A few years back, I posted 17 styles of Twitter updates for online retailers, from branding to customer care to "transactional" tweets. Absent from that list (because it didn't exist) was micro-video from Vine and Instagram.
The micro-video format has a few different useful applications for brand and ecommerce content marketers, but is still fairly underused, perhaps due to its perceived difficulty to produce good content. But done well, they may be more attention grabbing, persuasive and shareworthy than some of your text-only social updates.
If you're looking for inspiration, experiment with any of the following 9 examples, and keep in mind the 6 tips for maximizing their effectiveness.
Quick lifehacks from brands are smart marketing. Not only are they valuable pieces of content, they may be more likely to be shared by social users who don't want to "spam" friends with marketing.
Lowe's tip on how to keep squirrels away from bird feeders is adorably helpful - just use olive oil.
Of course, cute and furry animals, or babies, are a lock.
Combining product you carry with a lifehack tip is even better. Gutter guards save hours of leaf-cleaning time -- available at Lowe's, of course.
Product Demo (How-To)
What's more engaging - visual demos or written instructions? Can you fit the demo into 6 seconds (or 15 if you're Instagramming)? Good.
Urban Outfitters' hair chalk demo shows how simple it is to get festival-friendly tresses. It not only creates awareness that the product exists, but also demand.
Ditto for this photo-ditto gadget.
Product in Context (In-Use)
Similar to a demo, just showing a product in use can be a selling point. This is highly effective with static images, and can be even more persuasive in video.
This is a no-brainer for apparel, jewelry, utility gadgets, etc. New and unfamiliar products like zipper charms can also benefit from being shown in use.
Another way to show context is to tie a product to a topic or event. In this case, Nordstrom promotes National Cat Day with it's uber-hip M E O W rings.
Nordstrom shows off its new catalog with a rapid-fire flipping through the pages, and an announcement that it's available first through digital/social means.
Other ideas are staff "unboxing" videos, fashion show previews, or to generate pre-order demand.
Nordstrom's humorous take on new Christian Laboutin nail polish packaging edgily grabs attention while showing off the product on the hand.
Whether in-store or online events, showing products on sale in 6 seconds can get more attention than simple text updates with links.
Drive Traffic In-Store
Nordstrom's pop-up shops are Vine-vertised to drive social followers to the event.
Twitter and Facebook contests are popular among brands, adding video can amp up the attention and shares -- especially with a celebrity.
Branding / Value Prop
American Apparel's made-in-LA value proposition is backed up with actual how it's made clips.
Of course, Vine and Instagram videos can serve as a really short commercial. Make it really cool to watch.
Supporting a good cause? Nordstrom creatively announces its support for Young Survival Coalition during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, weaving product into it.
6 Vine (and Instagram) tips for marketers
1. Share on other owned social media (don't forget how easy it is to post your Vines to Facebook, Youtube, your blog, etc)
2. Experiment with calls to action. In your tweet, include links directly to products / content that you reference in your videos
3. Try embedding product-related Vines on your site's home page or product pages (with caution – they can take a performance hit)
4. Signal vs. noise. Know your audience and what will resonate with them, funny or informative trumps generic, self-promotional
5. Don’t rely on sound. Ensure the video is valuable and entertaining without having to enable audio.
6. Measure impact. Notice what types of Vines get most traction for you. Funny? Multiple products shown in rapid succession? Demo of a single product? Lifehack? Keep in mind timing of posting can also impact how many clicks, likes and shares you receive.