Instagram vs Vine, Who Will Win The Short Video Title?

Image via Media Bistro

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what about a 6-second video? Or a 15-second video?

With the number of mobile phones on the planet set to exceed that of human beings, it’s no surprise that video is all the rage these days, from adorable doggy videos (Thanks Janette Speyer!) to major brand promotions.

Earlier, this year, Twitter launched a video platform called Vine, which allows users to create and share 6-second long videos. I’ll admit that my first thought was “Really? What can you possibly say in six seconds??” And yes, the time limit is definitely an obstacle, but it also forces people to be creative and use every second to showcase something amazing and meaningful to the viewer.

Recently, Facebook-owned Instagram debuted their own video service, titled Video for Instagram (I’ll be referring to it as Instagram for simplicity’s sake), which allows users to record and share 15-second videos.

Here’s a brief comparison of the two video services, via Social Media Today:

Instagram vs. Vine

But the question is, should marketers use these services? My answer: Maybe. No, this isn’t a cop-out – it depends on how the brand is using these tools. Like anything, the tool is just that – it’s a tool. The value it could create comes from how you use it.

There are several great ways to use Instagram and Vine as marketing or promotional tools (via Marketing Land and Sprout Social):

    1. Teasers: Taco Bell posted a teaser, which included pyrotechnics (!!!), for their upcoming Doritos Locos Tacos. This 15-second video was very effective and got Taco Bell’s fans excited for the launch.

      Soon. #DoritosLocosTacos #InstagramVideo

      A video posted by Taco Bell (@tacobell) on

    1. Sales Promotions: Online retailer Topshop posted this stop-motion video, which puts 3 summer outfits together and lists the item numbers in the description.

    1. Announcements: Samsung recently posted a Vine, using their signature Galaxy S 4 phone and, thus, announcing Vine for Android. The 6-second video was a very clever (check out this subsequent Vine to see how they recorded it) way of announcing the long-awaited and eagerly-anticipated Android version of the app. It’s also a great way of illustrating what you can do with six seconds!
    1. Tutorials/HowTo’s: Lowe’s has taken to Vine to share quick (obviously) tips and how-to videos to help their customers with their DIY projects. These videos are extremely easy to follow and have become very popular. The company made the conscious effort to brand these videos with the hashtag #lowesfixinsix, which makes this series searchable and very easy to find on Twitter.

    A timely example of Instagram and Vine campaigns comes to us from MTV. According to Mashable, the network is releasing videos on the two platforms, announcing the nominees for the upcoming Video Music Awards (VMAs), being held on August 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Using the hashtag #RoadToTheVMAs, MTV will release one video per hour (beginning 8 a.m. ET on Wednesday, July 17th) on both Instagram and Vine to announce the nominations of one major category. Here is the first video (nominees for Video of the Year), posted on both Instagram and Vine:

    The 2013 MTV #VMAs nominees for Video of the Year are… Vote now at vma.mtv.con

    A video posted by MTV (@mtv) on

It comes as a no-brainer that MTV would use these services as marketing tools because they’ve had great success in the past. In their article, Mashable also states that MTV used Instagram photos to reveal the VMAs’ location in a campaign that amassed a quarter of a million Instagram likes, 16 million Twitter impressions, 8 million Facebook impressions and 1 million Tumblr impressions. The cable network was also the first brand to reach 1 million Instagram followers and now has 1.37 million on the platform, in addition to 117,000 followers on Vine.

What do you think of Instagram Video and Vine? Should they be used as marketing tools? Are there any campaigns that got it right, or terribly wrong for that matter?

Please share your comments, Instagrams, and Vines below!

