vine-greenIn late January 2013, Twitter launched  a new mobile app called Vine. The Vine app is very similar to the Instagram app (a mobile, social, photo-sharing platform) in format and function, except that instead of sharing photos, Vine allows users to share looped, six-second video clips with audio.  (These videos are “looped” in the sense that they continuously repeat like an animated gif.)  Currently, Vine is only available for iPad and iPhone devices.

Get Customers’ Attention

Small businesses that have a social media presence on Twitter should consider creating a Vine account to promote new video content to their current Twitter followers. Compared to plain text and hashtags, videos are more compelling and eye-catching content for Twitter users. Your business could use Vine to showcase your products, services, employees, and location. Remember to make your Vine videos attractive to a broad base of people (not offensive), easy to understand and of value to your potential customers.

Vine As A Standalone Platform

Vine is also a stand-alone application with social sharing and exploring features. Some small businesses may want to create an account with the goal of building a “following of customers” on Vine. Like Instagram, it is possible to build a social platform on Vine where you can share news about your business, and engage and reward customers. One advantage of setting up a Vine account early is that new account creators are looking for people to follow. If you sign up, and link your account to Twitter, you will be found by new users looking for people or businesses to follow.

However since Vine is new, building a following of customers will be a slow process. One obstacle to a quick start is that Facebook is not allowing users to import their Facebook friends or followers into Vine for competitive reasons. Since Vine is owned by Twitter, it is easy to find your Twitter contacts. If you intend to use Vine as a standalone platform to promote your business, you should be prepared to regularly post new video content to your Vine account (at least two or three times a week) to show your followers that you are maintaining an active account.

To Vine or Not To Vine

Marketing and social media experts are already debating whether Vine will become a top tier social media platform on the scale of Instagram, or whether it is a flash in the pan that will fail fast. In its favor, Vine is very simple in design and it is fun to use. Vine provides businesses a new tool to engage a targeted audience in a creative way. In my opinion, Vine is very likely to become another essential tool for social media marketing.

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