A common challenge for marketers today is finding new ways to connect with your audience. Social media has provided you with a variety of communication channels, but even the newest additions are becoming increasingly noisy and crowded. Vine, the six-second video sharing app, now offers an alternative to shouting above the crowd to get your message heard.
It its first major update of 2014, Vine introduced a new way to communicate one-on-one through video or text messages. Similar to a service offered by Instagram, Vine Messages (VMs) enables those who use it to privately send videos to anyone in their address book, even if the recipients aren’t members of the service. This feature is available to all Vine users, which means that brands with an account can take advantage of private messaging.
This creates a unique opportunity for marketers and advertisers to reach specific members of an audience. However, community managers and customer service teams will likely benefit the most. Some messages would be more relevant to a smaller group of people. With direct access to specific members, VMs can help you share how-to videos, tutorials, and even Q&As with individual customers.
How to Create a Vine Message
Before you can start taking advantage of Vine Messages, you’ll have to download the latest version of Vine from the App Store or Google Play. Once installed, select the new “Messages” option in the navigation menu and record a video to create your own Vine Message.
While you can send a VM to multiple people, each conversation is one-to-one. So if you send a video to eight customers, you will start eight separate conversations. If multiple people are running into the same issue, you might instead consider making this how-to or tutorial video public so all of your customers can benefit. However, this might be a great way to communicate with a small group of ambassadors or beta testers.
Keep in mind that inboxes have two sections: Friends (people they know) and Other (people outside their network). Individuals can decide if they want to receive VMs from both groups or only the people they know. This is a great reminder to not abuse the communication channel with uninitiated marketing videos. Doing so will likely cause customers to flip the switch and cut off private communication.
How to Use Vine for One-on-One Engagement
We’ve already seen a great example of a brand using Vine for customer service purposes. The British bank NatWest has published a series of support videos using the app to address some of its frequently asked questions. While those videos are helpful to its customer base as a whole, Vine Messages has opened a new door for the support team. Moving forward, the bank could tailor future videos to answer questions specific to individual customers.
Similarly, home improvement retailer Lowe’s has used Vine to publish its Fix in Six collection of improvement tips. These types of videos are great for broadcasting to a wider audience. However, if Lowe’s wanted to address a specific homeowner’s DIY project for example, it could use Vine Messages to do so. It’s the perfect way to devote a little one-on-one time to your most engaged customers.
We also recommend looking at how the football club QPR used Vine to connect with fans. The team constructed a Q&A with Danny Simpson to celebrate his signing. Fans could submit their questions for Simpson on Twitter, which he then answered through Vine. Not only did QPR use Vine to break news of his signing, but it gave fans a much more personal relationship with the team as well as Simpson. It seems pretty obvious how brands could integrate VMs into future Q&As on Vine.
As marketers, it’s important to know when to broadcast and when to target your message. Obviously not all content will be right for Vine Messages, but it can be a fun way to liven up your outreach strategy and build stronger relationships with customers and fans.
[Image credit: Esther Vargas]
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.