In The Moment - Using Periscope To Engage

Mark Payne MP

Full disclosure I live in Melbourne, so my twitter stream is full of Melbourne organisations that I'm interested in. Every now and then I notice that the State Library of Victoria was doing quick live video interviews with their staff through the medium of the new video broadcasting app Periscope. Periscope has been with us for a while now and besides the original hoohar for its launch it never seems to find a good home in the media landscape. This is where the State Library of Victoria comes in, for some reason the way they go about using the technology feels effortless, authentic, fun and adds to the overall experience of engaging with the Library without being in the space.

This blog post isn't going to be the be all and end all of how to use Periscope, but I do want to review how they've done it quite well. I think it's an important tool which could be a great part of a content strategy and, as a treat, I also have a behind the scenes interview with one of the staff from the State Library of Victoria who offers us some insights you might be able to take away for your own play in the live broadcast arena.

How they prime the audience.

Most of the engagement starts from social media. The way Periscope works is you are either notified following the broadcaster on twitter as a tweet, or you're following them through the application and get notification by the app.

Below is a great example of how the State Library of Victoria set up their audience to know a broadcast is about to happen and how they managed that as a work flow.

It's short, clear and gives a good amount of time for the audience to download the application or to find a bit of time to watch the broadcast (they can also replay a broadcast for up to 24 hrs).

When they were ready they used the notify feature in Periscope to broadcast to twitter a message saying they were LIVE with a link to the stream. What’s interesting is that people who don’t have the app can watch the stream via their desktop but can only comment / ask questions with the app.

Once they were done with the broadcast they also supplied a link to a related blog article which kept the audience interested to find out more. All up it was really engaging and while I might be a huge archive nerd, fun to watch really smart people talking passionately about their trade.

I was really fortunate to have a contact, Suzanne Conkas, in the State Library of Victoria who was kind enough to lend me some time for a Google Hangout to chat about how they integrate Periscope into their digital world.

Mark - Hola Suzanne, firstly let's start with your role in the library.

Suzanne - I am a Digital & Mobile Application Designer working at the State Library of Victoria.

Mark - What do you do as part of your Periscope activities?

Suzanne - I'm the camera woman :P and I help direct people on what makes a good shot, make sure they are standing close enough together to get them in frame etc.

Mark - What planning goes into what everyone will say when you’re "on air"?

Suzanne - Usually we have two people talking to each other in front of the camera so it feels more like a natural conversation.

Sarah who is the social media manager here, asks a few initial questions of the person she’s interviewing to figure out what the key points will be then we do a quick run through of where we might walk through a space, what the camera angles will be and also make sure the person who is being filmed knows what the process is.

I usually have a hand gesture for 'someone has a question' and then I can read the question out loud for them to answer. Sarah also often reiterates the topic of the live stream part way through the stream for people who might have just joined us and encourages them to ask questions.

Mark - How has the library audience responded to the streaming from Periscope, do they seem to like it?

Suzanne - Yeah it seems pretty popular, it's difficult to tell currently on Periscope where the audience comes from. A lot of it comes from people who aren't a target audience but people from overseas who see it in their top lists (she is referring to within the application) but people do enjoy learning more about our process and our collections, but the fact that there are people from overseas looking means we’re potentially increasing our value as a tourist destination in terms of tourism too.

Mark - Any tips for first timers?

Suzanne - It helps to make people feel more comfortable by having two people have a conversation with each other rather than making them talk directly to the camera, especially if they are shy or nervous.

Doing a run through of what you are going to talk about and where you are going to film is really helpful, as well as making sure to plan when the end is going to be. If you are filming make sure to keep as steady as possible to avoid camera shake. You might also want to invest in a gimbal to help keep it steady. Also make sure you know how to end the recording! It’s not very intuitive to do and can make the stream end awkwardly.

There will probably be trolls posting inappropriate comments so be aware of that - you can either ignore them, block them, or you can make it so only people who follow you can comment. Aaand, you can record in landscape now which is a new feature and close ups if you are talking about an object.

Pick a good time of day to do it, like just after lunch but if it's a nice sunny day people probably won't be wanting to look at Periscope and will be out and about, keep a record of stats to see when your most active times are.

Mark - These are great, Thank you so much Suzanne, I really look forward to watching more from the State Library of Victoria & your amazing camera work :) How can people find out when you're doing Periscope again?

Suzanne - You can follow us on twitter at @library_vic or follow us on Periscope for push notifications :)

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