Vine is a short-format video messaging platform that was recently acquired by Twitter. It can be downloaded as an app for iPhone and iPad (with an Android version on the way). It enables users to record short, looping videos (I’ll call them “Vignettes”), either recorded in a single take or cut together from small scenes. The total length of these videos is 6 seconds or less. You can think of it like the Instagram of video. After you’ve recorded a Vinette, you have the option to upload it to Vine and share it on Twitter and Facebook. And once it’s up, it’s live. Users worried about sharing videos and metadata with the world need not apply!

Why It’s Important for Brands to Start Using Vine

In less than a week after it launched, Vine had already attracted big name celebrities and brands to the platform. Content ranged from shots of new products to NBA teams warming up to Sir Paul McCartney challenging his audience to name songs based on visual clues. These videos hint at the potential that Vine holds for innovative and creative marketers. As inbound marketers, we know how important video has become, and Vine is a quick and easy way to get into video without having to master the intricacies of file compression and multi-media editing. The short format of Vine also sidesteps the issue of short attention spans and enables brands to jump onto trending topics within minutes, not days.

The Age of GIFs and Vinettes—Next-Level Animated Memes

If you live on the ‘Net and have ventured anywhere near Reddit or similar sites, you may have noticed that the animated GIF has risen from the dead and reached a new level of popularity as a meme platform. The use of GIFs exploded in the mid-90s to the chagrin of aesthetes everywhere, but they quickly fell from favor with dancing baby overload. After dying as slow a death as sparkly Myspace backgrounds, they were practically forgotten. Nowadays they’re being used for everything, from replies in comment sections to snappy jokes. Their use has spawned a wave of websites and Tumblr blogs dedicated to the artform.

You can be sure that in the next six months, some marketers are going to realize that Vine offers them the chance to branch out in the same style. They’ll see that Vine lets them create original meme-like videos, branded “reactions,” and super-short films and high-quality Vinettes in the style of Gus Mantel’s If We Don’t, Remember Me.

Get Started with These Techniques

If you have access to an iPhone or iPad, you’re ready to take advantage of Vine today. Here are a few ideas you can use to get started:

  1. Question / Answer Forum. Engage with your audience by setting up a Q&A session to be conducted completely with Vine. Video is much more personal than text. It will also give you an opportunity to be creative with your answers
  2. Introduce the Team. Since Vinettes are embeddable, instead of the standard photo + blurb team bios, have each team member create a 6-second window into their life with the company. The option to create one long video or a sequence of small cuts gives you a lot of options.
  3. Previews. Feature upcoming events or products with quick teasers.
  4. Master the Art of the 6-second Demo. Since the videos can be made of very short segments, and loop indefinitely, expect a wave of how-to’s to start invading the web.
  5. Use it For Your Brand’s Blog. This is a great way to update your blog with regular content. With Vine, you won’t feel pressure for every post to be a magnum opus.
  6. Embed Secret Messages. Keep in mind that Vinettes can be paused, potentially enabling you to cram in a lot of information somewhere in the video. Have users try to find a particular clue, password, or code. Let your imagination run wild with that one…

Hopefully these ideas will get you started. Do some brainstorming with the team and get used to the format—one way or another a few brands are going to hit pay dirt. An innovate approach will land them a ton of free press, inbound links, and attention. It might as well be you!