How would you use six seconds of looping, short-form video to engage your customers?
Businesses have been coming up with creative and interesting ways to answer that question using Vine, a Twitter-owned mobile app that has been making waves ever since it launched this year.
Though many speculated about the demise of the social network after Instagram Video launched, it has becoming increasingly clear that Vine continues to serve its niche, and offers a different-enough experience to indicate that it won’t go away anytime soon.
Oh, and it just hit 40 million users.
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Here are some interesting ways small businesses can use Vine for effective customer engagement:
1. Influencer marketing
When it comes to user-generated content, keep the 1 percent rule in mind. The 1 percent rule states that of all users, 90 percent consume, 9 percent edit and 1 percent actively create new content. Tapping into that 1 percent of a platform’s most popular users could mean getting your brand or product exposed to millions of individuals.
The idea of tapping into Vine’s most popular users to create branded or sponsored content was so interesting that social media maven Gary Vaynerchuk actually started a talent agency called Grape Story to represent Vine “stars” and connect them with brands.
Check out how Virgin Mobile USA teamed up with Brandon Calvillo to promote Virgin Mobile Freefest 2013.
2. A behind-the-scenes look
Oftentimes customers form a sense of intimacy, dependency and identity with the products and services they consume. This is an opportunity companies can sometimes overlook.
Recognizing that your customers may want to learn more about the inner workings of your business and creating content that makes that possible can be an effective way to engage and build your audience.
Check out this behind-the-scenes Vine courtesy of the Weather Channel.
3. Snappy how-to videos
Does your product require assembly? Do you have to provide instructions on how to use your product? Are you a lifestyle brand that provides a fresh take on old problems?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, perhaps you should consider creating a how-to video on Vine.
The hashtag #howto is one of the top trending tags on Vine, and can be a handy way to get prospective customers to try your product.
One company that’s leading the way in this category is Lowes. Mashable even wrote an entire post highlighting its Vine strategy.
Check out one of our favorites from Lowes. (Warning: If you’re afraid of squirrels, this might not be for you.)
4. Stop-motion ads
If you have internal creative resources or are willing to cough up a little more money to work with a freelancer or agency, then you can be well on your way to your own stop-motion video to promote your brand.
A post on NPR featured Jethro Ames, an art director at an ad agency that produces Vines for the likes of GE, MTV, Coffee Bean and Team Leaf.
One of our favorites is the one he created for MTV. It’s inspired by Snoop Lion’s track “No Guns Allowed.”
5. Highlighting product features
Perhaps you’re looking to showcase something particular about a product, or a product feature that your customers may not know about. Using Vine to highlight a product’s features is a great way to create desire while you entertain.
Carmaker Opel does a great job showcasing all the colors its vehicles come in through the Vine below.
6. One-to-one customer interaction
A fancier way to put this might be “real-time marketing response campaign,” but it’s definitely one of the ways Honda seems to be getting some serious social media props.
Honda’s campaign is called #wantnewcar, and promotes the Summer Clearance Sales Event. During the sale, if a prospective customer tweets stating why he or she would like a new car, the company responds with a personalized Vine response.
The Vine below is one of our favorites.
7. Video contests
Though there’s been much talk about running contests on platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, some brands are also seeing big wins with Vine.
One of our favorite examples is when Urban Outfitters paired up with Converse to run a contest called #yourchucks. Those with the best Vine videos were entered to win a number of goodies. Check out one of the entries below.
The examples above should get you thinking about how you can apply Vine to your business. If you ever feel stuck or need some more inspiration, check out Brands on Vine.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Shopify blog.