Businesses Experiment With Periscope Livestreaming

By Samantha Sabin
The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.).

Periscope isn’t just for the celebrities and techies anymore — at least not in the Triangle.

More local small business owners are finding innovative ways to use the Twitter-owned live-streaming application, which allows users to livestream whatever, whenever through their smartphone. The video from the live stream exists for 24 hours.

At the Raleigh digital marketing agency O3 Creative, the idea is that if you want your clients to know it, stream it.

When there’s a new Internet trend emerging, Jennifer Hoverstad and Casey Overcash launch the stream.

“It’s not something that we’re faking,” said Hoverstad, the agency’s operations and project manager. “Our clients can see what we’re saying about industry trends. The same information that we’re taking to Periscope, we’re taking to our clients.”

In their first month, the marketing agency has cultivated a following of over 60 viewers for each livestream, with an additional 10 to 40 people going back and watching the stream after it ends.

But using the app comes with caveats. CEO Brian Onorio said you need to go in with a game plan. This is live, after all.

“This is raw and it’s supposed to be raw,” he said. “You need to prepare.”

Martin Brossman, a Raleigh-based social media consultant, said he’s starting to see younger entrepreneurs using the app for business.

In his social media course in the N.C. State Technology Training Solutions program, he stresses awareness and rapid reflexes when content appears. For example, Brossman says, what if a celebrity walks into your establishment? Will you just be caught starstruck, or will you be quick enough to document it?

This is a challenge for a lot of his students at first.

“That’s a real problem with small businesses because they need to develop new habits to think like a reporter all the time,” he said. “But most are not developing the behavior fast enough to get the content.”

But the app comes with benefits. With content that only lives for 24 hours at a time, the app creates a sense of urgency among potential clients and customers.

“It really has an ability to have someone give me a connection at a new level and this is important,” Brossman said. “In business, these connections lead to the best business.”

Noble McKenzie said he’s using the app to connect people with the musicians and brands he represents. McKenzie works in the artists and repertoire division at Hazardous Records in Raleigh. Sometimes, when he is on a set for his clients’ music videos, he’ll stream some behind-the-scenes exclusives for the musician’s fanbase.

“We are a generation of people who want things now,” he said. “Otherwise, we move on to find them someplace else.”

That’s what so great about Periscope, McKenzie said. It meets that sense of urgency that millennials crave.

“This is a whole new set of business owners, marketers, bloggers that may never have found me if not for my being on Periscope,” he said.

Tips for using Periscope

Don’t wait. Just start: “Some times people wait to see people use it to see if they want to use it. I would say to start utilizing the service. See what’s best for your personal brand. Do some trial and error,” says Jennifer Hoverstad of O3 Creative Agency.

Think about liability risk: “If you had a celebrity on your site, and you acted as though they endorsed you, and they don’t, you could have a big liability,” social media consultant Martin Brossman said.

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