I read about Anita Wing Lee on Mashable, in an article presenting the most popular Periscope users. I followed her because I wanted to see how this new social network works and because I found her project Global Meditation Scopes interesting. After some time I saw that she was coming to Lesvos to volunteer in the refugees crisis the same period I would be on the island. So, I met Anita, who is a lovely, kind-hearted and very smart girl, and we talked about Periscope. She gave me some really useful tips about how individuals, charities and businesses can make the most of it and, here, I am passing it all to you!
When did you start using Periscope and how did you find out about it?
It’s kind of a funny story. I attended a meditation course that ended on Sunday. On Monday after, I got on Facebook and my friend had posted something about Periscope. I asked what was it and my friend said “Oh, it’s a money printing machine, you have to get on it!” So I got on it! But as soon as I got on Periscope I could tell that it was different. It’s different from Instagram, it’s different from Twitter… You are literally in someone’s room talking to them.
I wanted to be a journalist when I was young and my personal mission has always been to publish positive content and inspiring messages online so when I saw Periscope and how easy it is to start broadcast, something inside me said “Anita, you can go far with this!”. So I bought my friend’s course which gave me the basics on how to do a good broadcast. And then I started doing meditations – because once you start on Periscope you have to do it every day so I was looking for something that would give me some regularity and a reason to come back.
Then I created something about travel. I did seven days, each day I gave a tip on how to get paid to travel. That was the first time I did interviews on Periscope. I contacted the other Periscopers who are travel experts somehow and asked them if I could interview them on Periscope. They all said “yes”, which at the time blew me away because some had 3.000 followers or 10.000 followers! When I did the interviews each of them “gave” me 50 -100 followers, which is a lot.
I did that and then I asked myself “what do I do next?”. So this is how I got the idea of Global Meditation Scope. I was doing it for fun but it ended up useful and powerful for so many people.
Because of the Global Meditation Scope I was invited to speak at the first Periscope Summit in September. Things like that give authority. I mean, I was never expert in meditation but because I was one of the first people to start doing meditations on Periscope, people knew me for that. But I always shared my inner story, it isn’t just for the meditations. People knew it was just an idea and now it’s something so much bigger.
Things like that give authority. I mean, I was never expert in meditation but because I was one of the first people to start doing meditations on Periscope, people knew me for that.
It is! You have become popular, you have traveled a lot and now you are in Greece volunteering in the refugees camps. You have a fundraising page on gofundme for this, right?
Yes. I actually did a lot of fundraising before gofundme but it’s nice to have a gofundme page because people recognise it. But even so, I ‘ve got about half of my donations through Paypal. I never thought I could crowdfund but I have raised over 5,000$!
How do you promote your fundraising? Through Periscope only or other media as well?
There is Twitter and Facebook you can send it out as well but to be honest it’s mostly my Periscope followers. This event I’m doing right now is an example of concentrated efforts all at once. People talk about it, people share it, they share the links…
[While speaking with me, Anita was also participating in a Periscope event she had organised to raise more funds for her volunteering on Lesvos.]
And what exactly is that you’re doing right now? What is this event about?
It is a Peritrain! It’s called Peritrain because it’s one broadcast after another. In this one everyone is doing fifteen minutes and then at the end they pass it off to another person. The next person throws up some emojis so everyone can see who it is, and then they can all share and follow that next person.
This is the kind of strategy that you only learn by being on Periscope and collaborating with people. Because you have to have obviously relationships with other Periscopers for them to want to be a part of it, or at least a big following to show that you show up on Periscope. Collaboration is a big thing.
The more transparent you are the more donations you will get.
Do you have any tips on how NGOs can use Periscope?
