Toeing the Vine Line

The great thing about the smartphone is that it can be used anywhere, and can now be considered one of the key channels for marketers. Nowhere is this truer than here in the UK, a nation which, according to Ofcom, recently usurped Japan as the largest consumer of mobile data globally. And, at last count, Ofcom also found that smartphone penetration is at 58 per cent, whilst 19 per cent of the UK population has a tablet device, figures that are most likely already outdated and rapidly rising.

So what does this mean for marketers? Marketers need to embrace change in their landscape. It is not good enough just to run a digital marketing campaign; it needs to work as well on mobile as it does on desktop, and make use of the most up-to-date technologies. Until social media took its place on the marketing agenda, the digital marketer mainly relied upon text to convey any messaging. Social has changed the way we communicate, and now we use text, sound, pictures and video; the modern marketers toolbox.

Faster decisions

It is often the brands that can grasp the capabilities of new marketing technologies that reap the greatest benefits and, with giant multinational corporations having the resources to invest heavily in marketing, they can be perceived as dominating the field.

However, an SME’s secret weapon is speed. Everything that SMEs need to compete is at their fingertips, and they are able to make faster decisions than larger corporations. The ability to create content in any format is now universal. Beyond this, products for mobile website design, programmes to manage content-based email campaigns and, significantly, social media accounts, are all easily available at zero or low cost.

Take Vine, Twitter’s proprietary service, which enables users to upload short, six-second videos. Vine may have been met with mixed reviews, and will have its teething problems, but there is no doubt that it represents yet another opportunity for marketers. Sharing video content online is not a revolution, but then again, neither was sharing photos, yet Instagram changed the way people and brands looked at that. Content marketing is at the top of any marketer’s agenda and Vine will be video’s Instagram.

Simplifying vine
With that in mind, we have come up with some tips which we believe will help SMEs get the best out of Vine.

Firstly, watch the tutorial. It’s built into the app, it’s free and it explains how to use the application. If you haven’t spent a few minutes learning how to use Vine, you probably aren’t using it correctly.

Secondly, experiment. This new channel calls for businesses to try new things. For example, if you are launching a new service, you might want to show a before and after shot within the video, so that customers can easily and quickly understand what value they will get from it.

Don’t spam. Every new user on Vine thinks this is their opportunity to achieve social media stardom, and consequently we’re seeing swathes of hashtags and inaccurate descriptions on Vine. If you are using Vine for marketing, you want to ensure that everything you do can only positively impact your brand. There’s a general etiquette to hashtagging, learn it and remember that once you’ve lost a customer, it is very difficult to get them back.

Brand your videos. You have six seconds to make a video; saving half a second for a brand logo and call to action could be the difference between just providing great content and actually making a sale.

Finally, extend the reach. So you’re posting on Vine and consequently on Twitter. Why does the reach of your content stop there, and why should it only be found by those on Twitter and Vine? Use an email client that enables you to link your social media campaigns and print QR codes to your videos to ensure that everything you publish via Vine is automatically posted to all your social media channels. The joy of digital marketing is integration, don’t waste the opportunity.

Ryan Higginson is vice president, Digital Channel & Supplies Europe at Pitney Bowes

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