The E-Commerce Column

How to use Instagram and Vine to Gain Customers

As a business owner in the digital age it is necessary to stay ahead of what is hot in the social media world. Businesses first joined the social media scene thanks to sites like Twitter and Facebook. By using these platforms brands were able to communicate with their customers directly rather through advertisements in print or on TV. It didn’t take long for businesses to develop a marketing strategy for these two platforms that worked. But like all things in the internet space something new came out and marketing teams all over the world are back to square one. Forrester Research found that videos are 50 times more likely to receive an organic first page ranking than traditional text pages. That’s a pretty impressive stat! Here are some quick tips to help your business take advantage of these platforms.

So what are Vine and Instagram?

They are relatively new content creation platforms which are almost entirely visual. Instagram offers both short video and still photography while Vine offers videos only. These two platforms are commonly used in conjunction with both Facebook and Twitter so users who have already built a network on these sites can share the content without having to build a new following.

Who uses these tools?

As of this summer Instagram had 130 million register users with Vine at 40 million. Vine launched earlier this year so it’s likely that their base will continue to grow, possibly exceeding Instagram’s base if it continues to grow at the rate it has.

Because these tools are generally mobile-only apps it is safe to say the targeted demographic will be limited to smartphone users. Although Instagram currently offers a desktop site there is no such equivalent for Vine. This will be the biggest hurdle when using Vine especially if your demographic is an older crowd. 

Where do we start?

More and more businesses have been flocking to Instagram to build their brand. In response, Instagram created the Instagram for Business blog, which offers tips, brand profiles, news from Instagram HQ, and API examples. Add the blog to your reader to stay on top of brands that are benefiting from Instagram and the coolest ways to use Instagram. Once you are ready to begin announce your new account on Facebook and Twitter and use relative hashtags on your posts. Cross-post your images on Facebook which will let your followers know that you are on Instagram as well. Make sure to balance business and product images with fun pictures to get a sense of what your followers want to see.

When you’re ready to debut videos on either Vine or Instagram keep in mind that you will have to get your point across quickly. Vine offers its users six seconds while Instagram is 15.

Ready! Set! Film!

Coming up with a unique way to promote your business in a short amount of time can be tricky. Hotcakes Commerce used Vine to promote the products features to IRCE attendees. We knew that the video had to be visually striking, worth retweeting, and get the message across in six seconds or less. Why not use stop animation? A lot of businesses might be tempted to just film something really quick and throw it up but the best Vine videos take weeks to prepare for. The idea behind ours went through three major stages: conception, creation, completion. We came up with the idea: a bicycle riding through a hilly scene, clouds with three major features, and finally our logo falling from the sky at the end. We created the scene: hours were spent hand cutting clouds, a barn, a hot air balloon, and hills before filming even began.  Finally we were ready to film. After several test shots and a few oops of background noise invading, we finally got the video we had been planning on. I am glad that we didn’t rush into it even though we easily could have. In the end our Vine video was one of the most retweeted tweets of the entire conference. You can view our video here.

Keep posting!

All of your effort will be lost if you don’t keep at is so keep posting. Come up with a hashtag that is relative to your brand and encourage your followers to use it. Social marketing is all about fun and building a connection with your clients. Stay true to your brand and your vision and your following will grow.

About the Author

Will StrohlWill Strohl

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