How to Grow Your Small Business Using Vine (Just Like the Big Guns Do)

Vine became the most downloaded free app in the App Store within three months of its January release, reports. Nine months later, dozens of companies from General Electric to Nabisco to Target are using it to promote their brands, and Dunkin’ Donuts and Trident have even released the first Vine-length TV commercials. Why are corporate advertisers so enthusiastic about the app? And how can smaller businesses use Vine to promote their own e-commerce interests?

How Vine Works

Vine helps users on smartphones and tablets create, edit and share videos. Its in-app camera captures videos up to 6.5 seconds in length, and then Vine loops the resulting clip. Users can then share clips with other users of Vine, Twitter and Facebook.

Vine’s creators settled on its six-second, looping format after experimentation. They found six seconds was just long enough to allow aesthetic expression, while looping kept the short format from feeling anti-climactic. The result has given Vine a distinct stop-animation feel that stands out from other video-sharing tools that allow longer clips (think Instagram).

Use Vine to Build Your Brand

Small businesses can emulate the big corporate guns by using Vine to build their brand. recommends using videos like Vines on social media to highlight customer stories. It’s free word-of-mouth marketing and keeps your online presence up to date. Other businesses are creating short video content to reach a certain demographic. For instance, Samsung reached out to international audiences by capitalizing on the world’s favorite sports, such as cricket in India. In the United States, Samsung reached football and basketball audiences simultaneously by featuring LeBron James in this year’s Super Bowl ad. The company followed up with a Vine ad featuring an animated James leaping through several Samsung devices to make a slam dunk. Just as Samsung used this ad to connect with its target demographic, small businesses can create clips to reach their intended audiences.

Vine also works for rebranding. For instance, GoDaddy recently distanced themselves from their focus on hot models to win over female entrepreneurs. The company’s latest ad campaign features a new tagline presented by action star Jean-Claude Van Damme through a series of humorous spots where he does various things, such as playing the bongos while doing a split. Vine clips loop Van Damme performing such actions.

Attract Vine Followers

Another marketing application of Vine is attracting followers. Trident’s new Vine ad leverages this strategy by featuring popular musician Nicholas Megalis, who has more than two million Vine followers, along with fellow Vine musical celebrity Rudy Mancuso. By tapping into Megalis and Mancuso’s following, Trident instantly broadcasts its ad to new audiences. Small businesses can do the same by partnering with users of Vine, Facebook and Twitter who have followers in their target markets or by developing their own following.

Vine as an Advertising Tool

Vine’s ability to build brands and attract followings makes it a powerful advertising tool. Companies are paying some popular Vine users as much as $10,000 to create six-second clips for their audiences, Ad Age reports. Small businesses that take the time to attract their own Vine following can build a valuable advertising platform at minimal cost.

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