The thing is that you need to get someone of your team permission to run with it and to learn from it. I know that once charities and NGOs get bigger they get policies but the reason I have succeeded and my Periscope works is because it’s transparent. The more transparent you are the more donations you will get. There is no charity that’s really using it to its maximal potential. That’s a choice as a humanitarian or as a brand you get to make. There is definitely a lot of power in being a person first. For example, John Legere in T-Mobile – people know him because he’s still his own person. I don’t know if everyone can do this but it’s like the difference between Oprah as a brand and NBC as a brand. People follow Oprah for Oprah, even if it’s impossible for it to be the perfect portrait of her. This is kind of a personal decision but I think for a charity to use it well they have to get out of that bubble of restrictions and policy. I understand and respect privacy but photojournalists and filmmakers are important in places like this, even though people hate them, because they will just capture it and put it out there and maybe not everyone in the film has signed a waiver, but then it becomes a really powerful story. I would love to help a charity or an NGO, show them Periscope and how to get it up and running, but they need to be willing to open up their doors to everything.
What makes my story powerful is the continuation.
But this is not only for Periscope. There is a bunch of groups on Lesvos that do really well on Facebook. I interviewed this group called Worldwide Tribe, started by three twenty-somethings in the UK and they have almost 40.000 likes on Facebook now. The people who follow them want to know specifically about what’s going on on Lesvos. And that’s the thing that you could build as a charity or like I build for myself. People care about you so they want to keep coming back. They care about the issue, they care about the people, they care about the stories.
I don’t follow any charities because I haven’t seen someone do that well. It tends to always be about the cause. What makes my story powerful is the continuation and that they know me as a person.
On Periscope people will stay in your broadcast if you’re giving them an experience they couldn’t get elsewhere.
People get connected with you. I mean, we just met but it feels like I already know you because I have seen you so many times on Periscope. And it’s different than other social networks because it’s real time.
Most brands do not do that, they don’t want to show something more “personal”, other than a stylised image. But Social Media is really about showing the “human side” of a brand anyway. Do you think that a brand can use Periscope to do that?
Periscope is like giving people experiences. For me, if I were to put it like a part of the experience being on my channel, it’s that you get to live with me and my adventures. You literally are going to be my friend. On Periscope people will stay in your broadcast if you’re giving them an experience they couldn’t get elsewhere.
You shared a few really useful tips on Periscope, like that you have to do it every day and that collaborations are important. Do you have any other tips to share with someone who wants to start using it?
My philosophy is “I don’t have followers, I have family”. It’s a completely different way of going about life, business, everything. And not everyone has to do that but for me it was a personal decision. I have a very loyal following because I show up.
I studied online marketing when I was building my online business but I’m trying to delete all the marketing files on my brain, to be honest! Because what the marketing files say is “collect people’s email so you can later sell them stuff”, which is completely different from the mentality “I’d love to stay in touch with you because you’ve supported me and I’m so grateful. When I make stuff I want to be able to give them to you first because you’ve been a huge supporter of me.” That’s like a coffee shop that people visit and love because they love the owner. And the owner makes a community hub out of their business.
What you have to do is see the people who are thriving and how do they treat their people. Because it’s just that times ten, times thousand. That’s what builds a business.
How did you build a community on Periscope?
The thing with Periscope and building a community is you really have to care about the people, it’s not about a marketing strategy. I want to build a community because I genuinely care about my customers. It’s funny when people ask me how did I go with Meditation Scope and if I can give them some tips on the strategy. You know what I really did? I stopped trying to figure out a strategy. Meditation Scope was not created as a marketing strategy, it was created so that we could help people. What you have to do is see the people who are thriving and how do they treat their people. Because it’s just that times ten, times thousand. That’s what builds a business.
So, which projects are you running on Periscope at the moment and what are you doing next?
I have three projects now: Global Meditation Scope, which is about finding inner peace, SoulFundFam, which is about creating outer peace, and the third one is kind of my story. The most recent chapter of my story is that on December 29th I packed my life into one luggage and for the next year I want to do what I’m doing now: travel, do good, inspire on Periscope and, with water, a roof over my head, a Wi-Fi connection that works and my battery charger, I can make really good positive things happen.
Good luck, Anita!