4 Tips for Brands Using Vine

Is Vine the next hot thing online, or just a fleeting fad that will soon burn out?

No one can know how the new social media video tool will fare in the app-eat-app world of the Internet, but one thing is certain: brands are jumping at this marketing opportunity.

Vine is the Instagram of streaming video. Instead of pictures, the app allows you to share brief video snippets with your social network. Very brief video snippets: videos on Vine are no longer than 6 seconds.

As soon as it debuted, Vine was quickly embraced. Its tendrils have spread all over Twitter, where videos linked to hashtags sprouted up all over the social site. The marketing potential was soon embraced by several clever brands right away.

For example, Wheat Thins quickly created a video linked to a tweet, which linked to their pricey Super Bowl commercial.

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Just 9 hrs left people. ‘RT’ this tweet until San Francisco is victorious. #SF #MUSTHAVEWHEATTHINS vine.co/v/bJuMOpP6mKe

— Wheat Thins (@WheatThins) January 27, 2013

This is a perfect example of how the Vines of marketing work: hook customers with the video, draw them into conversation with Twitter, and the rest will follow.

A 6-second video might be the perfect length for any sort of marketing. It’s quick enough to hold short-lived attention spans, and just enough time to send a very simple message. Simple messages are the easiest to remember, and that’s perfect when you want to forge a memory in the mind of a customer.

The hard part of making a 6-second video is making yours stand out.

How Brands Are Using Vine

Here’s a look at some videos brands have posted, and why these make sense (or don’t) for those particular brands.

Perhaps the most unexpected brand on this list is GE. But, they’ve already done an awesome job with visual storytelling on both Instagram and Pinterest.

Imagination. Invention. Innovation. #IWantToInventvine.co/v/bnj0a72rbqD — General Electric (@generalelectric) February 7, 2013

This simple use of stop motion animation is interesting to watch and definitely gets their brand message across.

What we #imagine, we can make happen. vine.co/v/bnMn1VH7JTL

— General Electric (@generalelectric) February 6, 2013

Fashion brands using visual marketing is a no-brainer. They embraced Pinterest, Instagram, and now with Vine, retailers and fashion magazines they can actually show fashion in motion. The above example from Fashionista.com lets fans get a real-time glimpse of a fashion show.

Tracy Antonopolous performing at Timo vine.co/v/bnITEeAH1gX — Fashionista.com (@Fashionista_com) February 7, 2013

Dove has only posted two videos so far, but their initial video is clever. This is a great example of how to take what may seem like a brand that won’t lend itself well to video, and make it visually interesting.

Our #firstpost on Vine! Definitely a strike, thanks to some last pin #magic. vine.co/v/b52z6ljw1F1

— Dove (@Dove) January 25, 2013

Gap has been using Vine to create quick ads. This one works pretty well since it’s colorful and playful, but brands should avoid creating nothing but videos that feel too much like TV spots.

What shoes do you plan to wear with The 1969 Skimmer? #gap #denimevolved vine.co/v/bnbh3VtrUHH — Gap (@Gap) February 5, 2013

Don’t Get Tangled up in the Marketing Vines

Many major brands have already created Vines. More videos sprout every hour. So how can you make your message stand out, make sense, and drive customers to take action?

Here are some steps to take you if you want to create your own Vine for your brand:

1. Decide on your message.

2. Now simplify it. You’ve got to convey it clearly in a very short amount of time.

3. Give customers something to do, a way to act. Should they visit your twitter profile? Website? Post a special tweet? Are you promoting a contest, an event, a new product?

4. Now find a way to convey your message visually. Once you’ve got that figured out, you’re ready to create a Vine and spread your message all over social media.

While a 6-second ad may seem implausible at first, consider this: 5 seconds is the standard amount of time YouTube users have to wait before skipping ads to get to content. The most relevant information in any ad should appear in the first 5 seconds anyway; this is the “hook”. If your Vine video grabs attention, then it’s a success.

Best of all, Vine’s potential is practically limitless because it is accessible to so many Internet users. It’s just as easy to engage with Vine on T-Mobile no-contract phones as it is on high-end laptops.

Do you think Vine is a fad or a potential game changer? Which brands do you think are using Vine well so far?

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