What business doesn’t want to connect with its audience in the most effective way possible?

Both Snapchat and Periscope are popular apps that are now commonly used by companies to interact with their customers. You might think one social media app is just like another, but there are some important differences that you need to know about so that you can decide which one is better for your business.

Why Video Sharing?

Video sharing is the one capability shared by both Snapchat and Periscope, and it’s a hot new trend for businesses, especially those reaching out to customers in the under-35 demographic; these folks are also generally the heaviest users of social media. With this kind of content creation, businesses have the opportunity to put out one-of-a-kind content that’s memorable and engaging.

Video broadcasting is a great opportunity to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look at your company’s planning, design or manufacturing process. Have an exclusive Q&A session or host a demo on a new product or service. Building relationships in this way is simple, cost-effective, and may generate positive PR.

Research and planning is vitally important if you’ll be broadcasting or sharing photos about your business. Be familiar with the app you choose to use. Decide in advance what you’ll shoot video of and what you’ll talk about. Working on the fly is probably not a great idea; that’s not to say you don’t want spontaneity – you do! But you can’t edit these videos afterward, so you want to make sure your company puts its best face forward every time you post Snapchat or Periscope content.

Why Snapchat and Periscope?

There are a lot of photo- and video-sharing apps out there for smartphones, so why focus on Snapchat and Periscope? They’re both really popular apps, so you’re likely to find many folks who are interested in your business also using both. They’re both also really easy to use. A simple download is all that’s required to set up an account; usage of each is pretty intuitive, with a few taps on the screen to locate followers and begin creating and promoting your content.

Snapchat, in Brief

Snapchat is pretty well-known for sharing smartphone pictures; users snap a photo and send it to a friend (also on Snapchat), who usually has a maximum of 10 seconds to view it before it it goes away. Users can mark up their pictures with filters, stickers, text, digital crayons, and such before sending them. One of Snapchat’s newer features is Snapchat Stories – before sending pictures or videos, users can mark the piece as part of a Snapchat Story, and this makes the content available for 24 hours to a user’s contacts.

Snap videos allow for live, real-time broadcasting to contacts and followers. Video-length is limited to 10 seconds at a time. If you want people to be able to view the video for 24 hours, you can mark it to be added to your Snapchat Story before releasing it to your viewers.

Periscope, in Brief

Periscope is relatively new to the app scene, and was recently acquired by Twitter. This app allows users who download it to take interactive video without a set time limit; however, it’s important to note that there’s no still photo option in this app. Users can set videos for public viewing or keep them private so that only people you choose can see them. Users can also set broadcasts to expire after 24 hours or be saved so that followers can replay them later..

Once you go live on Periscope, your broadcast shows up as “available” to watch. Viewers of Periscope broadcasts can heart your content and comment (and you can respond!) in real-time, and users who connect their Periscope and Twitter accounts can share their broadcast automatically on Twitter. Just hit the tiny bird icon on your smartphone screen to Tweet your broadcast.

The app maintains stats about your broadcast: the number of live viewers you had, the number of people who watched your broadcast on replay, time watched (you might have a 10 minute video but folks only watched the first five minutes), and the duration of your broadcast.

The Verdict

As with most things, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to using social media for your business. Many businesses may find that both Snapchat and Periscope apps have a lot to offer. Despite this, there are some strong benefits to Periscope that make it a must-have in your business’s social media tool box.

Periscope is unique in that its broadcasting function allows for real-time, dynamic connection with your audience. Let’s say you’re doing a demo of a new product; if folks have questions, they can be answered immediately, rather than allowing any confusion or uncertainty to percolate any longer than necessary. This is a more engaged relationship with viewers, rather than their simply passively watching a video.

Periscope’s connection to Twitter is also a win for business; there’s a ready, always-on opportunity to pick up new fans and followers by “combining forces” and amplifying your Periscope broadcast by way of a Twitter account. Some prime hashtags can catapult your Periscope broadcast into an astronomical number of views.

Having the chance to “meet” fans and followers via social media can be fun, but unless you can measure your reach, it can be hard to justify the time and effort you put into it. The benefits of using Periscope include the collection of relevant, usable statistics, from number of viewers (live and replay) to amount of time your video is viewed. Using this information to tweak and improve your broadcasting – from planning to delivery – is essential to making a strong entrance, picking up speed, and maintaining momentum in a social media-oriented world.

Because of its ability to increase the intensity and volume of your message, and provide you with usable information about who’s interacting with your business and how, Periscope comes in ahead of Snapchat for business on paper, but only slightly – Snapchat still has a lot to offer with regard to snaps and curated Snapchat Stories that allow you to develop a narrative that presents your business in the most attention-getting light. Snapchat’s user base at the time of writing this is almost 10 times the size of Periscope though, something that can’t be ignored.