Using Periscope for Business

One trend in social media is that the bigger social media sites are buying smaller, more niche-type sites.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, reportedly made a bid for SnapChat, etc.

Then there’s Periscope, a live video streaming app that was purchased by Twitter in March. It’s a niche app that has fascinated me and I have been trying to see how to make it work for the independent tire dealer.

It’s been thought that Twitter purchased Periscope to contend with Instagram. Whatever the reasoning, the platform has taken off and there are uses for Periscope both personally and professionally.

I have done research on the subject and came across this Business2Community article that details some of the professional uses: product videos, live Q&A, focus groups and professional “How Tos” are all detailed.

For the shop owner, I think professional “How Tos” and product videos could be a great way to use this live video platform. If you have a new tire line, why not broadcast some of the features, the way it looks, the benefits, etc.? We often hear that this age of consumer does research online before making a purchase. Why not give the people what they want and present this information in a way that they want to consume it?

This could work for the demonstration videos as well. A shop could walk customers through checking oil or tire pressure. These are simple things everyone should know how to do, but there are probably some of your customers — and potential customers — who do not.

You also can incorporate this live video streaming with other promotions or social media campaigns you are running. For instance, do you ever have any customer appreciation raffles at the shop? You could host a Periscope broadcast when you announce the winner. This shows transparency when you do pull the winning ticket and it also allows people to be involved virtually.

Since this platform launched, I have been on the lookout for uses of this live video streaming in our industry. I wanted to see how it was being used and was waiting for the day I came across it. Good things happen to those who wait. I came across Frank Leutz, owner of Chandler, Ariz.-based Desert Car Care, Twitter account @UrMechanic that was using Periscope to showcase a barbeque.

It was simple. It was something that probably a lot of shops do out there: hosting an employee appreciation meal. As the employees enjoyed their delicious-looking food, I was part of the occasion, but from the comfort of my desk chair in the Tire Business office in Akron. I “traveled” around with Frank as he showed off his employees and as he walked through the different bays of the shop. I got a full tour of what was happening at Desert Car Care that day, and it was great.

I reached out to Frank and asked him about Periscope and why he decided to get involved.

“I think our industry has a very difficult time relating to one of the most powerful segments and one of the most powerful demographics, and that is the Millennial,” he explained.

“We’re kind of stuck in this mode of conventional advertising and branding and we haven’t really done a good job on social media.”

He can see the attitude that a shop posts something on a social media platform and then it’s done: they participated and that’s it. However, that is not all that needs to be done.

With Periscope, he said it was a natural progression because he had been on Twitter for a long time. While he’s on other sites, Twitter is his main platform.

“When Periscope launched, it was two months where I stood there, biting my nails, waiting for it to be ready for the Android,” Frank said, since it launched first for iOS (iPhone, etc. products).

He said he knew it was going to be awesome from the get go. He had done some video work in the past, but this was a simple way to live broadcast right from his phone. And most importantly, it presented an opportunity to engage.

“We could take this platform and bring people to the culture of not only Desert Car Care…but of a mechanic,” Frank said.

With that, the videos could execute advice — such as money-saving tips — for its audience. As of July 17, Frank has done 90 broadcasts. He started using the platform about six or seven weeks ago.

He eventually plans to repurpose the videos on other channels.

This app definitely has given another way to reach consumers in a cutting-edge way.

I spoke with Frank for a while about social media and the independent tire industry. Stay tuned to this social media blog series for more of what he had to say, including an initiative to help other shops get involved on social media.

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