Is the six-second video platform exciting and experimental or simply a waste of time? Jessica McGreal investigates if Vine is somewhere B2B marketers should be.
Six months down the line and Twitter’s six-second video phenomenon has already gained 13 million active users. The app has quickly become a popular marketing medium in the B2C world; while B2B brands are still deciding if the social network will play a bigger role in their content marketing plans.
Now available on Android and in the midst of introducing a range of new features, Vine’s social engagement has almost caught up with YouTube uploads on Twitter, according to a new Socialbakers report. Tweeted YouTube videos earn a 0.048 per cent engagement rate on average, while Vine tweets receive 0.031 per cent engagement.
Meanwhile recent research by Unruly showed branded Vines are four times more likely to be shared than branded online videos, with five Vine videos tweeted every second. However, the same study revealed that only four per cent of the top 100
shared Vines were made by brands. Despite clear benefits the majority of brands are still not venturing beyond the traditional social space.
So, what does this recent activity mean for B2B, is Vine a useful social channel, or a platform more suitable for celebrities, teenagers and felines?
Vine’s USP is that it is owned by, and therefore integrated with, the fastest growing social network: Twitter. This means, once you’ve completed your profile, you can find all your Twitter friends. Plus, your videos will be pulled through to Twitter and embedded in your feed allowing followers to instantly watch and share.
The ‘Home’ option is similar to Facebook’s timeline, consisting of videos from your followers, videos you’ve created and liked. The ‘Explore’ tab allows you to search, see what’s popular now and view the trending hashtags. The ‘Activity’ section details your videos, people who have started following you and who has liked your recent Vine posts.
Now you understand the basics, why not start recording? The app works by allowing users to create a six-second looping film. To create a clip, click on the camcorder icon – this will load the device’s camera in video mode. Whenever you tap and hold the screen, Vine will record until the green bar is full at the bottom of the screen. To pause recording, let go of the screen. This stop start method allows marketers to create stop motion footage. Next you can add a caption and share the Vine – simple.
Digital fad or digital fab?
The internet is awash with lists of the ‘top 10 Vines’. While these usually feature college students, cats or celebrities, rather than visuals from business brands, the average age of a Vine user is older than you’d imagine. Data from Adobe Social revealed half of the people who talked about Vine on Twitter were aged 36 and over.
The platform offers an opportunity to tell a story in a different way. With an abundance of content produced every day, marketers need to make their brand stand out from the crowd. A catchy Vine can promote an idea you would never have been able to convey in a photo, blog post or tweet.
However, it’s not all good news. Vine lacks the capacity to boost website SEO ranking. This is because social sites (including Twitter and Facebook) use ‘do not follow’ metatags. As a result, when users share a Vine search engines will not read these posts. This also makes it difficult to watch Vines online away from Twitter.
Best practice tips:
B2B marketers need to have a clear purpose and a simple plan when creating microfilms. Here are some tips to ensure Vine success:
1. Keep your message simple, to the point and use hashtag targeting. It gives your video context and makes sure it gets shared with the right people.
2. Be creative. Vine allows marketers a unique opportunity to be creative. Educate and entertain; demonstrate ‘how to’ guides or visualise ‘case studies’, you can even give your viewers a behind the scenes tour at your company’s office or events.
3. Don’t run out of time. Use your six seconds wisely. Don’t attempt to cram too many clips in one video, it will make it difficult to view.
4. Have fun. It’s often difficult for B2B brands to be experimental and promote their outward persona. Vine gives marketers a rare opportunity to humanise their brand – take advantage of this
Matthew Booth, head of research and development at digital agency, Digital Next remains unconvinced about the benefits of Vine for B2B marketers, saying: “What key messages can you get across in six seconds? I’ve been through the application with a fine-tooth comb and I just can’t see what relevance it has for B2B marketing. I think it’s pretty telling that there are so few people in the industry actually using it consistently.”
While this is true, all social networks begin like this, the value lies in how brands act on the networks, i.e. not being too invasive but fun.
Jeremy Waite, head of social strategy at Adobe, EMEA agrees that marketers should look past the obvious constraints as the first objective with social isn’t about getting prospects to buy, but rather getting them
“The difference between traditional digital marketing and social media is that one is primarily about driving engagement and telling stories, and one is transactional. There is a kind of battle between ‘click to buy’ and ‘click to share’. ‘Click to buy’ is the commercial side of your business. As opposed to ‘click to share’ which is the social and engagement side of the business, that’s where you want to build compelling content for your ‘friends’.”
Taking Waite’s advice is Elliot Miller, marketer at HubSpot. He says: “When it comes to strategy we have used the same methodology with Vine that we do for all our channels. That is, even though we’re B2B marketers, we are people marketing to people. We use Vine to reach the decision makers in a company on a personal level. This involves targeting popular hashtags from Vine’s ‘Explore’ section, and getting creative with the type of videos we post.”
Whatever you do, don’t simply dismiss Vine as an irrelevant channel for B2B without any investigation into it. Video-led marketing is an ever-growing channel that can be integrated into your content marketing strategy.
Facebook recently proved this by adding video to its popular photo app Instagram. Instagram video will offer marketers another opportunity to get creative and tell stories in a new way. As Vine’s direct rival, marketers will need to decide where to focus their time and energy. But do your research, understand where your audience is and if you decided to jump – experiment and remember to have fun.
Watch our latest Vine: