What is it?
Launched in 2013, Vine is a short-form video sharing service with more than 40 million registered users. Despite its status as a relative newcomer to the world of social media, the free smartphone app is already gaining ground. What makes Vine so popular is that it gives users of any skill level a fun and accessible way to record and share clever videos, 5-6 second looping clips called vines. Vines can be directly captured in the app and then published to the Vine social network, where users can browse them. Vines are shared through loops and revines; the former is similar to a Facebook like, and the latter is akin to a Facebook share. Since Vine is owned by Twitter, hashtags can be added to vines, and there are built-in options to post vines on other social media sites. Vine also operates a website where vines can be uploaded, posted, searched, and viewed.

Who can benefit?
Ideally, those using Vine should approach the 6 second time limit as a challenge rather than a limitation. Businesses should embrace this mentality and understand how to respect their customers’ time. The length of vines, though, means reduced time expenditure, so any business working with a limited budget would find Vine to be a simple social media marketing solution. For those businesses already invested in social media, Vine is an excellent way to boost content marketing success, because vines are four times more likely to be shared than other forms of video. Additionally, the app has not completely taken off with businesses yet, so those that do have a Vine presence usually generate buzz. Any business interested in extending brand reach, increasing brand recognition, and entertaining audiences would find Vine to be an attractive solution. The most important factor to consider, however, is Vine’s user demographics. The app’s users are mainly teens and millennials, the largest age bracket being 18-20. Thus, businesses whose target market falls into this demographic would benefit the most from Vine.

How can businesses use it?
Most Vine users produce short-form comedy or stop-motion animation content, which is generally cross-promoted across other social media channels. Businesses should aim to produce such amusing content, so long as it is relevant, and share it in a similar manner.

Vines can highlight or present products in appealing ways that are not explicitly promotional, such as a clip of the product being used creatively or to solve a problem. Followers love clips that share quick product tips and tricks as well as useful DIY information. Through stop-motion animation, vines can quickly show how a product compares to its competitors in performance, appearance, or other qualities. If a product comes in a special kind of packaging, then vines can be made to show how it should be unwrapped or unboxed. Teasers for new products, product redesigns, and business updates can be released as vines, which might even link viewers to a company website.

Such teasers could even be turned into contests, in which a randomly selected person who revines or retweets a vine can win a featured product. Engaging customers like this is a great goal to achieve with Vine. Followers can be encouraged to create quality vines and to post them on Twitter with branded hashtags; the best vines can be retweeted by the business. Focus group-type input can even be accomplished by posting vines of various product designs and asking followers to vote on their favorites by looping or revining. Vines of company events can be recorded to give followers sneak peeks, or invites for events such sales and webinars could be sent via vines. Other Vine content should be generated based on the broader interests of a business’s followers.

The app is also an awesome tool for developing brand personality. A series of vines can tell a brand’s story or showcase its history, both of which set businesses apart from their competitors. A business can give customers an idea of its culture by vining a behind-the-scenes look of cool office interiors or short, funny clips of employees. Vines can even share historical, industry-related trivia that might interest fans.