There's always something new.
Living in the Internet age, there's always a new platform, fad or trend that everyone is talking about. But how can you know which of these trends would actually be right to use for your business?
Today, we will be examining podcasts and Periscope, Twitter's live-streaming platform.
Podcasting has been around for years. Started as an offshoot of radio, it went through a major resurgence, partially thanks to the popularity of the NPR series Serial. Now there are hundreds of thousands of podcasts for businesspeople and consumers alike, covering a range of topics, from politics to wine to law.
The Smart Passive Income, a podcast about how to make passive income from online businesses, is one of the top-ranked business podcasts on iTunes and has been featured in the New York Times. Listeners tune in every week to hear host Pat Flynn's ideas on how to make money while only working a few hours a week.
Larger corporations, like SunTrust Bank, host podcasts discussing the day-to-day uses of their services. Suntrust has published 20 5-minute long podcasts discussing everyday personal finance questions like "My Biggest Money Mistake" and "Saving for a Baby."
Of course, there is a flip-side to podcasts. They can require more time to maintain than blogs. They are also more difficult to stumble across. Customers have to be searching for a podcast in your business area, or find the podcast featured on your website.
So, should your business start a podcast?
The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors, including the amount of time you have available for podcast creation and editing and whether or not your product/service can be compellingly discussed in an audio format. We definitely don't recommend that you discount podcasts as an option - just be sure it's right for your business before you make the commitment.
Periscope is a much more recent phenomenon than podcasts, having only been launched in March 2015. But it is currently the No. 1 fastest-growing social network. Forty years' worth of content is watched every day on Periscope. That crazy fact alone is enough to make it worthy of consideration.
Periscope is a live-streaming video mobile app owned by Twitter. Viewers can tune into your live-stream from anywhere in the world. They can also leave comments or ask questions during the live-stream, which you can see and answer while broadcasting.
Instagram coach and retailer Sue Zimmerman consistently uses Periscope to answer questions about hashtags, demonstrate how to use her products or show the behind-the-scenes activities of her business. As a social-media guru, she doesn't have the time to reach out to anyone who mentions her on social media. Periscope provides a great way for her to address thousands of people at once.
500 Startups, an organization funding and supporting start-up companies all over the world, hosted a Periscope walking viewers through their offices. This live-stream gave the CEO a chance to show his personality and answers questions from donors and potential startup partners.
Periscope is an amazing tool for a business, since it requires so little time to produce. The videos are streamed live, so there is no script or editing time. They are shot on mobile devices, so even small businesses or freelancers without production equipment can join in.
The more risky side to Periscope is the same thing that makes it such a great tool: it is live. If you misspeak or something unexpected happens in the background of your video, it cannot be edited out.
So, should your business use Periscope?
Yes - if it serves a purpose.
If you have something cool or useful to show your viewers, Periscope is a great tool. If you want to show customers the human side of a larger business, you can take your users behind the scenes of your office. If you are a smaller business, you can gain exposure by demonstrating your products or answering questions. Enter the platform with a goal to complete, and Periscope could be perfect for your business.