Vine—”the next big thing” in social media is branching out (pun intended)—into the business world. The Twitter-owned application allows users to create 6-second video clips that play on a loop. These clips can then be shared across various social media platforms, including (of course) Facebook and Twitter. Released in January, the iPhone-only app has seen an enormous amount of use (just three weeks after its release, users posted 100,000 videos over a weekend), and soon will be available to Android users. Even though it may seem time-consuming to hop on yet another social media bandwagon (insert soapbox about why you need to hire a social media manager here), using Vine to promote your brand now will put you ahead of the game when everyone is doing it later. Vine, like other platforms, boasts the power of numbers—numbers that will get behind your company and help promote it through their own Vine profiles.
Here are some tips for using Vine to promote your business and your brand:
1. Promote your image, without promoting yourself.
Self-promotion from businesses is expected. Consumers expect to see commercials about how great your new product is, how conveniently located your store is, how fast your service is, etc. And that’s OK. But sometimes, simply pushing something that defines your brand, without pushing your brand itself, can reap its own benefits.
In this Vine/Tweet from General Electric, there is no mention of General Electric or their products and services at all. All it is is a fun way to show the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” but General Electric-style.
— General Electric (@generalelectric) February 21, 2013
The chances of this Vine getting retweeted are much greater than if General Electric had promoted a product. Science fanatics and those who simply find this clever will share it with their friends. In turn, this 6 second video about lemons just promoted more engagement with General Electric’s brand than a 30-second TV advertisement would have.
2. Don’t say too much.
Vine has a very limited timeframe, which is part of its appeal. Users must be creative when creating a new video for their followers to view. Because of this 6-second limit, businesses need to think before they Vine. If you want your Vine to have a very specific message, it’s going to take some work to ensure that you aren’t squeezing in too much in too little of a space. In the ad world, we have a rule of thumb for outdoor board ads. We put a limit on text—seven words or less. Because people are driving when they are passing these ads, putting too much information on one outdoor board completely defeats the purpose. Passersby will not have time to understand the message when they can’t receive all of it.
Vine should be the same way. Although users can re-watch the video to catch part of the message they missed, is that what you really want to get across? A disjointed message? I didn’t think so. Don’t look at it as creatively restricting or limiting. Look at it as a challenge in which you and your brand ambassadors must be creative to overcome the limits.
Also, don’t forget that you can add a caption to your video. This way you can use both the caption and the video to get your point across. In Malibu Rum’s first Vine clip, they affectively advertised their product, a use for their product and gave it a headline via the caption “When good things come together.”
— Malibu Rum (@maliburumus) January 26, 2013
3. Have your customers interact with your brand via their own Vines.
It’s common knowledge that a giveaway is a tried-and-true way of boosting customer/brand interaction. Adding Vine to the mix not only engages customers and promotes your brand (just as other giveaways), but also raises awareness that your company has (and uses) a Vine account. Ask customers to Vine something in particular (them interacting with your product, what they love about your product, their best moving sketch of your product, the sky’s the limit) with a dedicated branded hashtag.
ASOS, an online-only fashion and beauty store, used this Vine to ask customers to upload clips of them unboxing their ASOS order with the hashtag #ASOSUnbox.
— ASOS (@ASOS) January 30, 2013
And Vine the customers did.
— Honey (@honey_social) February 5, 2013
4. Connect Vine with other platforms.
As with every other social media account you have, you should always merge Vine with your other platforms. Cross-promotion is a sure-fire way to spread awareness that you have a Vine account, and to ask people to follow you. Not to mention the novelty of the 6-second clip is a great way to break up the monotony of status updates or photos. And don’t forget to embed your Vine videos into your company blog and/or website.
5. Actually promote your products.
It is possible to use Vine to promote your products and services without being too overbearing. I put this last because a Vine feed of total self-promotion is not going to please the consumer. However, you can use Vine in an innovative way to push a product without pushing the customer’s buttons.
In this Vine clip by soap brand Dove, the company used their products in a fun and whimsical way.
— Dove (@Dove) January 25, 2013
You can also use Vine to build-up anticipation for new products, like Nintendo did with this clip that showed off the Wii U ZombiU Deluxe Set before its US release.
— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) February 14, 2013
Companies should not be intimidated by Vine’s 6-second restrictions. Used correctly, Vine can help engage customers and spark conversations. It can enhance your company’s image and promote your brand. Businesses big and small should be considering Vine as a marketing platform.