Video is staking its claim as a major new social media trend for 2013. Twitter-owned Vine debuted last month to great excitement, soon followed by Facebook’s debut of a similar video recording feature on its iOS app.

Visual content has proven a powerful tool for brands, with photographs and images often the go-to format for storytelling. Given that video offers the primal reaction of visuals coupled with the spoken word, this medium can be much more informative and engaging than a photo or text alone. The result is another powerful avenue of expression for your company’s message.

As with any new trend, however, consider whether investing in these new video networks is the right step for you. If you’re on the fence about Vine, check out our primer here. If your company decides to jump on the social video bandwagon, keep these key points in mind as you craft your strategy.

A New Style

Vine and Facebook on iOS are designed to capture very brief, casual clips. This is a very different approach than most corporate video production. Where corporate YouTube and Vimeo videos typically place a premium on high production values, Vine and Facebook’s video recording platforms don’t have those options.

You’ll need to shift your expectations for what Vine branded videos should look like. Similar concepts such as theme and tone still apply, but you’ll need to find new ways to convey authority and responsibility without the aid of fancy lighting or camera work.

Nevertheless, the unique restrictions on these social video apps will surely yield creative new approaches to branded video, but you’ll need to invest some time and thought into establishing your voice on these platforms.

New Levels of Trust

Trust is always an element of your relationships with customers, but the arrival of pint-sized video sharing means you’ll have to trust your team members too. These networks are focused on mobile devices, which makes puts them at people’s disposal at any time and place. However, that flexibility can make it harder for your company’s staff to double-check and verify that every video clip meets your standards.

Just as you have to establish a trust level with the employees running your Twitter and Facebook accounts, the people with permission to create and post videos for your brand should also represent the company appropriately. Your team members may also want to have these services for their personal lives as well as for professional use, so be sure that you have a process in place to avoid posting videos to the wrong account or that present your brand in a negative light.

In addition, every person and every brand has a boundary for what’s considered appropriate and professional. Those boundaries may be different for written content than for visual material. Vine already had sexually explicit material inadvertently promoted as an Editor’s Pick, so your content curators will need to be extra vigilant for anything that could be deemed offensive. You need to be very clear with your staff members about what can and cannot be included in a video. Have well-defined rules and be sure to encourage dialogue about creative ideas to make sure that any videos attached to your brand’s name fit your image.

Beware of Divisions Between the Platforms

Vine users can’t access their Facebook friends within the Twitter-owned app. You can expect that the bad blood between Twitter and Facebook will likely mean that your videos on one network will not be transferable to the other.

Since the videos are filmed within the apps, your brand may have to get creative in how to get a clip shared across multiple networks. Again, having some team planning before you hit the record button means that you may be able to have different employees taping the same material for each network. Consider the most effective use of your marketing team before you commit to any new social video apps. The more platforms you add, the more time you’ll need to devote to getting material posted to them all.

Additionally, keep in mind that both Vine and Facebook’s video features are only available on Apple devices for now. If you know that your employees or your customers include a large percentage of Android users, they won’t be able to participate fully in any projects involving these new services at this time.

Is your brand using Vine or a similar social video service? Let us know in the comments!

[Image credits: Brendon, Amrufm, Hamed Saber, David Howard]