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August 9, 2016

Periscope 101: How to Use it for Business

Periscope is the hot new trending app – for business and personal users. It may seem overwhelming to master one more app, but it’s actually really easy to get started, and you may even find yourself enjoying you-are-there views of events like political conventions or music concerts and smaller moments like sunsets, seaside walks, or even personal broadcasts by individuals talking about issues, problems, or topics important to them. What’s more, once you get the hang of Periscope, you can broadcast, too!

Get the Periscope App

Download the Periscope app and set up your account on your Smartphone. You can login with your Twitter account or set up an account independent of any other social media accounts you have. If you login with your Twitter account, your Twitter ID, avi, and bio are ported right over; the sign-up menu also offers you the opportunity to automatically follow your Twitter followers who also have Periscope accounts.

The Home Screen

The home screen on Periscope shows your newsfeed. You’ll find it through the TV set icon on the bottom navigation bar on your screen. This main home screen is also where you’ll tap icons to see who’s live on Periscope, launch your own broadcast, and see your friends, trends, and who you’re following on Twitter.

From the main screen, you can play the highlights from your feed or scroll down for a list of the newest content. In some cases, you’ll notice that a content tile has a descriptive label – featured, arts, culture, politics, etc. Each tile has a ‘cover shot,’ plus a title, time stamp (to tell you how long the video is), author, and a notation about how long ago the video was posted. Tap the tile to open the video.

You’ll see an avi and name, similar to Twitter, along with a blue check for verified accounts, if applicable. Tap on the Share (left bottom) to share the content on your own social media network: Twitter, Facebook, or copy the link to something else. Tap Hide Chat (right bottom) to start the video without any accompanying chat (hit pause on the video to slide that home screen back and tap Show Chat if you want chat back).

Tap Play and you’ll get the whole broadcast, as it happened. You’ll see little popups when viewers join the broadcast, submit comments or favorite it with hearts, which bubble up from the right. It sounds ridiculously intrusive, annoying and distracting, but it really isn’t.

If there’s a particular part of the broadcast you want to see, tap and hold your finger on the video. The screen shrinks and you’ll have your finger on a “zipper” that moves forward and back through the broadcast as you slide your finger left or right. Want to move more precisely? Slide your finger up and down.

Who’s Live on Periscope?

To see who’s broadcasting live on Periscope, tap the globe on the bottom nav bar on the home screen. You can see who’s live by Map or by List.

Map is cool because the part of the world where the sun has already set is shaded. There are red circles where there are Periscope broadcasters, and the number inside the circle tells you how many there are. Tap a red circle and a list of tiles comes up, just like the home screen, except they have a red LIVE label. Tapping a live broadcast brings up the video, user, location, and a small map banner. Scroll down for a total number of viewers, followed by a list. Again, you have the Share and Hide/Show Chat options. Tap on any of the viewers to see their account info.

You can also see who’s live on Periscope by List. Each tile has changing screenshots, a title avi. Tap the video to join the broadcast. The upper part of the screen is the video, the lower part displays the joins, comments, and hearts. If you like what you’re looking at, there’s a + sign to follow that user.

This is a powerful tool because you’ll want to live broadcast when your users are most active online. Keep an eye out for complementary Periscope users — follow their accounts and they may follow yours too; just like any other social media networking, you’ll need to spend some time building your list of folks you follow, and your followers.

Broadcast Yourself

Back to the home screen to launch your own broadcast. Choose the camera icon from the bottom nav bar. The Start Broadcast screen comes up and you can tap the buttons to enable your camera, microphone, and location (you can hide your location).

The camera will initialize; the keyboard appears so that you can title your broadcast (be really clear and descriptive so people know what you’re broadcasting), and then just tap Start Broadcast to begin. You’ll see yourself in “selfie” mode. Make sure the lighting is adequate, and depending on the location or purpose of your broadcast, that the surrounding noise isn’t too loud either, making it hard for folks to hear you.

The first arrow icon is location, the second padlock makes the broadcast private, and the third restricts chat to only your followers (or not). The Twitter icon is automatically illuminated so that your broadcast automatically goes out on your Twitter feed too; tap it once to sever the connection to Twitter.

Your Profile

Going back to the main screen one more time, the icon of three people on the bottom right highlights the Periscope users who are trending right now. There’s a Find My Friends icon so that you can sync the app with your address book. You can also find featured feeds, noteworthy users, and Periscope users you also already follow on Twitter.

Tap the magnifying glass on the upper left to search for people you know or want to follow. Tap the person icon on the upper right to see your own profile – your username, avi, and bio. You can edit your profile using the Edit function through the upper right.

Periscope is an app that’s pretty intuitive for new users, both individuals and businesses. Common uses include broadcasts of “behind the scenes” looks at business planning, manufacturing, or design sessions, as well as product demos, Q&A sessions, or “followers-only” special events. After becoming comfortable with navigating the primary screens, you’ll be ready to launch your own broadcast — a unique and effective way to reach out and connect with friends old and new, as well as business customers and networking opportunities.


Ben Shepardson is the founder of NoStop Content, a boutique content agency that provides fantastic content to webmasters worldwide.