The Ultimate Guide to Periscope

the ultimate guide to Periscope

Periscope, the live streaming video mobile app, cemented its position as one of the top social media networks when it was named the, “Apple App Store’s 2015 App of the Year”, an honor the company called, “a delightful surprise”.

While the team behind Periscope may have been surprised, a look at the numbers reveals the app’s meteoric rise: a mere four months after its launch on March 26, 2015, the app boasted 10 million active accounts and 2 million users.

Here at Small Business Trends, we’ve monitored the growth of Periscope closely. The easy-to-use app is a perfect fit for small businesses as it enables them to connect intimately with a wide audience so people can learn more about your offerings while providing, and promoting your, value.

Whether you’ve used the app yet or not, we’d like to help you get the most out of what it offers. To that end, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to Periscope below.

The Ultimate Guide To Periscope

If you’re new to Periscope, we recommend clicking here to begin your journey. At the other end of that link, you’ll find a step-by-step guide to using the app including:

  • Signing in;
  • Tabs;
  • Settings;
  • Watching a broadcast; and
  • Sending a broadcast.

As thorough as that guide may be, there have been many enhancements to the app since it was published. Here’s a highlight on how to use Periscope and some of the most noteworthy new features:

Landscape Mode

Back in September 2015, Periscope introduced landscape mode. You see, up until then you could only broadcast in portrait mode, which limited the breadth of your audience’s view. With landscape mode, your stage grew, as did the possibilities.

Periscope Landscape mode

Web Profiles for Broadcasters

In September 2015, Periscope introduced web profiles. These handy pages make it much easier to find the recent broadcasts of those you follow. Instead of searching for them in the app, they’re compiled in one place.

Periscope Web Profiles

Watch Periscope on Apple TV

October 2015 saw the introduction of Periscope to Apple TV. Now you can watch your favorite broadcasters, or discover new ones, in the comfort of your home theater.

Discover Replays on Periscope’s Global Map and Skip Ahead

When Periscope was first introduced, the app’s map enabled you to discover live broadcasts happening across the globe. In November 2015, the team enhanced the map so you could find replays of recent broadcasts as well.

Periscope Global Map

At the same time, the team introduced “skip ahead”, a feature that enables you to move forward in a replay more quickly.

Periscope Broadcasts Embedded In Twitter Stream

While Periscope had always offered the ability to announce a broadcast within a user’s Twitter stream, watchers had to click on a link that opened Periscope to watch. Early January 2016 saw an enhancement to that feature: the ability to watch a Periscope broadcast directly in a broadcaster’s stream without having to leave Twitter.

Periscope Connects to GoPro Cameras

Later in January 2016, Periscope introduced the ability to connect with and stream from GoPro cameras live. For those unfamiliar with GoPro, these light cameras were created to film from a broadcaster’s point of view. Harnesses are available so they can be attached to a car, your body and even a dog. Adding this capability enabled broadcasters to include these thrilling views to their repertoire.

Periscope connects to GoPro

Periscope Sketch

In April 2016, Periscope introduced sketch, the ability to draw on the screen during broadcasts. Sketches are visible for a few seconds and then disappear, making room for the broadcaster’s next piece of art.

Periscope Sketch

Periscope Connects to a Drone

In May 2016, Periscope added the ability to broadcast from a drone camera. Currently available for iOS devices only, this feature introduces breathtaking possibilities.

Periscope connects to a drone

What’s Next?

Not ones to rest on their laurels, the members of the Periscope team have more enhancements in the works including broadcast search and the ability to save your broadcasts beyond 24 hours.

To stay abreast of what’s coming, keep an eye on the Periscope blog. To learn how to use new features, visit Periscope’s Help Center.

Using Periscope to Promote Your Business or Create One

Nothing attracts marketers more than a hot social network like Periscope. The equation is simple: more people = more exposure = higher odds of reaching your prospects with targeted messages.

As noted above, Periscope fits small business marketing to a tee. The cost is low and the potential for return is high – a great ratio for any small business.

In addition, Periscope is personal; it was made to encourage and build a relationship between broadcaster and watcher. This app is where your personality can shine, differentiating you from your competition both big and small.

