Just as you get to grips with Twitter and Facebook, along comes another social media platform for you to get used to.
If you have not already heard of Vine, you soon will as it has, as the name suggests, been spreading in popularity online like a weed.
Vine is a Twitter owned company that was launched early in 2013. It allows users to record short six-second clips that play continuously on an endless loop. This tiny six-second video is considered to be the equivalent to the 140-character limit on Twitter.
Think of Vine being like Instagram except with videos instead of pictures.
Users add these videos to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and it is incredibly quick and easy to do.
So you may be asking yourself, ‘who wants a six second video and why would it be useful to my business?”
Well the answer to the first question is simple: Millions of people. Vine has already attracted over 13 million users in less than 6 months after its launch. There are thousands of blogs and sites that are dedicated solely to finding the bet vine videos and sharing them for everybody to see.
In answer to your second question here are some reasons why Vine is an effective way to promote your business:
If you have a customer who raves about your product or service, no doubt they will be very happy to agree to provide you with a testimonial. As the Internet is so visual, having video testimonials is the perfect way to showcase your testimonials. However, most customers, even if they love what you do won’t be too thrilled about the idea of appearing on camera for a long time to create a testimonial for you. Many of them will be camera shy and not comfortable in front of the camera.
But how about this for an idea: Instead of having then speak, why not have your happy smiling customer hold up cards with words that best describe your product or business. A six second video of your thrilled happy customer holding up cards such as “Saved Me Money”, “Easy to Use” and “Friendly Service” is the perfect way to get your message across and intrigue potential customers to look at what you are offering.
Instead of just having a static portfolio of your work on your site create an animated one on social media instead. It is such a simple idea that even small businesses without a large advertising budget could do. It will help spread the word about your product or service far quicker than any ad in the local press could.
Vine is perfect for creating suspense and intrigue, particularly if you are launching a new product or service or even adding an update.
You can start generating a buzz by giving your viewers a sneak peek. Simply link viewers to your website or information page where they can find more details.
The majority of your customers will be well clued up on social media and how it works. It is now part of everyday life. So use Vine to engage with your followers and starting a conversation by using a Vine video.
There are so many inventive ways that you could do this. For example one bookstore owner doesn’t ask what book his followers are reading. Instead, he gives visual clues as to what HE is reading and gets his followers to try and guess what it is. Genius!
People are naturally curious so why not treat your followers to a sneaky behind the scenes glimpse of your business. You could do this from a variety of different angles such as showing off a cool piece of equipment in your workshop, or putting faces to the names of the staff in your business. The list is endless and will thoroughly engage your clients.
If you are in the home improvement business, a landscape gardener, a beautician, an interior designer or any other kind of business where clients expect to see results then Vine is ideal for showing impressive before and after results. If the effect is really good then it will quickly go viral and have people rushing to your site to find out more.
You can show that your business is getting into the holiday spirit by creating fun videos and messages for your clients. This will help you to engage with your followers. You can also make them into marketing related videos by putting some promotions in the mix too showing your products relevant to the holidays.
Whatever you decide to do, it will go down well with your followers and they are bound to reward you with positive comments and spread the word about your video making sure it gets lots of exposure.
Use Vine to build up interest around any event that you might be planning by sending out a personalized invite to people that you want to visit your store, enter a contest or attend a seminar.
This is a particularly effective promotional idea: If you are attending a trade show get people to visit by doing a vine based “Where’s Wally” type promotion. Get your followers to watch the video and see if they can spot your logo at the show then offer a prize for the correct answers when they visit your booth. It works a treat.
Social networking has done a lot to ‘humanize’ companies and Vine is no different.
An excellent way to gain a new audience and potential customers is to show off your company being charitable or even of your and your employers having fun. If your company is throwing a Christmas party for example, post a video of your employees singing a Christmas carol. It is a nice touch and a fun way to interact with your customers.
We mentioned a great idea above for getting people to visit your trade show but here is another effective way that businesses are using Vine to great effect:
Use a Vine video with your conference hashtag to let people know when the conference or trade show is starting. You could even show a video of the speaker or your booth in the video too. It is a perfect way to attract a targeted audience and get additional visitors to your event.
The Internet is global but Vine is ideal for local businesses marketing to a local audience. Show your fans and followers how attractive your store or restaurant is and invite them to come and visit. You could even host a special event to bring extra footfall into your business.
Hopefully this article has provided you with inspiration and shown you how effective Vine can be for your business.
However, just before you dive in here are another 3 tips that will really help your videos to shine and encourage fans to spread the word and make them viral.
What makes Vine so different to many other video marketing strategies like YouTube for instance is this: you can’t upload something that you have already made. You cannot edit your video or go backwards once you get started. It really is a “one-take” process.
So with this in mind it’s important to know exactly what you want to record before you begin. Start by creating a simple storyboard or sketch out what kind of shots you want before you begin. Plan carefully what you want to film, the angle of the shots and how long you want each shot to appear for.
