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Periscope and Meerkat: Marketing Game Changers or Novelty?

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Working late one night a few months ago, I somehow stumbled on Periscope, the social video app that enables live streaming broadcasts--from you to the world. There’s a bubble of hype and hoopla connected with the launch of Periscope, so I was a bit skeptical. It turned out to be fascinating.

Periscope is a free app where individuals can originate, watch and/or interact with others via personal broadcasts in real time. (iOS and Android) I could switch from someone driving to work in Rome, to Asians doing homework, to someone in Siberia (talking about something), to people in Long Beach playing music on a porch…all in about 5 minutes.

As a brief aside, live and recorded video streaming isn’t new, and there are several similar resources doing battle in this niche, including Ustream, Livestream, DaCast and others. Periscope and Meerkat seem to dominate the populist-trend spotlight at the moment.

Periscope—which, not insignificantly, is owned by Twitter—delivers on its tagline to let you “explore the world through the eyes of somebody else.” Clearly this informal, spontaneous social interaction appeals to millennials. But is it a useful platform for serious healthcare marketing? Answer: It depends.

Savvy healthcare marketers and thought leaders will be challenged to find imaginative, fresh and engaging applications of these platforms that use real-time video to communicate and educate.

Periscope is only a few months old, so early adopter uses in business are semi-experimental. But a few name brands and other businesses are already testing ways to include the live streaming options in their Internet marketing mix.

Healthcare entities have the ever-present HIPAA issues to respect, of course. But that said, some healthcare marketing and social media minds have live video in their portfolio.

The Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and several hospitals and health systems have created live programming with medical presentations, facility tours, question and answer sessions and the like.

Individual doctors have Periscope accounts and offer up content regarding health, positive lifestyle influences and similar educational presentations. A primary care physician posts “Ask the Doctor” scopes and fields general medical questions. A urologist presents men’s health topics, and from time to time, you can find a live broadcast of a common surgical procedure.

Does this idea “have legs,” and will it get traction? A year from now we’ll know if the live streaming apps that are currently the rage-du-jour have revolutionized social marketing…or some other fate. Many such “latest-and-greatest” Internet trends, software and apps get a flash of attention initially, but fade fast without traction.

Considering, however, that Twitter paid $100 million for Periscope, and that there are other well-established serious players on this field, there’s a good chance that live social streaming has the strength and audience interest to continue its growth path.

How are you using Periscope (or similar) in healthcare marketing? We’d like to hear from you about it.

Stay tuned to this channel. We’ll keep you posted.

Stewart Gandolf, MBA

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