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How would you use six seconds of looping short-form video to engage your customers?

Businesses have been coming up with creative and interesting ways of answering that question using Vine, a Twitter-owned mobile app that has been making waves ever since it launched earlier this year.

Though many speculated about the demise of the social network after the launch of Instagram Video, it's becoming increasingly clear that Vine continues to serve its own niche and offers enough of a different experience to indicate that it’s not going away anytime soon.

Oh, and it just hit 40 million users.



After doing a bit of digging, we found some interesting ways that small businesses can start putting Vine into their arsenal of social media tools for effective customer engagement.

1. Influencer Marketing

When it comes to user-generated content, it’s useful to keep the 1% rule in mind, which states that of all users, 90% consume, 9% edit, and 1% actively create new content. Tapping into the 1% of a platform’s most popular users could mean getting your brand or product exposed to millions of individuals.

The idea of tapping into Vine’s most popular users to create branded or sponsored content was so interesting that social media maven Gary Vaynerchuk actually started a talent agency called Grape Story to represent Vine “stars” and connect them with brands.

Be sure to visit the sites vinebox.co and seenive.com to scope out the top 100 “Viners” as well as trending content and tags.

Check out how Virgin Mobile USA teamed up with Brandon Calvillo to promote “Virgin Mobile Freefest 2013”.

2. A Behind the Scenes Look

Oftentimes customers form a sense of intimacy, dependency, and identity with the products and services they consume, an opportunity that can sometimes go overlooked by the companies that create or sell them.

However, recognizing that your customers may want to learn more about the inner workings of your business and its people and creating content that makes that possible can be an effective way to engage and build your audience.

Check out this behind the scenes Vine courtesy of the Weather Channel.

3. Snappy How-to Videos

Does your product require assembly? Do you have to provide instructions on how to use your product? Or are you a lifestyle brand that provides a fresh take on old problems?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, perhaps you should consider creating a 6-second how-to video on Vine.

The hashtag #howto is one of the top trending tags on all of Vine and can prove to be a handy way to get prospective customers to give your offering a try.

One company that’s leading the way in this category is Lowes. Mashable even wrote an entire post highlighting their Vine strategy.

Check out one of our favourites from Lowes (WARNING: If you’re afraid of squirrels, this might not be for you.)

4. Stop Motion Ads

If you have internal creative resources or are willing to cough up a little more money to work with a freelancer or agency, than you can be well on your way to having your own stop motion video promoting your brand.

NPR’s post earlier this month featured Jethro Ames, an art director at an ad agency who produces Vines for the likes of GE, MTV, Coffee Bean and Team Leaf on the side.

One of our favourites is the one he created for MTV inspired by Snoop Lion’s track “No Guns Allowed”.

5. Highlighting Product Features

Perhaps you're looking to showcase something particular about a product you sell or a feature that your customers may not know about yet. Using Vine to highlight a product’s features is a great way to create desire while being entertaining at the same time.

Carmaker Opel does a great job showcasing all the colors its vehicles come in through the Vine below.

6. 1-to-1 Customer Interaction

A fancier way to put it might be a “real-time marketing response campaign”, but it’s definitely one of the ways automaker Honda seems to be getting some serious social media props.

The company’s campaign is called #wantnewcar and is a means to promote its ”Summer Clearance Sales Event”, where a prospective customer tweets them stating why they would like a new car and the company responds back with a personalized Vine video response.

The Vine below is one of our favorite responses Honda created.

7. Run Video Contests

Though there’s been much talk about running contests on platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, some brands are also seeing big wins with Vine.

One of our favourite examples is Urban Outfitters pairing up with Converse to run a contest called #yourchucks. Those with the best Vine videos were entered to win a number of goodies. Check out one of the entries below:

The examples above should get you started generating some ideas about how you can apply Vine to your business. And if you're ever feeling stuck or need some more inspiration be sure to check out Brands on Vine. Also, we'd love to hear how you're using Vine to engage your audience in the comments below.


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