I know it sounds obvious but your vine video will work best if you have proper lighting and a series of steady shots. This is even more vital to remember if you are going to be using Vine to brand yourself online or wanting to show off your products and services.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just spend a few extra minutes planning your location and perhaps invest in an iPhone tripod to help keep your shots steady. It will make all of the difference to how well your videos will be received.
A lot of Vine videos don’t have any sound in them and that is fine if you don’t want sound in yours either. However, it may sound obvious but the Vine app will still record sound when it is being used. If you really don’t want sound in your video then you are going to have to find a very quiet location to film your video and try not to breathe too heavily when creating your video.
If on the other hand you WANT sound in your video you might want to consider buying a dedicated mic for your phone or experiment with the mic that comes with your iPhone headphones.
If you have already experimented with Twitter you will know firsthand how effective a tool it is and why so many successful businesses use it as part of their marketing strategy.
With the addition of Vine it will help keep your audiences engaged and reach an even bigger and broader audience than ever before.
Businesses are experiencing great results because the short videos create memorable impressions on their target audience and promote the business or product very fast by encouraging their target audience to spread the word and make the video go viral.
Businesses need all of the help they can get to get their product and services out there in front of the general public. By using social platforms such as Vine it is one of the best opportunities to grow your business through self-promotion and advertising.
Like all effective marketing strategies it can take a while to get to grips with how the media works or how to use it to its fullest potential.
This is how we can help. We have the experience required to help your business reach a much broader audience and attract brand new customers.
If you need any advice or would like to ask more about the marketing services we provide please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be glad to help.
Download and install the Vine app for your iPhone, iPod, iPad or Android phone.
Create a Vine account using your Twitter profile or email address.
Find people to follow by going to your profile and clicking the People icon at the top right of the screen. You can also go to your settings and use the Find People option under Friends.
Connect your Facebook account to share videos on Facebook as well.
Click the video camera icon to start recording videos. Tap your finger on the screen to record and release stop recording.
When you’re finished, click continue to share your video on vine, Twitter and Facebook.
It is that easy. Now you can get creative and make your brand go viral.
“It’s only a mobile phone! What’s the point in making a website for that? You can’t see much on them anyway? If they’re interested they’ll look at it on their computer.”
What are we talking about? We are talking about how a website looks when someone uses a mobile phone or tablet to view it. Many, many small businesses have not chosen to make their website mobile-friendly, but does it really matter? Do small businesses really need to spend time and money to make a more design-responsive website?
Before making any decision that could cost money, a business is wise to look at whether there is a demand for what they are considering doing, but most importantly, whether it will have a positive, beneficial effect on their business and hence on their profits.
When the first cellphones were introduced back in the mid 1990’s, it was hard to imagine that these heavy, clumsy, over sized ‘portable’ phones would dramatically evolve into a tiny device that fits into the hand and would be capable of letting people instantly communicate verbally and visually globally with one another.
What was once science fiction is very much now science fact. All manner of daily activities are logged, recorded and shared on these devices. And once people had the capability to access the internet on their phone, regardless of where they were, smartphone development really began to accelerate. This portability has led to the rise of the mobile device but the decline in traditional desktop computers sales.
If you still need proof of how popular smartphones and mobile devices are, The Guardian newspaper reported in July 2013 that 90% of all phones sold were smartphones, with over 1.8 billion smartphones in existence at that time. Leading social media site Facebook recognized the importance of being mobile-friendly to its users. Because people were posting details of their lives as they lived them, it was crucial Facebook was able to offer a smooth and easy user experience, which could fit into the portable devices people carried with them. Facebook’s designers claim it can be viewed and used smoothly on around 7,000 different portable devices. The fact that there are so many different mobile devices is mind boggling.
There can be no doubt that if you want your business to prosper, you need to keep up with how people are shopping and where they are going to shop. Gone are the days when most people took time out of their evening or weekend to sit browsing on their desktop computer. People can access the web at anytime and anywhere they can get a mobile signal. It’s no longer about how a site looks; it’s all about speed – how fast they can get the information they are looking for?
People are internet window-shopping whenever they have a spare 5 or 10 minutes waiting for a bus, sitting in their car, on the park bench in their lunch hour or in the coffee shop. They don’t want to look at a pretty site design. They want a responsive site that loads quickly (less than 5 seconds), is easy to navigate around on their small device and a site where it is quick and simple to find the information they want.
That’s easy…just have a look! You may have looked at your site on your computer when your designer first finished it, but that may have been a number of years ago now, before mobile technology really came to the fore. You need to see if you have a responsive web design that will adapt itself seamlessly to the main percentage of mobile gadgets.
Take a look on your own phone, as well as on other mobile devices. Type in your web address and see what comes up. Notice:
If your site isn’t there in full and quickly, then you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, and that can be a big concern for your business. Over 80% of all local searches done on the internet are now done on mobile devices. Almost 50% of 18-25 year old website visitors consider their mobile phone as their primary computer, and that number will only go up, not down, as children grow up with more advanced technology. So if your customer is looking for you, the response of your website to their mobile device will determine whether or not they even browse your site.
