How Zagat is Brilliantly Using Periscope; Advice to Other Brands

Live streaming isn’t anything new. So when live-streaming mobile applications like Meerkat and Periscope came out, they weren’t reinventing the wheel. But they did give them a big push to get them rolling.

Meerkat unfortunately, is kind of moot at this point. Periscope, Twitter’s own live video app, has been around for a mere seven months, but already it’s running the gamut for this market, and the momentum tends to continue to grow exponentially.

Both the appeal and the beauty of Periscope lie within its real approach. No longer is a curtain of exclusivity and secrecy necessary to create buzz. And that comes with a grain of salt, after the consumer has been fed “reality” media for over a decade. But Periscope manages to be delightfully fresh and poignant in its delivery of content. Luckily, brands are quick enough to pick up on that.

Another caveat is how Periscope differs from Snapchat. They both disappear after 24 hours, but the main difference is that Snapchat is to a bumper sticker what Periscope is to a novel. Bite-sized versus long-form content.

All that said, we took the opportunity to chat with Amanda Spurlock, Senior Social Media Manager at Zagat, who has been taking full advantage of Periscope to keep their fans up to date. Here’s what she had to say about her experiences and advise for others.

Ignite: Why is Zagat using Periscope and what do you see as the main marketing benefits for using the platform?

Amanda: Here at Zagat, we’re always trying to connect with new audiences and in new ways. Periscope brings a certain level of “closeness” some of the other platforms don’t bring – in that it’s a live broadcast, your community can interact in real-time, and there’s generally not that much production involved. Because of that, we’re able to give our community a real behind-the-scenes view of the culinary world and take them to places and share experiences in a much fuller extent than when we were more limited to static images or a fully produced YouTube segment that would go live weeks after its actual production. For example, we took our audience lobster fishing with Luke Holden of Luke’s Lobster and were showing the entire process from a boat in Maine.  Our community was able to comment, ask questions and get immediate response from Luke as he was holding a live lobster in his hand. A live tweeting experience or a Facebook Q&A doesn’t offer half of what that experience on Periscope does. So the benefit for the brands is that you really can connect in real-time with your audience and on a much more deeper, personal level and fully share an experience with them.

lukes lobster

Ignite: Lobster fishing, wow. Have you tried to utilize the other apps out there for live streaming like Meerkat? What was your opinion of them, and how they compare to Periscope?

Amanda: We have not. What impressed us with Periscope and ultimately what made us decide to go that route was the integration they have with Twitter. Since we have almost 2M Twitter followers on our National account, it made more sense to try and leverage that community in a more seamless way as we introduced a new platform to them.

Ignite: Have you found limitations with using Periscope?

Amanda: The analytics can be a bit buggy at times and it’s especially obvious if you’re trying to access them from an Android versus an iPhone. They definitely have seemed to favor iOS in terms of product.

Ignite: Since you have been doing so much with it, what are some of the ‘best practices’ you’ve developed while using Periscope?

Amanda: Internet connection is so key. We’ve planned some really exciting Periscopes only to turn up at some places and learn they didn’t have Wifi or we couldn’t get a data connection. Because of that I’m afraid you’ve all missed out on the experience of us broadcasting from a roadkill festival (seriously).

Also, interacting with the audience is so key and it really makes the experience. I’ve been so impressed by the questions our community has come up with as we’ve taken them through various journeys, whether we were showing them a grape harvest at a winery or were alligator hunting in Florida.

Zagat Periscope - Chocolate

Ignite: I’m kind of upset over missing the roadkill festival (seriously). Speaking of missing things, have you noticed a certain time being more successful for live streaming with your audience?

Amanda: Not yet. We’ve generally been hosting them in the afternoons, catering to a more EST audience. It’s also helpful that the broadcasts don’t expire for 24 hours, so we can continue to tweet out the link a few times after the broadcast is over, for people who were unable to join us live.

Ignite: How long ahead of time do you recommend promoting to your social audience before the live stream begins?

Amanda: We’re trying to not treat Periscope like it’s a TV show. In my opinion, it’s the exact opposite. So we’re not saying “Tune in at 4pm EST” or whathaveyou because honestly, Periscope makes it so you’re not tied to a certain broadcast time. And sometimes if we’re going out to a dairy farm or something, there are quite a few logistical elements going on that it makes it near impossible to give an exact time anyway. In general we’re doing 3 or more broadcasts in a given week, so there’s almost always something available for someone to watch from us. Because of that, we’re really only promoting our broadcasts a few hours before and we’re being much more general like “Join us this afternoon” instead of giving an exact time.

Ignite: Any funny stories to share about any of your Periscope streams?

Amanda: I did a Periscope at a NYC restaurant as a butchering segment, where we were breaking down this enormous pig and showing off the different parts of the animal, etc. I had prepared myself for any hate from vegetarians or PETA-type groups and surprisingly didn’t get any negative feedback, but the chef happened to come in with a black eye and those tuning in could not stop asking about it! The chef never revealed the true source of the black eye and had to just tell the viewers that the reason the pig was there was because he had to wrestle it.

Ignite: Can you share when your next Periscope is so we can tune in?

Amanda: On the Friday the 30th we’ll have an apple cider live stream from a wood pressed cider mill in New Jersey starting around noon. Next week, Wednesday we’ll be visiting the Donut Project NYC to get the inside scoop on donuts and how they’re made. Then on Thursday we’ll be hanging out at Juilana’s Pizza, a historic Brooklyn pizzeria to get the lowdown on all things mozzarella and pizza. 

Follow Zagat on the Periscope app or bookmark Periscope.Tv/Zagat to tune in to their next broadcast!

zagat periscope

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