Lights, Camera, Action! Is your Winery Ready for Periscope?

By: Kathy Kelley and Jeff Hyde, professor of agricultural economics

For a number of years, we have worked on various research projects together, including how consumers use social media to connect with agri businesses.  To help us with this work, we often “try out” and “test” new social medial tools to better understand the mechanics and “best uses.”

For example, in April 2012, when businesses started using Pinterest to host contests, a few of us in Extension created a Pinterest strawberry recipe contest (http://bit.ly/1YBN29Y).  We learned a fair bit about using Pinterest in this manner, especially how important it is inform customers, followers, Facebook friends, etc. that you have begun to use a new social media tool and the benefits it provides.

This past week, we, along with the help of our videographer, senior extension associate, Sarah Cornelisse, tested out a newer app called Periscope (periscope.tv), which was launched in March 2015.   For 10-minutes, we talked about “Driving traffic to winery tasting rooms,” during which 35 Periscope users watched our live segment, and we had at least three Periscope users who replayed the broadcast.

The intent of the tool, according to the blog, is to “let people discover the world through someone else’s eyes” (http://bit.ly/1CcAkkl) by allowing them to witness live events and experiences – anywhere in the world.  The videos you shoot can be:

  • shared via Twitter, Facebook, or accessed through a link you can copy, for 24 hours – then they are automatically deleted
  • saved to your smartphone, tablet, or other device’s camera roll, which can then be uploaded to social media accounts and/or your tasting room’s website.

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In addition to the Periscope help center (https://help.periscope.tv), the following site provides information on how to use the tool along with several screenshots: http://bit.ly/1KQ7vlB.

Why might you consider using Periscope in your business?

There are already so many different social media tools, and a few are well established with substantial followings, so why would you want to use Periscope? Here are a few ways that Periscope could offer a potential advantage over a few other social media tools:

  • Video can be posted on YouTube, but viewers can only post questions in textboxes, then it is up to the presenter to type a response, or create another video that answers the question, and the viewer must then revisit the site to learn their answer. Periscope allows broadcasters to respond to questions viewers post during the live broadcast.
  • As of July 28, 2015, there were “1.49 billion monthly active” Facebook users (http://bit.ly/1qVayhl), while in the beginning of August 2015 there were only 10 million Periscope accounts, some of which “are not necessarily ‘active’” (http://on.recode.net/1L6BkjI). The number of accounts is certainly something to be aware of; however, Twitter acquired Periscope in March, before its launch, and, according to one industry person, “Twitter owns real-time and there is nothing more real-time and engaging than live video” (http://read.bi/1EHhK4h).

What will you need for a Periscope broadcast?

  • A smartphone, tablet, or iPod. As of today, there are some third-party websites that allow you to view live and post-recorded videos on your computer (for example: onperiscope.com), and other Periscope users have posted instructions on how to download the tool to a PC, but there is not designated Mac/PC app or program.
  • The free app, which you can download either from iTunes or Google Play, depending on whether your device is an Android or iOS.
  • A Periscope account, which you can create by either signing up through Twitter or by using your phone number. If you signup using your Twitter account, Periscope will “suggest people to follow based on your Twitter social graph” (http://bit.ly/1Fa3plh).  After we signed up using our Twitter accounts, we were alerted to all those who we follow on Twitter and who also had a Periscope account.  With just a click, we were able to “follow” each other.  We were also notified of Periscope users who were the “most loved,” meaning that viewers had given the most “hearts,” which is similar to Facebook “likes” and are awarded by viewers during live public broadcasts and replays (http://bit.ly/1NMa2xO).

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  • A dependable WiFi connection – if one is not available, then a good 3G/4G connection can be used; however, you will need to watch your data usage. According to one source, a three-minute Periscope broadcast used 20-megabytes (MB) of data (http://fus.in/1KzNZoI), which is only 1/100 of a 2-gigabyte (GB) plan.  However, based on this usage, a 10-minute broadcast may use 200 MB (1/10 of a 2GB plan), which, along with other usage, cold put you near or over your monthly data plan.
  • A tripod or stand for your device that will position it perpendicular to the ground. Some smartphone and tablet cases allow the device to be propped up at a 90-degree angle, which is what you want for a broadcast.  Otherwise you may need to look down at the device’s camera.  Or, if you want to walk through your vineyard and shoot footage, make sure that either you or your videographer are able to hold the camera as steady as possible.

An outline of what you will talk about.   This can help you with staying on track and serve as a prompt if you forget what you intended to discuss.  We planned for a four-question interview, in addition to a brief introduction, to fill the 10-minute segment.   The four questions were:

  • Why did you feel it was so important to focus on the winery tasting room?
  • You’ve done a lot of research on how wineries can effectively use social media.  Can you give us some examples of how social media tools can be used to inform consumers about the tasting room?
  • What activities or events might a tasting room offer to attract consumers?
  • With all the possible options you’ve discussed today, how can a tasting room manager decide which tools might work best for them?

As you can see, they were quite conversational in nature, which helped keep the mood light, put us at ease, and hopefully made it more enjoyable for our viewers.

Some tips we feel might be helpful for others who use the tool for the first time:

  • When setting up your Periscope account, and before you shoot your first video, enable “autosave broadcasts” so that your video will save directly to your device’s camera roll. By turning this feature on, you will save yourself from being disappointed if your videographer does not click “save to camera roll” right after you end the broadcast.  Otherwise your broadcast will only be available for 24 hours.   If you forget to do either, you can use Quicktime on a Mac computer to record a replay on your iPhone/iPad/iPod (http://bit.ly/1QGLg3h).

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  • We only planned for a 10-minute broadcast. This time went very quickly, and our videographer did a countdown and signaled us when we had four and then two minutes left.  However, it would have been very helpful to have had a timer or clock that we could have looked at to better help us with our timing.
  • Though both of us were holding papers, Jeff’s with the questions he was going to ask and Kathy’s with key items to include in responses, it would have been easier to have positioned a flipchart with this information behind the videographer. It was a bit awkward looking down at the paper and looking for the information/question to read.
  • Decide how you will handle questions that viewers may post or tweet during your broadcast. This might be something that your videographer could handle.  Either they could read the question, check to make sure that their voice can be heard or rephrase the question for viewers, or position your device’s screen so that you can see the questions “stream” from the bottom of the screen.
  • Consider your backdrop. It might make sense that some of your broadcasts would take place in the tasting room, barrel room, or vineyard, so consider how you could incorporate your logo, your website address, twitter handle, etc. into the broadcast.  If you are shooting in the barrel room, for example, pan to a barrel engraved with your business’s name.  If you are in a vineyard and there isn’t a sign with your business’s name among the vines, create a temporary sign that also includes your contact information that you can either holdup or that can be the closing image.

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  • Pre-event campaigns, promoted through social media and other channels, will help inform potential viewers about the broadcast, but a post-event promotional plan will also be useful. Save the recording and then refer to it on your website or via social media posts with a teaser, such as “What is the best way to store wine?  Watch this video to learn more.”  What wine consumer wouldn’t want to view this information?
  • At the end of the broadcast, restate the main points discussed during the broadcast. Viewers may find this to be very useful, especially if the broadcaster covers a variety of topics, is lengthy, or if the information presented is only shared verbally.

Overall, our experience was positive.  Though Periscope is a new tool and consumers are still learning about its usefulness, we plan to continue to explore how businesses can use the app to engage and build relationships with audiences.  Stay tuned for our next broadcast – we’ll announce our next event through Penn State Enology and Viticulture social media and email outlets.

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