My first Periscope broadcast was fun. I didn’t know quite what I was doing and I made some mistakes, but I enjoyed the “Scope” experience. My second Scope was not fun. At all. It was horrible.
I didn’t have a great set-up, the lighting was not good for video, and I was a little frazzled because I had to unexpectedly change rooms just before the Scope. But, I had already made an announcement that I would be broadcasting, so I jumped in with a Scope titled “2 Minute Productivity Tip: Time Management”.
Let me tell you, by the time those two minutes were up, I couldn’t delete that video fast enough. It started out OK-ish. I felt a little stiff and boring, but I was already in it so I was trying to stay the course. Then, a viewer commented, “You suck.”
It pains me just to type that because I was (am) so embarrassed! OMG! It totally threw me. I made my last couple of points then got the hell out of there so I could delete the playback so no one (mostly me) ever had to see it again.
I know, you could ask what kind of jerk leaves a mean comment on a live broadcast, but, the truth is, it was a pretty sucky broadcast and, rather than just leave, the viewer decided to give me a little straight talk. Ouch.
The whole thing got me thinking about branding and how, as a freelancer who’s working to continually step up my game, I try to keep up with what’s out there in the digital realm: what tools are helpful, how to best use them, how others are using them—this is important stuff. But my Periscope mishap got me thinking about which tools are right for me and, maybe even more importantly, how to use them in the best interest of my business and sanity. Do I even want to be broadcasting? I have zero experience being on camera. What makes me think I’d be any good at this?
Here’s what I came up with: I think I still like doing Periscope scopes. (I know! Can you believe it?) The immediacy is so cool and I like the idea of connecting with people live. But, I decided to use it differently.
For my next Periscope broadcast (I knew I had to get back on the horse or I never would again!), I went a totally different route. I was at Moonstone Beach at sunrise, it was beautiful, and I thought, ‘I’m going to just share this moment.’
I opened Periscope, titled the Scope “Early Morning at Moonstone Beach,” and for a few moments just showed the waves crashing onto the shore. I explained where I was and how lovely it was there. Then I flipped my phone around so I was in the frame as well. I started asking where people were from and just chatting with them. Within a couple of minutes, there were viewers from Ireland, North Dakota, England, France, California, the Middle East, Boston and more. They were saying hello, thanking me for sharing, and sending me hearts (the Periscope equivalent of “Likes.”)—it was such fun!
The immediacy and humanness of Periscope is brilliant. There I was, with no script, no marketing angle, looking all wind-blown and bleary-eyed, and I was loving every minute of it. It was an incredibly valuable lesson in how to connect with people using this new medium. I went from a terrible experience where I was trying—and totally failing—to help people, to an amazing experience where people from all over the world were connecting over a beautiful moment.
My goal with my freelance work is to contribute to the good: to help people create lives they love; to tell the stories of people and organizations doing great work; to continue my own journey of self-discovery through freelancing. So, my inclination was to use Periscope to share tips and tools that I use in my own freelance career.
But, I’m thinking that instead, I’m going to use it to share the things that I love about my life that the freedom and flexibility of being a freelancer allow me. If people want to learn more about getting started in the freelance life, they know where to find me. Incidentally, by just sharing my moment, I added six new followers and got over 1,000 hearts.
Where will this realization take me? We’ll see, but I can tell you, it was a lot of fun just to be myself. And to the commenter who let me know I sucked, thanks! You gave me a lot of to think about.
If you want to follow my Periscope adventures, my handle is @CatJohnson.
What are your thoughts on using social media to brand your freelance business? How do you balance marketing yourself with sharing fun and interesting things?