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Periscope for Auto Dealers: What, Why, and How

Periscope for Auto Dealers

“The greatest gift you can give someone is your time.” -Unknown

It’s easy for a dealership to appear reclusive online. Blog posts, emails, Facebook posts, and even tweets often publish later – sometimes much later – than they’re written. From your audience’s point of view, this content just comes out of nowhere like Drogon swooping into the Great Pit of Draznak. That’s why we’re excited to talk about Periscope for auto dealers.

Even when you’re doing something as personal as tweeting, you and your brand aren’t sharing time with your audience while they ask questions or show interest in your products. Sure, you might get a notification when someone replies to your Facebook post, hearts your Instagram pic, or clicks on your tweet – but you’re not actually there with them.

That’s where Periscope comes in. As the world’s fastest-growing live video streaming app, Periscope is a valuable asset to any dealership’s digital marketing strategy.

If you’re like the vast majority of other dealerships, Periscope – now one year old – still sits squarely on the back burner of your marketing strategy. And although it doesn’t (and probably will never) draw as much traffic as Facebook and Twitter, Periscope is still worth your valuable marketing time.

Periscope can be great for automotive marketing. Here’s why:

  • Live video, unlike published videos on YouTube or Facebook, still has that new-car smell.
  • You can interact with people and answer questions in real time.
  • It’s a great way to give people an inside view at what’s happening now.
  • Periscope integrates seamlessly with Twitter and Facebook.
  • Your competitors aren’t “scoping” (yet)

Of course, there are several other reasons why it’s great to have Periscope for auto dealers. In this post, we’ll talk about the basics of this exciting platform, some tips for broadcasting, and several scoping ideas that will attract great leads for your sales team.

periscope for auto dealers

The home screen (left) shows the current and recorded broadcasts from the people you follow. The map view (center) shows current broadcasts (red) and replays (blue). The Settings page (right) is where you can choose to save your broadcast recordings to your phone.

What Is Periscope & Why Should My Dealership Be on It?

Launched in 2015 and now owned by Twitter, Periscope is a mobile app that enables people (or dealerships) to broadcast and view live video. In simple terms, it’s like having your own TV station in the palm of your hand.

And before you write it off as another niche app for those shrewd millennials, think again. More than 10 million people downloaded the app in 2015. Plus, Periscope broadcasts are also shown live within Twitter, which opens your content up to 320 million monthly active users of all ages.

The almost-instant popularity gained by Periscope – along with other live-streaming apps like Ustream, Meerkat, Facebook Live, and YouTube Live – represents a shift in the form of content people want to see. In fact, Invodo’s recent report showed that 51.9% of marketing professionals say video is the type of content with the highest ROI. Plus, 50% of mobile data usage is currently – you guessed it – video.

periscope for auto dealers

This screenshot shows a Periscope “replay” with comments from viewers.

How Do I Get Started with Periscope?

The great thing about Periscope for auto dealers is that you already have everything you need! After you download the free Periscope app, log in with your dealership’s twitter credentials. If you’re already logged in to twitter on your phone, Periscope will let you log in automatically. If you don’t have a twitter account – don’t worry! Although it plays well with twitter, Periscope will still let you set up a username and password without twitter.

As with most social platforms, you’ll be asked to make a user name, write a short bio, and upload a profile pic. As you do these things, consider that your viewers can look at your profile while they watch your broadcast, so it’s a good idea to include a link in your bio that relates to what you’re scoping about. Include your homepage URL at the minimum.

Once you have your account set up, you’re set to start your first broadcast! If you’re not sure what to talk about in your very first scope, keep reading.

dealerships on periscope

This screenshot shows a live Periscope broadcast by Steve Harvey. Notice the hearts streaming up on the right side of the screen. Periscope ranks and recommends users based on the number of hearts they get in their broadcasts.

What Should My Dealership Broadcast on Periscope?

Here at 9 Clouds, we think dealerships’ Periscope broadcasts should be both educational and entertaining.

Feeling uninspired? You’re in luck! We have several ideas for you to get started:

  • Introduce new vehicle models and answer questions about them.
  • Share breaking news (specifically long-term programs, incentives, or offers).
  • Take people on test drives.
  • Show events at your dealership (grillouts, car shows, music, etc.).
  • Bring people to sponsored events at other places.
  • Introduce new employees.
  • Show your car detailing process.
  • Let people get an inside look at fresh trades.
  • Watch new models get unloaded off the truck.
  • Show people how an oil change works.

Now that you have some ideas, it’s time to go live and spend some quality time with your audience!

periscope tips for auto dealers

Periscope for Auto Dealers: More Tips

  1. Show something new and/or fun to retain viewers and grow your list of followers. According to GlobalWebIndex, 40% of mobile users aged 16-34 say that they are watching more video on their smartphones than they were last year, and that they also prefer funny/entertaining content.
  2. Go horizontal for more screen space. While vertical (tall) orientation is fine for live viewing, consider streaming horizontally. This will allow you to show more of a car, room, or scene side-to-side.
  3. Don’t forget to interact with your viewers! While you’re broadcasting, talk them through what you’re showing (and why you’re showing it), answer questions, and make your audience feel acknowledged. If you see hearts popping up on your screen, say thanks. Have a conversation. After all – that’s the value of being there together!
  4. Use a GoPro camera for in-car streaming. You can even mount it on the dash or hood, which will let you stream on Periscope via wireless connection between the camera and your phone. The benefit of using a GoPro is that the passenger (not the driver!) can hold the phone and interact with viewers.
  5. Time it well (if you can). To catch people when they have a few minutes to watch, scope around lunchtime or after 5pm. However, don’t let timing be a deal-breaker, because people can still watch the replay of your broadcast on-demand for up to 24 hours.
  6. Grow your list! Cross-promote your Periscope channel on Facebook, Twitter, and your other social platforms to gain an initial following. You might even want to tease some of your upcoming content: “Follow our Periscope channel to be the very first to see the new 2017 Ford Escape in Kansas.”
  7. Don’t forget a call-to-action. Here is why it’s a good idea to put a link in your bio on Periscope. For example, as you finish that fun walk-around video of the new 2017 Ford Escape, tell your viewers to check out the inventory – including the Escape you just showed them – at the relevant link, which you’ve placed conveniently in your bio. It’ll keep them engaged, and you can then measure referral traffic from Periscope in your website analytics.
  8. Thank your viewers. To add even more finesse, acknowledge the replay viewers by saying something similar to: “Thanks for tuning in – and welcome, replay viewers! Sorry you missed this live, but we still appreciate you!”
  9. Download your videos. Periscope will save a recording of your broadcast to your phone, so you can share it somewhere else later. Within the app, go to the “people” icon in the lower-right corner, and then select your profile icon in the upper-right corner. Scroll down the menu, and go to Settings > Autosave Broadcasts.

Like any social media platform, Periscope will become easier as your dealership uses it. Test ideas, try new things, and get into your zone in this exciting new platform.

And, if your dealership is struggling to gain traction, give us a shout! We’d be more than happy to help you find a way to effectively inbound leads with Periscope and any other digital marketing tool.

Keep Learning, Keep Sharing

Does your dealership have an Instagram account? Does it need some help?

Download our popular Instagram for Auto Dealers eBook to breathe some life into your dealership’s Instagram strategy.


P.S. Follow 9 Clouds on Periscope!