Vine: 5 Get-Started Facts For Businesses

Vine makes creating video easy, but using the social video app effectively is not as easy as you think.

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A mobile app that lets users create and post very short, looping video clips -- of 6 seconds or less -- Vine shot out of the gate like a rocket. (Or, grew up the trellis like, um, a vine?) Whatever the metaphor, there is no question that Vine has become very popular, very quickly, and that businesses have a great opportunity to leverage that interest for branding and engagement purposes.

Vine was founded a year ago, and was scooped up by Twitter just months later. Vine debuted as a free app for iOS-based devices in January and quickly became the No. 1 most downloaded free app in the App Store. Just this month, a less full-featured version became available for Android, and that version almost immediately outpaced Instagram in Twitter mentions, according to analytics firm Topsy.

So, why all the fuss, and how can businesses get in on it? Here are five things you need to know about Vine.

1. Vine Is Video For The Masses

Video content is an important tool for businesses looking to engage with their customers on social networks, but it can be daunting to develop. Vine videos follow the Twitter model -- short, sweet and to the point. Users create the video through Vine's in-app camera, and those videos can be immediately shared.

[ Want to take your Twitter presence to the next level? See 10 Twitter Power Tips. ]

2. It's Not As Easy As It Seems

While creating video is easy with Vine, creating interesting, engaging video is hard -- especially when you have only 6 seconds (Rickrolling aberrations aside) to tell your story. Companies need to be careful not to just flood their social channels with Vine videos just because they can -- it's important to match the message with the media. Vine videos that show, for example, an interesting use of a product or a quick how-to will get noticed -- and shared. Vine videos of a talking head echoing some already meaningless promotional content will die on the, well, you know ...

3. Consider Looping Carefully

Vine videos aren't just 6-second videos; they are 6-second looping videos. Take advantage by shooting something that users will want to see over and over (like a cool trick, a hard fall or a cute puppy) or that users will need to see more than once to truly get. (How many cups of flour went into that recipe?)

4. Vine Is A Great Way To Harness More User-Generated Content

Smart organizations are building up their content store -- and their organic marketing reach -- by inviting customers and potential customers to contribute content. People are much more apt to share when the sharing is easy, such as with photos -- Vine makes it just as easy to take and share video.

5. Vine Requires Care And Feeding

Vine is yet another social channel, and, as with any other social network that you decide to develop presence on, it will require resources to ensure that it is updated on an ongoing basis, and to grow and engage with followers. Twitter provides a helpful Vine FAQ that will help you get started and develop your Vine presence, and you can find some examples of Vine videos done right on the Vine Twitter page.

Have you started experimenting with Vine? Do you have a Vine green thumb? What works, what doesn't? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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