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Avoid Falling Into the Cool Marketing Tool Trap

Have you heard of Periscope? It’s become a hot topic on marketing blogs. Periscope is a new flashy app by Twitter that broadcasts a live feed from users. The feed is not saved on the app and cannot be watched later by other users. The only way to see the video is to watch it live.

Photo by: Vincent Brown

Photo by: Vincent Brown

How it Works
In the app you can choose to follow people based on who you follow on Twitter, or you can follow other popular Periscope users. When users you follow live stream, the app sends you a notification. You can also see everyone else who is live streaming on a global map. By selecting these users all over the world, you are transported live into the world they are living in that very moment.

While the concept is exciting, many users stream themselves eating breakfast, driving to work, buying groceries — mundane events that no one (even your mom) wants to watch.

Yet many companies are joining Periscope and looking for ways to use it as a marketing tool. Should you?

Probably not.

While Periscope may work well for some companies, it’s not for everyone. Because it’s only live, it’s mostly viewed by strangers around the world who happen to be using the app at the same time. Live streaming globally is probably not very productive for a local coffee shop.

If your coffee shop has regular live music or similar events and you want to try to build an audience on Periscope, go ahead and give it a try. But with any new marketing tool, it is best to ask whether the return on investment is worth the effort you put in.

Here are some things to think about as you choose your marketing mix:

Who is your target market? What medias are they using?
If you’re targeting Millennials, you might consider experimenting with Twitter and snapchat. If you’re aiming for GenX, perhaps you should focus your social media efforts on Facebook. If you’re going for Baby Boomers, don’t underestimate email.

What makes sense for your business?
Like previously stated, broadcasting live to strangers around the world is probably not effective for a small, local coffee shop (unless your coffee is good enough to fly around the world for). Maybe you want to try it for fun. But if you host several live events a week, you can also try other “stream of conscious” social media such as Twitter and snapchat to let your audience know what you’re doing in the moment. If you just want to use social media to remind your audience you exist, you might stick to Facebook, which has a slower-moving timeline.

What can you maintain?
Do you have one person dedicated to social media with no other responsibilities? Or is everyone pitching in? Often businesses try to do too much. They create an account for ever social media platform, but can’t stay up to date with everything. It’s better to run one to three platforms really well than to set up accounts on every platform and website only to abandon them for months at a time.

Consider what your business does best, and who you want to reach, then explore your options. After you have a grasp on your opportunities, choose what’s best for you. It won’t be the same for everyone!