When businesses first began utilizing social media as a marketing tactic several years ago, there were a relatively limited number of social networks available. Over the past few years, however, it seems as though new and innovative social networks are popping up every few months. From Instagram and Pinterest to Vine, the constantly changing and ever-expanding number of online services represents new and exciting marketing opportunities for businesses and brands across a wide variety of industries.
Contrary to the early days of Facebook and Twitter when words were king, easily digestible images and video have quickly become the preferred medium for succinctly communicating in the crowded social space. In an effort to follow consumers as they migrate to new social networking sites, it’s important to become familiar with these new avenues for communication to keep your social media marketing program on track. Below, I’ll delve into two social media sites that exploded this year – Vine and Instagram. Both sites fast-tracked the ability for users to share short videos with their social network in 2013.
It didn’t take long for Vine to catch on with consumers. After Twitter launched the video app in January of this year, the service skyrocketed to include more than 13 million users who upload roughly 12 million videos to Twitter each day. Vine keeps video sharing simple with a user-friendly interface that allows smart phone users to shoot six-second films by tapping the screen and uploading the end product to the app and the Web. The network quickly became a place where creative users are able to express themselves through what feels like social “art.”
Not long after the launch of Vine, brands like Lowe’s and General Electric started experimenting with the service to test its potential as a marketing tool, understanding that the key to participating in the space is to determine what aspect of their business should be highlighted, and then getting creative within a six-second window. A Vine strategy that emphasizes aligning content with the overall brand message is likely to ensure the service is an effective marketing tool for building brand recognition. For example, home improvement giant Lowe’s has attracted a sizeable following by creating a series of instructional videos that highlight quick, simple DIY projects for homeowners.
Social giant Facebook acquired the hugely popular mobile photo-sharing app Instagram for $1 billion in April 2012, and within a year the app evolved to include Instagram Video – an option to switch the app to video mode as a way to capture short 15-second clips. Users relished the ability to share videos with their Instagram network, and within 24 hours they uploaded more than five million videos.
Before the introduction of its video component, Instagram was already a familiar place for many brands – so the move to experiment with video on this platform was much easier than starting from scratch. Instagram doubled the maximum video length to 15 seconds and paired videos with the app’s popular filters to give videos on the platform an edge. Several well-known brands began utilizing the service right away, including Ford, Dell, Nike and Starbucks. Similar to Vine, it’s important to keep video content on Instagram in line with your overall marketing strategy to build brand recognition and endear fans to your brand. The longer video format of Instagram Video allows home remodeling brands an even better opportunity to create DIY or how-to type videos as a way to introduce your expertise to your social following.
As social media constantly evolves, the marketing opportunity for brands in the space continues to grow, as does the number of consumers who turn to their social networks for information and advice that greatly influences their purchasing decisions. It’s important to stay on top of the latest updates and trends to evaluate the value they can add to your overall marketing efforts by engaging consumers and keeping a finger on the pulse of industry trends that can affect your business. Has your brand jumped on the social video bandwagon? Do you see this trend as a value add to your overall social media program?
Asher Raphael is the Chief Strategy Officer of Power Home Remodeling Group, the nation’s sixth largest home remodeling company with more than 1,200 employees and $170 million in annual sales. Power provides energy-saving and environmentally friendly exterior remodeling solutions to homeowners in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Asher oversees the company’s overall strategic direction, which includes evaluating and directing new business opportunities, partner alliances, government relations and national expansion. Asher is also instrumental in the critical recruitment and development of prospective and existing talent, overseeing the company’s talent acquisition department. An Inc. 5000 company, Power has served more than 87,000 homeowners and is recognized as a home improvement leader by its "Dealer of the Year" award from Window and Door Magazine and the 2011 "Top Workplace" from The Philadelphia Inquirer.