue B Zimmerman, Holly Gillen, Carrie Glenn

Sue B. Zimmerman, (suebzimmerman.com | @suebzimmerman) is one of the world’s leading authorities on Instagram marketing. She aggressively adopted Periscope to pass along tips and tricks and, with an astonishing 4,900+ Periscope fans, she reports it is helping her build sales and add about 100 new Instagram followers a day, all while building her YouTube subscriptions.

Holly Gillen (hollygstudios.com | @hollygstudios), is a video coach and uses Periscope to teach and engage. She reports, “Between 7/1 – 7/30, I scoped at least once a day and here is how that effected my growth in my business:

Facebook page – + 5.6%
Twitter – + 34%
Instagram – + 13.5%
YouTube – + 60%
Periscope – + 293.5%
Facebook Group (Holly G’s VIPs) – + 20%

I’ve increased my sales. I even created a new course, Snappy Scopes™, which teaches you how to edit your scopes in a snap. www.snappyscopes.com.”

Carrie Glenn, the “Periscope Queen” (PeriscopeQueen), has found success on Periscope as well. “As someone who was virtually unknown on Periscope and Twitter only a few weeks ago (and not being a known social media queen by any means) I now have almost 700 awesome followers and 50,000 hearts. I get followed every time I scope and every time I view other scopes. The greatest thing is my average hearts per scope has increased by 900%!” says Carrie.

“I am followed by some of the top scopers like Mark Shaw and Warren Whitlock and am in talks with both of them about booking interviews/podcasts. These are awesome social media moguls with 30,000+ Twitter followers. Six weeks ago, I did not exist to some of these folks. Periscope has leveled the playing field and it’s so much fun.

“My friendships with others through social media has exploded! People I only knew through a photo, video or post have now become live relationships in a tangible and connected way. It’s fabulous.”

Learn more

Join the Periscope Queen’s 18 Day Live Stream Challenge
Download the Periscope Queen’s Periscope Checklist eBook
Kim Garst’s Periscope 101 with downloadable PDF

We at Bald Guy Studio are stoked about the launch of this awesome new platform and will continue to follow its exciting evolution. And yes, I do plan to start “scoping” (@baldguystudio). BTW, I have 138 followers at the moment without ever conducting a scope … they all came from me watching other scopes and engaging with the presenter and other viewers.

Are you on Periscope, either as a broadcaster or viewer? Do you plan to be soon? What do you think about the technology? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

~ Chuck Moran
with contributions from Maggie Whalen