You've mastered Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and YouTube. You've figured out Pinterest. But are you using Vine or Instagram video in your small business marketing yet?
If not, you probably should be. But not to worry: Posting videos to Vine or Instagram is about as easy as it gets. And it can pay off by helping you get closer to your customers in ways that other social media networks can't.
"A small business should consider any marketing tool that makes the cash register ring," says Greg Jarboe, president and co-founder of SEO-PR and author of YouTube and Video Marketing: An Hour a Day. "Can Vine or Video on Instagram do that? Yes, they can. And a whole lot more cost-effectively than stapling flyers to telephone poles or wearing a sandwich board on the street corner."
Here's what you need to know to take advantage of these two new, free, easy-to-use, and effective marketing tools.
Vine: The Back Story
Using Vine, you can shoot videos on your smartphone up to six seconds long. You can share them with other Vine app users as well as post them to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Vine videos play in a continual loop within the app. The six-second limitation is in keeping with Twitter, with its famous 140-character cut-off. You can add a caption to your Vine videos with hashtags and @mentions; add a location via Foursquare; and post your video to any of 15 "channels," such as "Comedy," "Cats," "Dogs," "Health & Fitness," and "Sports."
After its release, Vine quickly rocketed in popularity. Within five months of the iPhone app launch, Vine received 13 million downloads. It's become so popular, Vine has already become a verb, as in "Let's Vine it!" To get a taste for Vine videos, check out CNET's collection of Vine marketing videos.
Instagram Video: The Back Story
This being Instagram, you can apply special-effects filters to your videos. Along with posting to Instagram, you can share videos on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, and in email.
Though Vine continues to be wildly popular, Instagram's new video feature threatened to wither Vine, at least initially. The day before the Instagram video feature debuted, some 2.5 million Vine links were shared, according to Topsy, a Web analytics company. The next day, only about 1.5 million Vine links were shared.
Check out five Instagram video examples on Mashable from companies such as Burberry and Lululemon.
Worth mentioning: For additional exposure, consider embedding your Vine and Instagram videos on your blog or website. Laptop magazine has an article on how to embed Vine videos, and CNET offers details on how to embed Instagram videos.
Why Use Vine or Instagram Video?
"Vine and Instagram are excellent channels to build brand awareness and exposure while increasing your audience and growing your community," notes Jayson DeMers, founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, an SEO, social media, and guest blogging service.
The two channels "play a similar role to YouTube videos and other social media content, but they differ in the sense that they're designed solely for use on mobile devices via apps," DeMers adds. "This distinction means that their content is largely more personal, as opposed to YouTube and other Web-based social media channels that host content ranging from amateur to professional."
Vine and Instagram target a mobile, ad-hoc, amateur niche, DeMers says. "This appeals to a wide range of users and can help 'humanize' a brand image by participating within these channels."
"Sometimes people are intimidated by full-length videos," Totka says. "Either they don't have the time or attention to devote to something that's a few minutes, or even 30 seconds, in length. Vine or Instagram videos are always very brief by design, so people are more likely to click 'play.' The length limits also allow for more creativity, so Vine and Instagram videos tend to be more interesting and viewer-friendly."