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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

5 Ways to Use Vine for Business

I will first have to admit that I've only briefly explored Vine, so this is very much a first impression. However, I liked what I saw and think that it will expand the way that we think about video.

Other than the ethereal whispers that I heard of it on Twitter, the first real exposure I had was Ann Handley's review over at Marketing Profs. She’s got her finger to the pulse of content creation, so I figured it was worth looking into.

I don’t think that Vine stands alone as a social network. It doesn't allow for enough navel-gazing because you literally have to point the camera at something else. Of course, you can still take video of your food (or how to make it) but without an easy way to video yourself I don’t see it as a platform for conversations in 6-second snatches. Plus, since it’s linear media, you can’t go back and edit down to the perfect short expression (if you've ever spent 10 minutes editing a tweet, you know what I mean).

If producing videos with Vine does not necessarily mean distributing them to a Vine network, then what’s the point? For me, it’s not the platform that looks most interesting, it’s actually the App, the tool with which you create your videos. Vine works differently than other video recordings because there is no “Rec” button, it only records as long as you are touching the screen.

The real power of Vine isn't in creating 6-second videos. It’s in using your 6 seconds to capture multiple snippets of video (animated GIF style) that work in a bigger context. Taking advantage of the quick start/stop ability within the same clip means you can capture something that could take a rather long time.

This is why Vine is interesting to me.

Professional video looks good because non-linear editing can take multiple shots and stitch them together. Because of this, the video can be planned - what should the composition be, how should the lighting be set up, which angles should be used. Then more footage than is needed can be shot and editing finds and uses the best pieces. (I should say, this is skilled work and having been around some good video producers I realize that I’m oversimplifying their work.)

Vine doesn't have editing capabilities but it allows for ‘non-linear shooting.’ Now, the consumer can do the same kind of planning and use Vine’s unique capture method to get multi-shot flexibility. Suddenly, you have to think about things more of the technical aspects of video, and I believe that will raise the overall level of competency (for those that take it serious). Admittedly, you cannot take the best few seconds from multiple takes, but you can quickly throw away takes that don’t work and hone in on what does.

What does this mean for business?

Well, I think that artists are going to take the lead with Vine because it gives them a lot of room for expression. But, business can take advantage of the format too.

  1. Product Videos - There have already been a few examples of companies showing products with Vine. It’s definitely less polished than what a professional video company can do, but it puts tools closer to the front-line to get video created. And, it could have potential for user-generated product videos.
  2. Culture Videos - Company culture has become a significant driver of customer loyalty and recruiting. Vine can provide a simple way to share some of the “who” behind the corporate walls.
  3. Social Content - Vine provides another tool you can use to create more content that’s easy to push out to social channels. It can be ephemeral and light, something that captures a moment and then disappears as the stream continues.
  4. User-generated Content - Customers can generate videos at the point of interaction with a business. Or in other situations where they are using a product. It may not be spontaneous but smart businesses could find some interesting ways to use this.
  5. Advertising - Is this the rise of the 6-second spot? Short video ads that can be promoted to other social channels.
A few things that you’ll want to keep in mind

  • Looped videos - You can’t think linearly because your video isn't going to get to stop at the end. It will repeat forever (unless you touch or click to pause it). Think about how it’s going to look the second time through.
  • Sound of Silence - Sound does get captured with your video. Even if you stay quiet, you’ll have the white noise of video. However, it seems that videos embedded on the Web default to ‘mute’ so you might not want to count on your voice-over to convey your point.
  • Video off Vine - While you can distribute your video within the Vine app, it seems that the expected distribution channel is through Twitter. (Caution: If you don’t post it at the point of creation, you don’t get the option later.) If you do tweet out your video, you can then grab the URL and embed it. Or, you can use the local copy on your phone and upload it to YouTube (Vine’s vertical video doesn’t look great in YouTube’s horizontal player though.)
I’ve browsed around the Vine app’s curated tags to see what people were doing. If you have the app, I recommend spending a bit of time scrolling around. Look at the good, look at the bad, and decide if it’s something you think would be worth trying out for yourself.