Periscope: Are the Hearts a Good Measure of Social Proof?


In case you haven’t heard, Periscope is all the rage right now.  So many business owners are finding Pericope a place where they can get their message out and really get to know their audience and build trust with them through live-streaming.

Buying Hearts is NOT Social Proof!

While number of fans and followers are many times a good indicator of social proof, it is not always the case because some unscrupulous business owners have been known to buy them to “show” their social proof.  The same thing has happened with Periscope.  Some people have bought hearts as social “proof” to attract more viewers.  In neither of these instances are the fans, followers, or hearts really proof of anything, except that maybe it proved to feed their egos.

Having fans and followers or, in the case of Periscope, hearts means nothing if you cannot back it up with content and engagement!  For instance, if your social media accounts have thousands of followers, but no one engages with your content it hurts your edge rank on Facebook, looks like you are not attentive to what your audience wants, and may not be providing value to your audience.

With Periscope, if you have a lot of hearts, but don’t have the number of fans to back up the quantity of hearts, it also sends out red flags – especially if no one is engaging with your scopes!

Tons of Hearts on Periscope does NOT Mean Great Content

Gaming Hearts

Some people on Periscope “game” their hearts.  There are several ways I have seen this done.

The first way I have seen is where the broadcaster holds back information from viewers until a certain number of hearts have been reached.  This is how some scopers with high counts got to that number when Periscope was still new.  There are a few problems with this.  First, it is showing a clear disregard for the viewers time by wasting their time by waiting for information because of a selfish personal “goal.” If you care about your viewers and respect their time, you will not do this, because you are essentially holding them hostage for your information. Second, the information provided is many times not “worth” the high number of hearts some broadcasters hold out for. Third, Periscope has clearly said that the hearts are similar to applause and are there to show support for content that is being provided or for the broadcaster.  Since no information has yet been provided, in this case, the hearts have NOT been earned.

The second way I have seen broadcasters game hearts is by offering a giveaway if they reach a certain number of hearts.  Again, the hearts are not earned necessarily for the content, but are hyped up with the enticement of winning something.  While this is an “exciting” way to gain some hearts, it is not what the hearts were intended for, and I don’t recommend this method.

Periscope Hearts

Heart Tribes

Another way many broadcasters get hearts is groups dedicated to give support, or heart tribes.  Here is where I sit on both sides of the fence. Allow me to explain.

Having been on Periscope for months now, I have come across many, many AWESOME scopers who do NOT have the hearts to show their greatness.  This happens for many reasons that I will cover in other blogs.  Some of these folks are not good at writing headlines, some don’t know how to market themselves, and some just really have not put themselves out there in a big way.  All of these things contribute to great scopers having low heart counts.  For these folks, I provide a lot of support in the way of hearts to help them out.

Because there are many unknown folks on Periscope, it is sometimes hard to stand out against the big guns. For instance, if someone scopes at a time that a major influencer scopes, they may not be able to attract people who would listen if the influencer was not scopeing at that time.  Influencers draw the large crowds on Periscope just as they do on other social platforms, so the playing field for attention is FAR from level.  For this reason, heart tribes may be a way for you to grow your fan base and get some hearts.

Most of the heart tribes leave it up to the members who they listen to and support, so you are still competing for the view.  Once you are in these groups and people get to know you, you will gain regular listeners who legitimately love your content.  This is why I support these groups.  These groups really aim to level the playing field, although it is never truly level.  I have found some awesome scopers in these groups.  They do NOT have the high heart counts, but are worth listening to more than some people with thousands of hearts. This is why heart counts are not a TRUE indicator of value on Periscope.

Do hearts serve as social proof?  Yes, they do.  People still look at the numbers.  Are they a true measure? No, for the reasons mentioned above.

How Should You Earn Hearts on Periscope?

As stated above, Periscope hearts were intended to be given by viewers to support a broadcaster, idea, or content that is being provided.  This is how hearts should be EARNED.  It is fine to remind people they can give you hearts.  Sometimes the content is so good people honestly forget because they are busy listening to the content.

Never withhold information for hearts; it is not fair to your viewers.  Don’t hold your viewers hostage until you reached a heart “goal.” Instead, provide content that your viewers will love and will make them come back for more.  Providing great content is the only true social proof on ANY social media platform.  Unfortunately, the waters have been muddied on many social media platforms, so it can sometimes be difficult to tell who provides the real value.  Pay attention and support the people who have the content and answer the questions you have about their subject matter.  Don’t assume someone who has a lot of hearts is the best person to listen to.  Check people out and find people who YOU resonate with.  Support the other awesome scopers you come across and many times they will also support you!

I explore this issue a little further in the following Periscope:

100K Hearts: Does It Really Matter? on Katch by Lisa Balthaser

What are your thoughts on Gaming and Heart Tribes?  How do you level the playing field for yourself?


Lisa Balthaser walks entrepreneurs and busienss owners through the oten-times confusign social media maze and positions them to increase their fan base, increase engagement and get more conversions. If you woudl like to work with fleur de lisa solutions, schedule a 15 minute call HERE to see how we can work together!


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8 thoughts on “Periscope: Are the Hearts a Good Measure of Social Proof?

  1. I was on Periscope a lot over the summer but quickly lost interest when people were gaming for hearts. There were also a lot of hang outs at that time like “come watch me put my makeup on”. I knew going in that it was a fairly new platform and everyone was still learning. At the time, I just really didn’t see any good content that was worth giving up my time for.

    1. There are certainly people o EVERY social media platform that use it in ways that are not conducive to business or being a productive member of society. Those people are still there.

      That being said, I have found some incredibly awesome smart people on Periscope. The knowledge I have gained from them is invaluable!! I don;t follow everyone who follows me, and only follow those who scope about something that truly interests me. That way, I have a great variety to choose from in notifications that I truly want to hear about.

      While broadcasting may not be for everyone, I have found people who are supportive, encouraging, and super knowledgeable about many different topics. Great people ARE there but unfortunately, so are those who NOT add value. If you try it again, don’t follow (or unfollow) those who do not bring value to your world. I truly see so much awesome content on Periscope and I try to provide that in my scopes as well!

  2. Ah, I just do my thing and provide value to the people that love me. lol Not too worried about what others are doing as far as heart gaming etc. Facebook like buying was super popular for a while, but the sites always find a way to give people a good hand slap.

    Great explanation on periscope and heart gaming. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Jessica. That is the right attitude to have. Hearts and likes are nice, but at the end of the day, they do not pay the bills unless they convert to sales. While the hearts, likes and followers are one version of social proof, there is no better social proof than a track record of happy paying clients!

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