In the quest for brand ubiquity, the goal for marketers is no longer to be everywhere at once, but rather to set up camp on the channels in which your message can achieve the best amplification, establish brand identity and connect with your target audience. Every channel has its own mechanics, inner logic and unique communities.
Often in newer platforms, the rules are still being written. It’s an exciting time, a digital world full of possibility—ripe for experimentation, innovation and, yes, the inevitable missteps. As the task of creating and sharing content grows easier every day, we are limited only by our imaginations in what we can do. Put simply, we are witnessing the dawning of a new content renaissance.
One of the hottest proving grounds in 2015 is the much-hyped live-streaming app Periscope, a platform acquired by Twitter roughly a year ago and unveiled this past March. Its basic operating principles are simple: Users open a live stream via their mobile device and share whatever they choose with their audiences, who are free to comment and “heart” activity in real time. Once the stream has stopped broadcasting, users have access to it for the next 24 hours.
The app has grown quickly, with more than a million users signing up within the first 10 days. It’s not difficult to see why. With Periscope, the possibilities of instantaneous live feeds are tantalizing. At any given time, users can be treated to feeds ranging from the mundane (a guy in New Jersey driving down the highway), to the behind-the-scenes peek (the Atlanta Braves’ organ player hard at work during an MLB game), to the illegal, as was the case recently with the high-profile and highly “Periscoped”—and pirated—boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
Indeed, today everyone is a broadcaster, a publisher, a content producer. From the humblest individual to the largest brand, Periscope is available to everyone. Brands no longer are competing for space with a limited number of other brands on a limited number of channels; they are competing with just about everyone on an essentially unlimited number of channels.
What to Share?
So what makes for a good Periscope feed, and how can you ensure that others take notice of your brand? First, take comfort in the fact that good content, regardless of era or platform, has a funny way of rising to the top—and some interesting approaches have already begun to emerge.
Some brands have used the platform for ask-me-anything sessions, product demos and weekly news roundups. Others have used Periscope to raise social awareness on subjects ranging from the crisis in Nepal to a zoo’s efforts to revive the populations of endangered species.
Brands like Mountain Dew (@MountainDew) have embraced the platform as a behind-the-scenes extension of the extreme sports culture that the brand has long embraced. Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) recently began using the platform to highlight internal culture-building efforts, spearheaded by its famed Culture Committee.
Of course, these are just a few examples. The most exciting thing about the new content renaissance is that you have the freedom to operate—and innovate—by your own set of rules. Sure, it can be a little intimidating to experiment with a new platform in front of a live audience, but if you enforce these basic guardrails, you should do just fine:
1. Avoid over-sharing. Just because you can share it doesn’t mean that you should—and this goes double when it comes to branding.
2. Have a plan. Sure, a live stream should have an element of spontaneity, but what you choose to share, how much and for how long should be carefully considered ahead of time.
3. Establish clear goals that align with your brand’s mission, vision and values. What elements of your business do you want to highlight, and who among your employee ranks is best suited to deliver that message?
The rest is up to you. Just remember: To find out if Periscope is a good fit for your brand, you have to get off the bench and play the game, so get out your Periscope, choose your target and broadcast with confidence.
Mark Burgess is co-founder and president of social branding consultancy Blue Focus Marketing, and co-author of The Social Employee. Previously, he has held marketing and advertising positions at AT&T, PricewaterhouseCoopers and McCann-Erickson. Burgess regularly presents on topics such as social media and integrated marketing communications for the AMA. For more information, visit AMA.org/Events.