How can you use Periscope to promote your business? Here are a few ideas:

  • Behind the scene videos: give your watchers a peek into interesting aspects of your business – how a product is made, how you provide a particular service. The more your show, the more trust and authority you’ll build and both of those lead to sales.
  • Q&A sessions: nothing builds trust and authority better than providing a taste of the value your products and services offer. Whet your prospect’s appetite and they’ll come back for more. One word of advice: keep these broadcasts focused as wandering off topic can turn away viewers who came to learn a certain thing. If there are off-topic questions, compliment the viewer and promise that you’ll do a Q&A session on that next time.
  • How-tos: another way to provide value, you can use how-to broadcasts for a variety of purposes from pre-sale product demos to after-sale “how to use” broadcasts, and process overviews that help a viewer get something done.

You can even use Periscope as the basis to create a new business. For example, Ray Garcia did just that with His company matches live streamers with people who are relocating or want to take a vacation. For a small fee, the live streamer provides tours of local sights, attractions, and lodging via Periscope so that folks are not flying blind when they plan their move or trip.

Real-World Advice on Using Periscope

With so many users, there’s a veritable legion of experienced broadcasters willing to share advice on using Periscope. Here are some tips and reflections:

  • Former University of Michigan defensive lineman Doug Cohen and his wife, Ally see Periscope as an effective way to drive engagement, the important first step in building relationships. “Engagement, along with what’s being said about you, and being memorable are the seeds that grow real results,” says Doug. “Even if we don’t convert on the spot, I’ve established a relationship. I’ve shown them an innovative, helpful side of me. If they need photography services, they’ll remember us.”
  • Angel investor Shawn Thomas uses Periscope to increase his impact. “One of the things I said to myself was when I achieve success, I would give back,” says Thomas. “If somebody asks a question, everybody on that scope gets to hear the answer and gets to benefit from that question. This helps out more than being a one-on-one mentor with somebody. Including archived replay views, I can mentor and provide experience-sharing with tens of thousands.”
  • Emmy Award-winning talk show host Mario Armstrong uses Periscope because it’s “authentic and low risk.” Armstrong notes, “Video lets you speak your truth. People see the authenticity immediately. This goes much further than words and pictures. Periscope is also low risk because we can test any content slated for a major launch on Periscope first.”
  • Josh Greenbaum, content creator, YouTuber, and aspiring fashion designer, has observed that livestreaming is the best way to reach a the Millennial audience. “Livestreaming has opened the door for different age groups to collaborate,” says Greenbaum. “I’ve been working with one of the founders of the Periscope Summit, Ryan Bell. We have differences in age, location and lifestyle, but we’re learning together through community. As this technology develops, I predict more inter-generational collaborations.”

The Legal Implications of Using Periscope

While there are many upsides to streaming video via Periscope, small businesses need to be aware of the potential legal pitfalls.

A few of the potential issues include:

  • Copyright laws are still in force during live streaming broadcasts. That includes both images and music that are protected by copyright.
  • The “Right of Publicity” gives individuals the right to refuse permission to use their likeness or voice in your broadcasts. This can be troublesome, especially if you’re broadcasting in a public place.
  • Trade secrets and proprietary information, both yours and others, are protected and should not be included in your broadcasts. Doing so it exposes you to unnecessary risk that your small business can do without.


The marketing opportunities provided by Periscope are many. If your small business is not yet using the live streaming video mobile app, we encourage you to give it a try using the ultimate guide to Periscope above.

Periscope Photo via Shutterstock

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Matt Mansfield Matt Mansfield is the Tech Editor and SEO Specialist at Small Business Trends where he is responsible for directing and writing many of the site’s product reviews, technology how-to’s, and lists of small business resources as well as increasing the reach of our content.

3 Reactions
  1. So nice for you to come up with something like this. It is something that really needs addressing. Periscope is a new platform and people need to be familiar with it.

  2. Soo honored to be included with some other great periscopers in this very thorough guide. With so much happening in the live streaming space and things like Facebook Live, Busker, You Now, the coming YouTube Connect and more it’s so great to have an article that really captures details that are super relevant to small business. I’m a HUGE proponent of live streaming for all the reasons you stated. Small businesses you have more power in your hands then you think.

  3. Tobias Armstrong

    I had no idea that there was so much to learn when it comes to live broadcasting apps. I figured the whole premise was pretty straightforward, but this really put it all in perspective. Being able to promote businesses and have such a wide variety of tools to make it even better is really blowing me away. Thanks for sharing!

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