Vine for small businesses - The key points

Last week Twitter launched a new video sharing app called Vine. The service enables users to create and upload 6-second videos using their iPhone, and to share them directly to Twitter or Facebook.

Although in its infancy Vine looks set to throw the social focus very firmly onto video, and the implications for small business marketing practices are significant. Later this week we will show you how to produce your first Vine video - but first, what are the important points for your business?

1. Vine lets you communicate visually

For many small businesses, social media marketing has been a predominantly text-based pursuit. Now, though, the advent of Vine has placed the image front and centre - and it looks set to increase in prominence. If your marketing strategy is to remain relevant and effective, it is important that you place the visual at its heart.

2. You need to be snappy

Six seconds is not very long. Twitter has said that the time limit “inspires creativity”, just like the 140 character restriction. In reality, some marketers are likely to find this artificial limit constricting - but it does provide the impetus to produce punchy, high impact messaging. Vine requires you to make your point in a strong and succinct fashion and, in this way, it offers a good lesson that is transferrable across all of your marketing channels.

3. Sound is key

It is important to note that when Vines are embedded on Twitter, sound is disabled by default. Similarly many users will have their device set to silent. Consequently, it is important that you do not rely on sound in your Vines. Consider sound to be an optional extra, and never an integral part of your video.

4. Videos pause on touch

Vine videos will automatically pause when the user touches them. This presents a number of important opportunities for marketers. One of the first Editors’ Pick Vines is of a magic eight-ball that displays a different solution each time the user touches it. This idea could easily be adapted to enable you to, for example, display a series of marketing messages. Think about how you can utilise the pause function to make Vine a more interactive medium.

5. Vine doesn't play well with others

At the moment Vine is a pretty restricted platform. The app is only available on iPad and iPhone - but, perhaps most importantly, Facebook has banned Vine connections. This means that Vine users cannot find their friends through Facebook, but it also signals a more general hostility on the part of the social networking giant. Until Vine becomes more closely intertwined with other platforms, it should be considered an exciting and useful addition to your marketing arsenal - but never the bedrock.

6. Vine is a symptom and a cause

Vine is a clear symptom of the internet’s growing love affair with video. The moving image has become one of the cornerstones on which the web is based, and its importance is only set to grow. If you want to develop an effective online marketing strategy, video must be part of it. Similarly, Vine represents one of the first serious contenders for a simple video sharing platform. It is therefore likely to herald an even more significant shift towards video, creating a feedback loop that will put the moving image front and centre.