By Tasha Cunningham
Busy small business owners are always looking for quick, impactful ways to reach their customers. You’ve no doubt heard about Facebook, YouTube and other sites that provide easy platforms to engage customers online. But have you heard of Vine? It’s a new social media app owned by Twitter, the popular microblogging site where you’ve got 140 characters to get your message to the masses. With Vine, dubbed the Instagram of video by its 13 million users, you can upload and share six-second video clips.
You might be wondering what you can convey to your customers in just six seconds. If you take a cue from major national brands like Lowe’s, Ben & Jerry’s and General Electric, you can engage, educate and entertain your customers in creative ways certain to grab their attention. Here are 10 ways to get started:
1, Demonstrate. Use Vine to show customers how to use your products and services. Big box retailer Lowe’s used Vine to create “Lowe’s Fix in Six” series. Each six-second video clip demonstrated home improvement tricks like removing rust with a lemon juice. Download the Vine app from iTunes and check it out here — https://vine.co/v/bU61aqq2YOp
2. Create a special promotion. Use Vine to increase participation in a special promotion or contest like Ben & Jerry’s did to tell customers about its Free Cone Day. Watch it here: https://vine.co/v/b9QT0WdE2db
3. Share your history. Share an interesting fact about your company’s history. Or tie what you do to a historical event. For example, take a look at what GE did on Thomas Jefferson’s 166th birthday in February: http://vine.co/v/bvXIueMeP6j
4. Display your client work. If you’re creating an amazing product or event for a client, share it by showing six exciting seconds of it.
5. Ask for testimonials. You’ve probably got customers who use Vine. Put the call out for testimonials and ask them to share their experience in a Vine video.
6. Share a good deed. For example, if your business is collecting backpacks for needy children, use Vine to upload a video of your efforts. Show your employees purchasing and filling the backpacks with school supplies. You can even show you customers donating backpacks to the cause.
7. Share the spotlight with your customers. Got loyal customers that deserve recognition? Use Vine to share videos of your customers buying or using your products and services.
8. Increase foot traffic. If you’ve got a brick and mortar store location, use Vine to get people in the door like Urban Outfitters did: http://vine.co/v/bnFHDu3vXOw. The retailer had a live band perform and used Vine to showcase it.
9. Share your production process. For example, if you own a bakery, take customers quickly through what it takes to make your best-selling cupcake or cookie. Invite them to come in for a free sample, too!
10. Spotlight your staff. Use Vine to create fun videos of your staff introducing themselves and revealing something interesting about what they do.The Basics: Here's the six steps to getting started with Vine.
1. Download the Vine app from iTunes
2. Create a Vine account using your current Twitter profile or email address.
3. Start following people interested in your business by going to your profile and clicking the “People” icon at the top right of your screen. As an alternative, go to your account settings and use the “Find People” option.
5. Click on the video camera icon to start recording a video. To record or pause, tap your finger on the screen.
6. When you’ve recorded your video, click “Continue” to share it on Vine, Twitter or Facebook.
For more creative ways to use Vine to promote your business, check out the Starting Gate blog.
Tasha Cunningham is a principal in the Cunningham Group, an award-winning communications firm with offices in Miami and Orlando. She writes this monthly column for Business Monday.