5 Feb 2013
By Karen Geier
Recently, you may have seen links to “Vine” showing up in your social media feeds. Vine is a brand new app that allows users to record 6 seconds of video, and the app turns that video into an animated GIF (an animation that you can view without any plugins.)
Think of Vine as “Instagram for animation.” It’s a social network where you can discover other people’s Vines, follow the best contributors, express yourself creatively, and show a bit of your world to potential followers.
You can see some great Vines as they are uploaded here: http://vinepeek.com.
To get started with Vine, you need to get the app. Once you’ve signed into Vine with your Twitter account, you press and hold your touchscreen to record, and release your finger to stop. You can create videos, slideshows and animations, but you only have 6 seconds to work with.
What’s the big idea? With short, focused content, you can instantly engage with a story or a feeling, and share that story easily. You can use Vine to curate and tell stories, which are the cornerstones of content marketing.
Vine is still relatively new, but there are many potential brand applications. Here are just a few to get you started:
1. Demonstrating your product: I am a proud owner of many gadgets, but I also have a strong disdain for reading instructions for a product. As such, I often look online for instructional videos to get a handle on how best to use a product. Take and share Vines of the most commonly asked questions about how to use your product or service. The short timeframe means you might have to break up the demonstration into smaller parts, but this is actually a great way to know EXACTLY which part of your product users are most interested in.
This works especially well for support videos. You can demonstrate what something is and isn’t supposed to look like all within the same 6 second period. You can show troubleshooting videos of how to remove the case from your product, where to find its serial number, or even what an error message is supposed to look like.
2. Teasing your content: Have a big announcement coming up? Have someone interesting or famous coming to your store? Want to tease a web facelift, or some other big change? Shoot a short glimpse of what you’re launching. That short teaser could get enough minds going in overdrive to help push your launch buzz over the top.
3. #Events: Socially enabled events are becoming the norm now, and you can seamlessly integrate Vine into the mix. Since Vine uses your Twitter account, and publishes any tags you add to the Twitter update, you can easily post a feed of Vines that guests at your party are capturing. This is especially valuable for brands that are simulcasting or covering larger events.
4. Brand Transparency: Making connections with brands means knowing more about the people who make that brand great. Fans of Martha Stewart instantly recognize her editors when they contribute to her website, or appear on her radio channel or television segments. Show off the people who make your product or service using short clips.
You can also use Vine to show off where you make your products, catch people on the street using your product, feature special recipes for your product or unusual ways people use your item. Opening your brand up this way makes people feel connected to your company, and you could even inspire a subculture (like Sharpie tattoos).
5. Communicate your Brand Inspiration: You can add a living, moving, sound-enabled mood to blog posts, your Facebook page, your Pinterest channels, and more using Vine. Capture snow-themed Vines for Christmas and red-coloured Vines for Valentine’s Day. Create “brand inspiration” Vines like beautiful sunsets, fireflies, flowers, scarves, kites, sunglasses and more to get across the seasonality of your company, and inspire great shares from your fans.
6. Surprise and delight: Host a real-time contest. Ask your fans to submit Vines to you and then announce the winner in a separate Vine. Live draw a Facebook fan in a Vine. Send a vine @ a Twitter follower with a customized message or song just for that fan. Wish a fan a “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Anniversary.” These personal touches live on, and make great connections for your brand.
7. Mini Ads/Stop-Motion Animations: These are trickier to shoot, and require planning and precision, but amateurs have already begun using Vine for this very purpose. If you want a quick primer on how to create stop-motion animation, you can check out this great primer from Photojojo. (For a simpler idea, consider a slideshow.)
Animations, when executed well, resonate with a broad audience and are often shared well and can spread rapidly. Anything with a twist or a surprise can really get your Vine noticed and shared.
With every new social media platform, there are new opportunities for brands to exercise their creativity and connect with their fans in engaging new ways. Vine, as with Pinterest, can help you set the tone of your brand, and can create powerful connections with your fans.
Getting started with Vine is easy, and you should try a personal account before you investigate its potential for your brand.