It’s been hailed as Instagram for video – and that’s a pretty big accolade – so the big question is…
Can Twitter Vine be leveraged for business?
Well if we’re going to find out, first of all we need to cut through the buzz and take a closer look at what Vine is really all about.
The Background on Vine
Twitter unleashed Vine at the end of last month, and since then it has shot up the popularity charts. Vine is an iPhone app that enables users to record looping videos of up to 6 seconds and then easily share them with their Twitter followers.
The app will record for as long as your finger is on the record button, which means users can create video in a single shot or tap the screen at intervals to create a stop animation style video. Six seconds is NOT a long time – but this promotes intense creativity by necessitating you to get to the point quickly.
So if mobile video content trends are moving in the direction of short and social, can entrepreneurs like you and I take advantage of this for enterprise?
Let’s take a minute to remind ourselves about Instagram. In the early days (yes – I know it’s still a relatively new platform) businesses approached Instagram with more than a little trepidation.
However with a dash of creativity and a pinch of smart thinking thrown into the marketing mix, the app really began to take off for those who were brave enough to try it… and it tasted sweet. Now Instagram is a widely accepted content marketing method, and companies like Redbull and Starbucks have demonstrated how to leverage the app for maximum effect – hell, even Obama wielded an Instagram account during his 2012 campaign.
So why shouldn’t Vine be a similarly potent marketing tool? It certainly has the potential, after all dynamic video content has about the highest engagement level around.
The app has taken off quickly. It has an intuitive interface and is already being used by major news outlets and some big name brands. None of you will be surprised that no small part of Vine’s initial success is due to its integration with Twitter – the second biggest social network worldwide. This is great for SEO as videos posted to the app will appear in relevant search engine results, and as Vine supports search hashtags can be used to maximize potential.
Everything looks good for Vine… so how can you use it effectively?
1. Involve Your Audience
Because of its simplicity (there’s no high-tech equipment or clever scripting required, users can just click and create on their iPhone) Vine is ideal for audience participation.
This ‘no-hassle’ aspect keeps the fun factor high, making Vine a perfect platform for high-engagement interactive content like contests.
For example you could ask your audience to submit video clips of them utilizing your products or services in the most imaginative way and offer a prize to the most creative. This will get your Twitter page (and your business) a lot of new attention whilst simultaneously re-engaging old contacts. Use hashtags to boost awareness of your event.
Inflight internet provider Gogo takes it one step further by incentivizing users to take part in their contest by showcasing the prizes up for grabs.
Bonus: You could re-purpose this user-generated content for additional marketing material, or even use customer ideas for product development inspiration!
2. Build Narrative
Not only does Vine allow users to upload individual videos, it also allows them to create a series – a bit like a simplified YouTube channel.
This is great for building engagement rich narrative that captures attention. For example all your videos could be distinctly different stories yet come under a single umbrella theme tying them together. Doing this has the advantage of being able to appeal to a much wider audience, and as inevitably one video will prove more popular than the rest, it will allow the others to ride that success and attract more traffic overall.
British company EEUK put together a series of cute Vine videos for their recent Valentines campaign.
3. Social Proof
Nothing endorses like a testimonial from real people – and nothing else motivates an audience to commit like one either. Vine is a great platform to highlight video testimonials.
You could either showcase your most powerful individual testimonials, or you could ask your clients and customers what word they would use to sum up their customer experience and collate these clips into a fast-paced, dynamic and engaging video.
Remember: Don’t forget to include a call to action!
Fashion retailer ASOS invites positive Vine video customer testimonials.
People are naturally curious creatures, and they like to know how stuff works – in fact ‘how to’ videos are the most widely searched for online. Vine can be used to create a mini campaign involving a series of ‘how to’ videos to demonstrate how consumers can use your products and services most effectively, or how to install your products in a series of easy to follow steps.
Alternatively, you could use a short video series to reveal behind the scenes secrets, such as the creation process of your products. This not only serves to educate your audience, but it also helps build your identity and inspire their confidence by showing you are open and honest.
Bacardi have put together a ‘six second cocktail’ series with each video demonstrating how to make a different Bacardi-based cocktail
5. Fortify Identity
Companies like Apple and Coca-Cola are the masters of identity awareness and branding, but just because you aren’t quite in their league yet it doesn’t mean your image is any less important, and Vine can be an excellent tool to develop it.
Do your research and set the tone and style of your videos to match your own unique image. Choose your style of and language of expression carefully to most resonate with your target audience… And don’t be afraid to show personality and humanity – it will only work in your favor. Simple techniques you could try include introducing your logo in a vibrant new way, or create a video focused on conveying your company mission.
Moose Tracks Ice Cream use their distinctive mascot and inject some humor:
Warning! Make sure you are perceived in the way you want. Set a clear identity and image before you start and be consistent.
Perhaps the most obvious way to use Vine, it is nevertheless undeniably one of the most valuable. Treat the medium like the movies and shoot a 6 second teaser trailer for an upcoming new product or event to really entice potential customers.
Make sure you include a link to more information, or better yet – directly to your landing page. You could also use similar tactics for anticipation building countdowns or attention grabbing reminders too, for anything from webinars, events, giveaways, special deals, discounts or contests.
Check out this teaser trailer from Taco Bell:
Top tip: The most successful ‘mini adverts’ will motivate viewers to engage, comment and share – so plan carefully and get creative!
7. Get Personal
You’re not a faceless corporation, you’re a caring, sharing business made up of real people with big ideas – so maximize Vine to get that message across.
Share behind the scenes video snippets of you, your employees, your work environment. Use carefully edited clips of your team at company events or fun workshops. Compile brief interviews with your staff asking them to say how they benefit the most from being a part of your business to convey your company culture.
If you’re a one-man-band show them your desk with the photos of your wife and kids and the view out your window, or tell them what you love about your business. Let your audience get to know you better on a personal level, it will ramp up their trust factor and engage their interest on an emotional level.
In the example below KFox 14 News shows us behind the scenes:
It’s early days, and right now this Vine is only a bud, but if the success of its static counterpart Instagram is anything to go by, the Vine is rapidly going to become a beanstalk – and I for one want to be a giant at the top of it… do you?
About the Author: James T Noble makes small businesses bigger. He’s worked with some of the world’s largest brands and companies to market their products and services online – including Disney, Microsoft, 20th Century Fox, Virgin, Coca Cola, MTV and many others. Find out more and read business growth tips at http://www.JamesTNoble.com