Periscope: The Next “IT” Social Media Platform


May 12, 2016


Since its inception in 2002, social media has been so woven into the fabric of everyday life that it is hard to conceive a world in which we don’t hit “like,” up-vote a post, or hashtag a picture of our favorite shoes (even if years ago such a stunt would’ve seemed absurd). At the beginning, many businesses shirked the necessity of social media in building their brand. Retailers now understand the inherent value social media brings in every area of marketing. It is the bridge that easily connects consumers to brands and vice versa.

The gold standard in social media marketing has always been Facebook followed by Twitter. While these platforms serve a functioning role in building brand awareness and marketing, they are soon to meet their match in the form a formidable streaming app known as Periscope. A digital live broadcast platform that is about to forge the evolution of social media and social marketing for years.

Live streaming is far from new. The concept has been kicked around for years (YouTube has a live streaming option), but has often centered around the gaming genre, with websites such as Twitch and U- stream. The difference between Periscope and other live streaming options? Periscope allows users to stream anything and everything from anywhere, a concept that is quickly gaining prominence in retail marketing.

Periscope is garnering followers faster than any other social network to date. Insiders are quickly declaring the app to be the next “it” form of social media in retail. Everyday, forty years worth of content is viewed on Periscope. You heard that right, forty years worth of content. This sets up Periscope to be one of the greatest forms of active engagement a brand could hope to utilize.

Marc Jacobs Periscope

What is periscope?

Periscope is a live-streaming app that was purchased by media juggernaut Twitter in February of 2015.
The app received a proper public launch on March 26th 2015 and has been growing at a rapid pace ever since. Periscope allows users to “go live” via their smartphone or tablet from any location in the world at any time of day. Yes, you can live stream from Bangladesh at Midnight if you so choose. This yields a unique opportunity for the user to essentially have a mini-broadcasting system that fits in the palm of their hand. As the fastest growing social network in recent years, Periscope scored 1 million users a staggering 10 days after its initial launch. After just four months, Periscope hit 10 million active users.

What makes Periscope the next “IT” social media platform for retailers?

Unlike its two top competitors, Facebook and Twitter, Periscope is a completely unsaturated market. Even though the app is growing in haste, it is still essentially in its infancy. The potential is boundless. Retailers who have signed up for Periscope are quickly realizing this vast potential, especially in terms of interacting with followers and potential customers.

San Francisco-based makeup brand Benefit Cosmetics is one of the first major retailers to embrace the Periscope model. They frequently engage the Benefit community by hosting live Q&As, live makeup tutorials, and insider information on the brand, all through the Periscope app. So far, Benefit has seen success with the app. On average more than 2,000 viewers tune into watch a single Benefit stream. The most recent Benefit stream earned the brand over 19,700 hearts and viewers.
While many brands have yet to realize the unrealized potential of Periscope, those active are finding that the ability to reach a large audience and receive immediate feedback from that audience is invaluable. Periscope seems to bridge the gap between large passive platforms such as Facebook and more indulgent apps such as Snapchat.

Major fashion retailer DKNY has been using Periscope to offer their fans “insider” tours to the DKNY offices. Through these live streams, DKNY takes users behind the curtain and introduces the customer to the faces and practices that make DKNY what it is. This gives the average person a chance to fall in love with the company as a whole, rather than just a single product. This creates brand loyalty that is not often earned through other social media platforms.

Periscope Users

How does Periscope forge active engagement?

While Facebook and Twitter obviously offer retailers the opportunity to quickly respond to their customers, they often fail to generate an immediate response. Periscope is all about real time engagement. When a customer asks a question on a live Periscope broadcast, they receive an immediate real time response. For a generation of people who are all about instant gratification, Periscope provides the instantaneous results they often seek but fail to find. This form of active engagement not only creates amazing opportunitys for expanding customer service, but it allows users a chance to forge a “real” relationship with the brands they love.

Brand Authenticity

Consumers often buy with their emotions in mind. Because of that, they’re more likely to make major decisions from a brand they trust. Periscope allows for transparency. Because the app is in real time, there is no room for smoke and mirrors. The audience is not just viewing a digital representation of the brand, they are seeing the flesh and bone behind the brand. That’s a big difference. Seeing a real person and not just the name behind a Twitter account leads to true connection. This builds trust at an accelerated rate, which naturally leads to an increase in sales, as people are more apt to purchase from a brand they trust.

Unlimited Opportunity

While the idea of live streaming may leave many retailers scratching their heads, there are so many ways that a brand can use Periscope to market their merchandise. Many major companies have been utilizing Periscope to showcase new items, provide live tutorials, host Q&As, offer behind the scenes looks into the brand offices, offer promo codes, and stream live events such as fashion shows or launches. The capacity to live stream these aspects of a retail business not only allows for users to feel as if a brand is authentic but to truly invest themselves into the overall goals and lifestyle the company supports.

The Evolution of Social Media

There are many paths social media will take, but live streaming is the next big thing in how a consumer connects, engages, and eventually buys merchandise. The ability to interact with a brand and for a brand to interact with their consumer leads to greater understanding between both parties. This is something traditional social media platforms have often failed to offer. Live streaming is going to be a major shift in how a business markets themselves and their products to a generation that yearns to feel involved in all aspects of a buying experience.

Without question, Periscope will continue to grow like gangbusters. As more retailers learn the benefits live streaming can bring, more and more brands will jump on board. The question is, how quickly will brands learn to embrace all that the app has to offer and market their business in a fresh and enticing way?

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