What is it?
Basically, a Twitter-owned video sharing app (currently only available on iOS) that allows you to create six second video clips on your iPhone or iPad and distribute them via Twitter.
Recording a video is easy – tap the camera button, release to stop. If you have a few of your six seconds left, you can tap again and continue recording, allowing you to cut sequences together.
Is it new?
Conceptually, not really, but its specific design and product features mean that it is certainly unique. See Kinoptic and Cinegram for forerunners of Vine, but with the media interest and speculation that follows Twitter, and the likelihood of greater R&D power directed towards ease-of-use, it will most likely steal the limelight.
So how would I use it in B2B marketing?
It may be revealing that the vast majority of easily-found Vine examples so far are either B2C marketing or personal (unsurprisingly mainly featuring cats or babies!). Nonetheless, some top tips and opportunities for Twitter Vine in the B2B world:
1. Look for visual selling points. It perhaps goes without saying that you are looking for something visual, but the point is that where your product has a visual feature, look for ways to demonstrate its place in the market. UpDesk, for example, simply filmed its http://vine.co/v/b5dlwL6IFFT Simple, but it gets the point across. Similarly, Brand Republic took the opportunity to http://vine.co/v/bJpP7ALx1bl, publications’ colourful front covers and of course its websites.
But it’s not just for products. B2B services can also be promoted via Vine, as below…
2. It’s not just about your video – it’s also about your accompanying tweet. Context is being hailed as the new King of Marketing, deposing Content, and nowhere will this be more typified than in Vine Tweets. For instance, at first sight, http://vine.co/v/b5PUVEEE9tn. Read the context though and GE has actually used Vine to put forward an important core message.
3. Allow your (company’s) personality to come through. This is most likely to be the way that B2B brands – who often find it harder to create genuine outward personas for themselves as opposed to their B2C cousins – will use Vine in the short term. Just look at this example from http://vine.co/v/b5dOK5Etp7F. It might not be the most insightful of ‘getting to know you’ videos, but it gives you the idea, and you can bet there will be plenty more where this came from, especially from other creative agencies:
4. Last one, and probably the most important – consider everything an opportunity. Two examples:
i) Events are perfect for Vine. Imagine drumming up interest pre-exhibition and releasing a set of short clips showing your spokesperson rehearsing a seminar presentation, your stand being built, the products you’ll be demoing and whatever free goodies you are inevitably giving out. It’s certainly more interesting than a “Come and see us on stand #123. We’ve got chocolate!” OK, maybe not enormously so, but it’s a start! Look out at TFM&A in a few weeks for plenty of examples, I’m sure! The point is, most B2B brands do actually do something visual and entertaining everyday – there is plenty of opportunity, such as...
ii) Case studies. In 6 seconds?! OK, here’s an example… One of the directors of an ERP software business goes on a client site visit. He sees the warehouse in full action, films 6 seconds of forklifts, conveyor belts and pallets, tweets it to the few hundred followers of the corporate account with the message, “Our software did that”... Marketing could then even follow it up with a tweet promoting a full downloadable case study for that customer…
So it seems there is potential in Vine for B2B marketing. Among the good points is the excuse to focus more on creativity – Dom Hofmann, Vine's co-founder, even stated, “We believe that constraint inspires creativity, whether it's through a 140-character Tweet or a six-second video". There will be many B2B brands who claim that Vine cannot be used for their brand because “what we sell doesn’t translate well on video” – I can only refer you to the GE example above. Define a core message and be imaginative in ways to illustrate it.
The flipside is that all of this may be pointless! It may turn out to be a classic example of B2B marketing focusing on the latest shiny gizmo and simply performing activity, not delivering value. As with many visual, on-trend media and especially new social media, pursued in the name of “creativity”, Vine in the B2B world runs the risk of spawning a variety of viral stunts that don’t generate value or communicate a real proposition.
Of course, it’s early days. It remains to be seen if Vine Tweets deliver a greater degree of response (and ideally engagement beyond just the “response” stage) than usual Twitter activity, and if this increased response continues past the hype’s inevitable decay. If so, then perhaps value, even of a pound note variety, can be shown. Until then, I would recommend experimenting, publishing, monitoring and refining – funnily enough, just like any other marketing activity!