More than one in three retailers use the Vine micro-video publishing app as part of their content marketing campaigns. These short-video marketing pioneers use Vine to showcase products, entertain, build brand, engage shoppers, and even offer basic customer service.
In its Social Commerce IQ Retail 2013 report, 8th Bridge, a social media platform, found that 38 percent of about 800 (mainly larger) retailers analyzed published videos on Vine. Vine is a free app for iOS and Android that allows users to publish six-second videos. Vine usage is still far behind Facebook. But many merchants believe that the six-second cinema is a valuable marketing tool.
Even very small businesses can use Vine for at least five marketing goals.
Use Vine to Showcase Products
Vine videos, which can be easily captured using an iPhone or an Android-powered mobile device, can be used to view products, giving shoppers an animated product preview.
These Vine-powered product videos may be as simple as a 360-degree view of an item or a stop-motion masterpiece that shows off several products in a category.
Net-A-Porter, the fashion retailer, used the latter approach to show off a number of its trendy women’s shoes. The Vine video was posted to Net-A-Porter’s Twitter feed and was shared several times on other social media networks.
In another Vine video, Net-A-Porter focused on its Pashli handbags, which sell for $650 to $825. The Vine video again used stop-motion photography to demonstrate how versatile and attractive the product is.
Vine videos are also easy to embed in any website; they may be used directly on product detail or category pages.
Use Vine to Entertain or Inform
Vine videos can be mesmerizing to watch. Entertaining ones will be shared repeatedly, potentially extending a merchant’s exposure to new customers. These short videos can also be used to provide good useful information.
For example, Nordstrom, the multi-channel retailer, published a Vine showing how to knot a tie. The short post appeared on more than a few social networks, and had about 140 likes directly on Vine.
Videos like this one might be used as blog posts, embedded directly on one or more product detail pages, and shared in social media. Threadless, an online retailer specializing in crowd-designed t-shirts, frequently publishes entertaining Vines, like its July 2013 Hulk-themed oddity. The Vine, it is worth nothing, actually featured one of the shirts for sale on the Threadless site.
Use Vine to Build Brand
Where ecommerce marketing is concerned, Vine may be best at helping to build brand, since it can give shoppers a better idea about what a merchant stands for. Often marketers want to convey a particular message or worldview to shoppers.
Threadless wants to appeal to young people. So it produced a Vine video showing a couple of employees skateboarding in the Threadless warehouse. The six-second film shows Threadless shoppers that the company values the skateboarding community, and, in fact, is an active participant in that community.
As another example, consider American Apparel. The company is known, in part, for its wide range of basic clothing that is made in the United States. On Vine, American Apparel often shows off its Los Angeles-based manufacturing facility. Shoppers who see the Vines are reminded that American Apparel has made a significant investment in American workers.
Along with a focus on American-made products, American Apparel is often involved in social and political issues that are important to its customers. The company recently posted a Vine with Olympian Jennifer Kessy in support of Principle Six of the Olympic Charter, stating that any form of discrimination “is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.” Principle Six was a hot topic during the recent Sochi Olympics because of Russia’s restrictions on homosexual relationships.
Use Vine to Engage Customers
Like almost any social media platform, Vine can also be used as a way to engage potential customers. Shoppers, as an example, can post Vine videos of their own in response to requests from merchants or as part of a marketing contest. Shortly after Vine was released, ASOS, a multi-channel fashion retailer, asked its customers to post videos on Vine of un-boxing a product shipment and use the hashtag #ASOSUnbox.
Savvy ecommerce marketers could encourage similar posts with hashtags or even run a contest or offer. Perhaps any shopper who posts a product-related Vine can get 10 percent off of their next order. Or maybe the best customer-posted Vine of the week earns a $25 gift card.
Use Vine for Customer Service
Vine’s short-format videos may also be used for very basic customer service or frequently asked questions. As an example, Net-A-Porter recently posted a Vine showing off its new mobile app.
Online retailers might also use a Vine to show users how to process a return or how to find order history.