It was “cold” in Santa Monica this weekend, so I decided to stay in, work on client business, and immerse myself in the new Periscope app. After holding my own broadcasts, and joining many others, I’ve compiled this list of best practices for using the live-streaming service.

Getting Started

If it’s your first time using the app, start a broadcast and take time to click around and play with the app. Also, take time to join some other broadcasts to get a feel for the user experience. When you start holding your own broadcasts, you’ll want to fully understand the features available to you and the features that others can utilize when they join your broadcast.

Before clicking “Start Broadcast,” you’ll see a screen like the one below. This is where you’ll enter the title for your session. (It’s difficult to see, but it’s the section at the top that says “What are you seeing now?”) Make the title engaging and interesting. Try using a call-to-action. If you’re interviewing or talking with someone, include their Twitter handle. If your broadcast is related to an event, use the event hashtag in the title. Have something of value to share with viewers, or else you’ll be the only one in your broadcast. (Note: “Something of value” also means have something entertaining.)

Best Practices for Using Periscope

Look at the image above again. Notice the four icons above the “Start Broadcast” button. The one on the far left is for location. I highly suggest enabling this so people can see where you are broadcasting from. Don’t worry, this location feature only shows the region you are in, not the exact address. The second icon is for a private broadcast. The third icon is to edit chat options. When this icon is gray, it means that everybody can chat. When it is white, only users that you follow can chat. If you’re looking for a lot of viewers, I believe this icon should be gray so that you can maximize engagement. The final icon, on the far right, is for Twitter posts. When this icon is white, a tweet will automatically post to your account, promoting the broadcast. When this icon is gray, the tweet will NOT post to your account, meaning that viewers will only see it when they are in the Periscope app. I definitely suggest making this icon white since it increases the visibility of your broadcast.


The Introduction

Once your broadcast has started, you want to keep people engaged. I learned a lot from watching Jason Okuma‘s broadcasts this weekend.  Jason introduces himself and where he’s broadcasting from. He gives a call-to-action to share the broadcast, and what I like best is that he states the directions on how to do that (swipe right). This is a smart move. Periscope is still so new that a lot of people need instructions like this. Jason also invites his viewers to take the first minute or so to introduce themselves and where they are viewing from. Overall, Jason’s approach makes the broadcast feel warm and welcoming. It made me want to keep watching.

Best practices using periscope

Jason Okuma broadcasted from a tech launch party over the weekend.


During The Broadcast

After you’ve done the introduction, it’s time to get into the meat of your broadcast. Keep in mind that you could have new people joining it every second. To continue to make viewers feel welcome, you’ll want to provide a quick recap of your broadcast every few minutes. Restate your introduction and the purpose of the Periscope session. Then, quickly tell the viewers what you’ve already covered, and move into your next topic. Again, Jason Okuma does a great job of this.

Also, while you’re broadcasting, encourage your viewers to follow you on Twitter. State your Twitter handle, but also provide them instructions on how to follow you right now from the Periscope app. (Swipe right, click on the broadcaster’s name and profile image, then click follow.) If they follow you on Twitter, they can opt in to notifications on Periscope, which will alert them each time you start a new broadcast.

If you’re interviewing or talking with someone, be sure to share the incoming comments with them to get their feedback and reaction. Keep that person involved in the broadcast, but also keep the viewers involved by giving them shoutouts and addressing their questions. I particularly liked how Jason recognized people by name. Don’t forget to ask your viewers questions as well. Encourage them to respond with comments or hearts. For example, if you’re drinking wine (as I was in one of my broadcasts), you could ask people to comment with their favorite wine, or to recommend a specific one.

Best practices for using periscope

In one of Jason’s sessions, he interviewed Amanda Tice of Hatch Studios and relayed the incoming questions so Amanda could address them.

Don’t be afraid to start a new Periscope session if your subject matter changes. For example, Jason started one of his broadcasts from a launch party, and his title described it as so. Later on in the night, he started a new broadcast, from the same place, with the title “Meet my friends at @Evrybit!” He went on to interview the Evrybit founder. I wasn’t able to stay for the entire broadcast, so I’m not sure if this tactic brought in more viewers, but I appreciated that Jason stayed true to his title and broadcast purpose.


The Periscope Stare

I saw this happen way too many times, so I have dubbed it “The Periscope Stare.” Jason didn’t do this, but I’d rather not disclose who did. This occurs when the broadcaster is reading through the comments on his/her phone and not speaking. The broadcaster has a blank look on his/her face while deciding which comments to respond to. THIS IS BORING FOR VIEWERS. I left many sessions when I saw the broadcaster doing this.

What do the stats mean?

At the end of each broadcast, you (as the broadcaster, not the viewer) will see a screen with some stats from your session. I tried to find out exactly what these stats mean, but so far Periscope hasn’t put out anything official explaining them. The best explanation I could find is from Thomas Baekdal. I agree with Thomas. These are poor analytics right now, so I wouldn’t fully rely on them. Hopefully, we’ll see Periscope make some upgrades to these.


The Recording

Watch my broadcast from 4/26/15 on Best Practices Using Periscope:

Looking for more great tips on using Periscope?


I plan on using Periscope in the live-posting services that I currently offer. This is where companies hire me to tweet, blog and post from their event or conference. If you’re interested in these services, please contact me here.


How do YOU plan to use Periscope?