140 Characters are Nice but a Vine is worth 1,000 Words
The phenomenon of user generated video began in 2005 with the introduction of YouTube. YouTube will retain its rightful place as the platform that started it all but there are new alternatives each with its own kind of quirky reason for being. One such newcomer that has burst on the scene is Vine.
Vine is a video sharing application that was bought by Twitter last fall. Vine can be downloaded onto any smartphone, or tablet running either Apples iOS or Google’s Android operating system. So what is so unique about Vine, exactly? It’s the fact that Vines are super short 6 second video clips. A neat little feature of Vine is that it easily integrates with your Twitter feed. So anyone following you on Twitter will easily find your Vines. This means your current Twitter followers are a built in audience of sorts. It is tempting to say that these 6 second micro bursts of content appear to be far too short to be a communication tool. If the success of Twitter doesn’t bust that myth consider that our average attention span continues to shrink every time we look at our mobile devices. Vine will likely provide more than enough time to get a quick message out there to your audience.
News, sports and entertainment has already mastered communicating in seconds. ESPN can cover a dozen sports updates in a minute scrolling on the bottom of the screen while the user’s main attention remains focused on the main story. What’s to stop Vine’s 6 second message from being seen the same way? So how does it actually work? Twitter Vine videos are created using your mobile device. Once finished sharing takes place by embedding directly into tweets, or shared via a separate webpage. In this regard Vine is faithful to social networking roots. There are many ways to access Vine Content including public content being provided by editors.
As with anything new there is going to be some rough content. In the first few days the un-moderated content produced some NSFW videos prompting Apple to pull it from the app store. Vine instituted the equivalent of an NC-17 rating system cautioning users they may be exposed to objectionable content. The move follows other platforms such as tumblr which suffered from the same undesirable use. Vine through the connection with Twitter was able to take extra measures such as blocking certain hashtags from accessing Vine content. While they search for a practical solution marketers entertaining use of vine need to accept the fact that there is no failsafe method in place to prevent such occurrences from taking place.
So now that we have a basic understanding of what Vine is, how can we use it? A small deli in Pennsylvania is using Vine effectively to communicate with their Twitter followers. These are images of the Vines located on their Twitter page. This family owned business is using Vine to create a video journal of their daily food prep. Vine is another “pipe” if you will through which your social content can flow. Right now we’re seeing that most Vines are still one way trips. Sponsors push content and it’s is consumed by their followers. If this mom and daughter team wanted to put a little more of a charge into their Vines, they can consider asking their followers to engage with them using a variety of promotional tactics. At a grass roots level, they could offer cash incentives to view content or retweet it. Since they are a retailer the proof can be presented as simply as showing a store employee the evidence on your mobile device. Sweepstakes and contests can be employed as well and after a little creative experimentation 6 seconds is more than enough time to create a call to action. Hey follow us on twitter and get a chance to win a free lunch, something as simple as that. You tweet out the promotion details and provide links to a landing page, rules, and registration page if desired.
Vines can be used to casually communicate literally any message you can dream up. When you take an extra step to introduce a promotion you’ll need to abide by the same principles that you would use in any social media promotion. If you are using a cash incentive make sure you do have some rules of the road in the form of terms and conditions. You’ll want to maintain control over the offer particularly redemption of something that potentially creates a financial liability. The small business can control the outcome of a promotion by hands on involvement, when it scales up you will need to put some structure in place. So making sure the organization from top to bottom understands the offer, how it gets redeemed etc.to prevent any issues. Using Vine to run a chance promotion like a sweepstakes will mean you need to think about legal and compliance issues, the same as you would using any other media platform. Professionally prepared official rules will bring clarity to the promotion, notably who can participate, when it begins and ends, the prizes to be won and other important details you’ll need to document. If you choose to use Vine for a contest it becomes another form of entry mechanism. Just like any other UGC contest there will need to be some attention given to what content is actually being submitted to make sure it does not violate any trademark guidelines.
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