5 Critical things you need to know about Periscope now


By Kiki Schirr, {grow} Contributing Columnist

geoff golberg


This month Twitter started autoplaying Periscope streams within its feed. While some marketers had previously been able to overlook the importance of livestreaming apps like Periscope, any brand with a strong Twitter presence is scurrying to catch up … As am I! At the beginning of the week I had less than 10,000 “hearts” on Periscope, while popular people and brands tend to have more than a million.

So in anticipation of writing a best practices article for brands approaching Periscope, I interviewed Geoff Golberg. Geoff is one of the most famous livestreamers, with a following on Meerkat, Periscope, and Blab of over 40,000 people. On Periscope, Geoff has 6.3 million hearts. Here are some key tips for using Periscope in combination with Twitter.

1. Don’t use Periscope to broadcast, use it to interact

How has being famous on live streaming channels changed your life?

I don’t think of myself as being famous, rather I think of myself as being a student. My life is the same as it was before I began live streaming.

Here’s the reality check: if you weren’t famous before live streaming, chances are live streaming won’t make you famous. When words like ‘star,’ ‘expert’ and ‘influencer’ become commonplace — especially in a nascent space — they’re effectively rendered meaningless. I am focused on learning, not becoming famous.

…perhaps these could be discouraging words when approaching Periscope for the first time, but it is sound advice. Even with 6.3 million hearts, Geoff sees Periscope not simply as a livelihood or a platform, but a method of learning and interacting. Use live streaming for interaction with your customers, not as a platform from which to shout your message!

2. Periscope is going mainstream

How do you think will Periscope change with Twitter autoplay?

Twitter autoplay will prove to be a great user acquisition tool for Periscope. More broadly, it will push live mobile participatory video to the mainstream.

Discovery of streams via Twitter is now frictionless — it no longer requires leaving Twitter — and we’ll see an influx of brands joining Periscope and using it more actively. The days of replays lasting only 24 hours are likely numbered, as dead Periscope stream embeds aren’t a good look on Twitter profiles and in the feed.

The ephemeral nature of Periscope is probably an obstacle for brands today. But if you’re able to provide a livestream catalogue of videos, the doors will swing open for many new applications of the technology. Keep an eye on this development!

3. Periscope’s live audience hops on slowly

When I set about testing Periscope’s Twitter autoplay for myself, I noticed a problem right away. Although the broadcast starts immediately for Twitter, the live audience doesn’t hop on for 3-6 seconds, and will miss any introduction you provide.

A solution: Title cards.

For example, if your topic for the day is how to use a new type of camera, set one of the cameras on top of a pre-printed sign that says, “How to Use the DCS-12 Camera like a Pro.” Be sure to center the title card so you can view the topic in the available Twitter viewing area.

Which leads me to the next point:

4. Twitter chops off the top and bottom! 

A real limitation is that Twitter squares your “broadcast” so what you see may not be what the world sees. Keep the action and all relevant information right in the middle of your screen. That also means ignoring the space that is visible when titling your Periscope (the top portion), and centering your image even though only the top of it will be visible to you.

5. Twitter displays the final shot, so make it good

Ending a Periscope session involves dragging the screen downward and tapping a button, so many people concentrate on the action, and not the face that they’re making when doing so. Try to smile for the camera as you end your Periscope, so that the final still image that Twitter displays is attractive. The autoplay will not start until the user lingers on your tweet, so the title card that you’ve carefully prepared will not be the first image seen.

Smile for that camera!

Stop by the comment section and discuss any other best practices that you’ve come up with since the Twitter autoplay feature began.


Kiki Schirr is a cofounder of the fitness app Fittr, and also does the company’s marketing. She is the author of the The Product Hunt Manual and Tech Doodles. You can find her on Twitter, or at her brand-new (please don’t judge) website.

Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and UlyssesThityOne


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