There is no need to panic just yet. There is nothing here that can’t be changed or improved upon. Here are some really useful tips to consider when looking to make your website more mobile-friendly:
It might seem an obvious thing, but it is sometimes overlooked. There is no point creating a mobile site if nobody goes to it. When someone types in your web address on a mobile device, they don’t use a separate mobile URL. It’s the same one as your main website. So make sure your server is set up to recognise mobile devices and to automatically direct them through to the mobile version.
It’s pointless creating a mobile site if you cram it so full of content that the user has to wade through screen after screen of text to try and pick out what they want. Because your information is being viewed on a much smaller screen, realistically you can’t add all the in depth information you would have on a site viewed on a computer.
Your visitor hasn’t come to your site to learn more about you. They are there because they want something specific – your address, contact number or a product. So don’t cram each small page with as much text as you can get on, but add less (but more relevant) information to your mobile site in a condensed form. You want to make your visitor work less, not more, to find what they are looking for. If there is something that needs further explanation, like a full product description, then don’t be afraid to add in a link back to your full site.
It’s not just the content on your site that needs to be trimmed down. You need to look at simplifying how your visitor navigates around the mobile site. No-one wants to have to click here, then there, swipe and scroll and click again just to find your telephone number. Consider why visitors will use your mobile site and then put useful information within easy reach and the minimum of clicks.
The way your navigation looks is also important. Users want to be able to scan the home screen and immediately see where they need to be to get what they want. So keep your navigation clear and concise – don’t hide your navigation behind images. It is too confusing especially when they don’t have the roll over or hover features. It may look great on your main site, but it will annoy, frustrate and finally put off many visitors through the lack of friendly usability.
The rule to remember is mobile users have less time to talk and want to use that time to get the information they want and go. They certainly don’t want to have to fill out a 20 field opt-in form just to get a little information. The more fields a user has to fill out, the more unhappy they become.
When you need information from your mobile visitor, make sure you only add fields that are ABSOLUTELY necessary, and not what type of movies they like or whether they drink a brand of cola. You will engage your visitor more by giving them what they want quickly than by getting them to give you non-essential information.
Just because your mobile site is going to be viewed on a small screen doesn’t mean you have to leave out the most important thing – Your Brand Identity! When someone comes to your site, whether it’s the mobile site or your full website, they should be able to identify it immediately as yours. So use your corporate colors and logo together with your brand style on both sites so your visitor is confident both sites belong to the same company – yours!
How many times have you tried to tap the screen on your phone and missed the tiny button you were aiming at? Fingers come in all shapes and sizes. You wouldn’t expect a 6 foot 3 inch wrestler to have delicate slender fingers.
You may not be able to give people the option to change the size of button, but you can increase the button size to ensure visitors have a much easier time selecting the button they want.
The other thing you need to make bigger is the font size. It might seem logical that because you are using a smaller device, the text should be smaller too. But, in fact, the opposite is true. Because everything is being scaled down, you need to increase the size of font, otherwise your content will be unreadable. But this can work to an advantage. You can highlight features or areas of the screen by the selective use of color and larger, bolder fonts to pick out certain words and help the user understand the page more quickly.
It is easy to assume that visitors to your mobile site come there for exactly the same reasons as visitors to your mobile site, and so you arrange your site information in the same way. But is that actually the most likely explanation?
Visitors using a computer at home do not necessarily want the same thing as someone who visits your site on a mobile device. If someone local to your business is visiting your mobile site, they are most likely away from home using their mobile device because they want to know something more physical about your company. They could want to know your address or what hours you are open so they can make a personal visit. Or they may wish to contact you to make a booking or ask a question. They may even want to know what services you provide.
Whatever you eventually decide are the reasons someone would use your mobile site, make sure those pieces of information about your business are some of the first things that they can see and access.
Once you have made all the adjustments and changes to your mobile site, don’t forget to check everything works. Just because you can see your click-to-call function pops up, it doesn’t automatically follow that it will connect to your number. So check every pop-up, link and interactive function to ensure not only that they work, but that they work the way you want them to. Nothing is so frustrating to your potential customers as something that doesn’t work.
The whole aim of making your website more mobile-friendly is to increase the positive experience of your users. If people can come to your site and get the information they need quickly and easily, they will return back the next time confident that you have what they want.
Very few mobile browsers return to a site that is slow to load, complicated or makes them spend ages hunting down what they need. There are plenty of other businesses that do have mobile-friendly sites and they will move on to those sites without a backward glance.
By putting these guidelines into practice, you can make your user’s experience a positive one for them and a profitable one for you.
You can think of customer review sites as “local directories” that enable people to express their opinions regarding various businesses present in the directories.
People utilize these directories to find businesses that are able to provide them with the products or services they want. They can browse through the various businesses and many make their decisions based on the customer reviews.
Some of the sites that are key players include: Yelp!, Google Local, City Search and Yahoo Local. There are also directories that only cater to specific business industries like local restaurants, dentists, lawyers, etc. Being an active part of these sites can help you build a positive reputation.