Everyone is talking about Periscope, but really, everyone should be thinking of it as part of a larger-scale "Peer2Peer" social market. Why? To be difficult? Not at all, it’s just that Periscope (which I LOVE) is only one of many social media platforms that have launched around the live streaming/Peer2Peer concept. And, as any good marketer knows, having a balanced understanding of your brand and making decisions that make sense for that brand are critical. So, before you rush off to jump on the Periscope bandwagon (which, by the way, I will be suggesting before the end of this article), take a moment to check out some of the other players on the social media scene.
Live streaming is not a new phenomenon; it just happens to be receiving a face-lift and a hyper-successful PR campaign simultaneously. Apps like You Now and Next Door have been working around the live streaming space for years not to mention Google Hangouts and FaceTime. The trend toward more direct access to brands, personalities and products has been in the works for a minute. I mean, anyone that has watched The Real World, Survivor, Real Housewives of Atlanta (my personal fave) or The Bachelor should have seen this coming. I mean, we’re voyeurs, you know?
The beauty behind all of this? You are real, and most of the aforementioned people/shows/brands are not. Why does this rule? Well, it means that you gain disproportionate leverage just being yourself. Pretty great, right? People tune in to reality TV to consume what they believe is real life, even if it’s well documented that that's not the case. Our fascination with the lives and habits of others is great enough to allow us to suspend our “bullshit meter” and buy into NeNe Leakes' most recent life calamity.
You see, here’s the rub. You, my friend, are an inherently interesting person. The things you do, the things you say, the Annie Woodbury School hat you wear are all facets of your personality that people (read: potential clients and partners) would love to know more about. Many business owners make the mistake of blowing off the concept of a "personal brand," when in fact it should just act as a more personal extension of your business brand.
This is where the Peer2Peer stuff comes in. Having an unedited channel, where people can drop in and see the "behind the scenes" aspect of a business they want to work with, can provide invaluable traction. Sometimes it’s nice to get a peek behind the curtain. To see who’s sending the emails, who’s prepping the photo booths and who’s riding the skateboard. It adds a level of depth to your brand that didn’t exist before, and it communicates that you’re comfortable showing a variety of perspectives of your business. When you’re at ease, so are your potential clients. Just think how much more quickly Dorothy and the Wizard might have gotten down if he hadn’t been hiding in that little closet. Right?
So, now that I’ve provided more than enough reasons for why it’s important to engage in the Peer2Peer social space, let’s take a look at some of the top players, their general user base and why you might want to jump in.
Snapchat, oh Snapchat, how much I love thee. Snapchat is easily one of my favorite social platforms in the Peer2Peer space. Why? Well, it compliments my sense of humor perfectly. I mean, where else can I take a photo or video of myself, drop an emoji on top and then draw a heart on my chest? Really, though, it’s like a self-deprecating man’s dream.
The common comment I hear about Snapchat is “oh, my kids do that but I just don’t see the point.” Right, I get it - you must have already forgotten that your kids have had an Instagram account for the last three years even though you just started one last week. You see, every time a social platform launches it follows a path of adoption. The teens and tweens are almost always the early adopters, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be that way forever. They move on and the next set of users moves in (I'm looking at you, twenty-somethings.) Before you know it, all of your friends will be sending you snaps and you’ll be behind the times. Don’t do that, get to snappin’!
(Before you call me out on a technicality, I’m going to say you’re right that Snapchat isn’t a live-streaming platform; at least not yet. Many marketers smarter than me are putting their money on Snapchat winning the live-streaming war in the long run due to their insane user base and ability to pivot on the fly. We’ll have to wait and see.)
Periscope vs. Meerkat
As I mentioned previously, I am a huge fan of Periscope. I have to admit, I was on the Meerkat platform the weekend it exploded within the tech scene at SxSW. It was fascinating to watch something bubble up out of nowhere. I say nowhere because I hadn't been paying attention to the Peer2Peer space but you know these things don’t happen overnight. (Actually, my phone’s camera was broken so I was kind of lollygagging on the sidelines.)
I loved the scrappiness the Meerkat team embodied. They were everywhere, they were hustling and they seemed to be having a blast. I’m going on record as saying that I think both the Meerkat and Periscope platforms are really cool but I did ultimately make the choice to put my focus on Periscope. Why? My primary reason was being able to make use of the base I had already built on Twitter. With the acquisition of Periscope by Twitter, a lot of things changed for Meerkat and I wasn’t sure they’d make it through so I placed my bet with Periscope.
It’s only fair to say that I still use Meerkat and think those guys have a long bright future in front of them. For me it was a decision predicated on time management and scale. I can’t be everywhere so I’ll be where I see the greatest potential.
Blab is a network that I literally stumbled on in the last two weeks and I’m kind of blown away. If there’s a contender for a “sleeper platform” to win it all, Blab is a contender. Blab has a very unique structure and seems to embody the value of community within the Peer2Peer space. Not only can you include multiple people on a stream, but you can also export the audio and video independently. All of this makes Blab a great place to connect with your potential tribe, and it's CRAZY EASY to turn that Blab into content for your podcast, white papers, video channels and any other creative way you choose to repurpose your marketing efforts.
Facebook and Google
I’d be totally blowing it if I didn’t mention the possibility that these two juggernauts will implode the Peer2Peer space. I’ve already heard of something called Facebook Live being tested, although I haven’t participated in any way. With Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and the rumored eyeballs on Snapchat it’s plain to see they have no intention of disappearing quietly. Google has already spent years (and millions) trying to make their On-Air Hangouts go big. Stay on the lookout for both of these companies' innovations as the live-streaming space continues to grow, I have a feeling we’re all in for an upset.
If you enjoyed this article and are interested in bringing your brand or business into the live-streaming Peer2Peer space, be sure to check back for my next post “How to Periscope your Wedding Biz to Success,” where I’ll go into specific examples of how wedding and events industry businesses can create unique opportunities for themselves in the Peer2Peer space.
In the meantime, for more tips, tricks and marketing hustle, follow me everywhere @PatrickRife on
Patrick Rife is the co-founder and co-owner of Pixilated Photo Booth, as well as the co-founder of Startup Soiree, a monthly "founders only" meetup of business owners and innovators. You can contact him directly via email, and grab a complimentary copy of the Pixilated E-Book "How to use a Photo Booth to Promote Your Brand."