Kavita Chintapalli, Guest Blogger

Kavita Chintapalli, Guest Blogger

Kavita Chintapalli is a recent MBA graduate from Rutgers University and is currently seeking a full time position in digital marketing or social media. She enjoys all things beauty-related, cool tech gadgets, TV, blogging, and social media. Learn more about Kavita on her website,

6 Benefits of Inviting a Guest Blogger to Your Site

It’s the lazy days of summer and you are ready for a vacation, right? You dream of your favorite spot, complete with a beautiful beach, palm trees and refreshing beverages. Then it hits you like a coconut in the face. You still need to post a blog article because your readers are counting on you! Go back to relaxing, I have the solution – a guest blogger.

6 Benefits Of Using A Guest Blogger

6 Benefits Of Using A Guest Blogger

What is a guest blogger?

Someone who writes posts for other bloggers to publish for free, or writing posts for other bloggers to publish on their blogs for free. Guest blogging is a traffic building and networking tool to help grow a blog.

Have you ever used a guest blogger? If not, here are 6 reasons why you need to develop a relationship with reputable guest bloggers.

Guest bloggers offer a wide variety of benefits to your site.

  • Guest bloggers expand your audience
  • Guest bloggers give credibility
  • Guest bloggers offer a fresh, new perspective on your topic
  • Guest bloggers may be experts in a field that you aren’t
  • Guest bloggers can give you some time off (when you’re busy or on vacation) by writing a post for you
  • Guest bloggers allow you to guest blog and share your expertise on their site

Where do you find guest bloggers?

There are many ways to build relationships with other bloggers, here are a few:

  • Ask a blogger that you follow that is also in your industry
  • Develop relationships with some of your favorite Twitter friends
  • Call up a colleague and ask him/her to write a post on a specific subject
  • Email an industry expert that you met at a conference or trade show

The list goes on, but you get the idea. We all meet interesting people in person and online. These same people will be honored that you’ve asked them to share their expertise with your audience. This is especially beneficial if the guest blogger is an expert in a field that you are not. Once you have chosen a potential guest blogger, do your research to ensure this person will add value to your site. Remember, content marketing such as blogging should educate, entertain and/or inform your audience. Your audience will be delighted with your guest’s specialized advice or knowledge.

A word of caution: There are several schools of thought on using guest blogging for back linking purposes and whether it helps or hinders your Google ranking. If this is your sole purpose for adding guest bloggers to your site, you may want to do further research on the topic.

If you would like more information, check out the Beginner’s Guide to Guest Blogging infographic below by GuestBlogPoster. Share your guest blogging experiences with us in the comments section below, we’d love to hear your experiences!

The Beginner's Guide To Guest Blogging

The Beginner’s Guide To Guest Blogging

5 Ways to Share Your Patriotism On Social Media

Use Your Social Media Channels To Share Your Patriotism

Use Your Social Media Channels To Share Your Patriotism

Patriotism is alive and strong and one of the few attitudes that Americans can express publically without the fear of being ridiculed or being offensive. Regardless of how Americans feel the other 364 days of the year about our government leadership, policies, international conflicts, etc., our July 4th celebrations allow us to come together as one country and one people, thankful for all the opportunities we have been given by living in the greatest country on the globe.

With the 4th of July just around the corner, this loyalty to our country is no longer limited to streets lined with American flags proudly displayed on homes, small-town parades, or fireworks at the end the day.

In the year 2013, we’re fortunate to have access to many exciting and fun digital tools to express the love and gratitude we share for the United States of America, and the men and women who defend our freedom daily.

5 Ways to share your patriotism on social media:

1. YouTube, Instagram and Vine – Take plenty of pictures and videos to showcase your family’s traditions for this holiday. There is nothing cuter than little children decked out in red, white and blue outfits or looking in amazement at the beautiful fireworks. Our family hosts an open house each year. Guests bring items to grill and a dish to pass, it’s like the loaves and fishes by the time all the food is put out! Our town is small, but this holiday celebration is big. It starts with a home-town style parade, followed by our national award winning water ski team show, and finally ending with a spectacular fireworks display. With all of this entertainment, there are plenty of opportunities to snap some pictures or take video of all the fun and share with my friends digitally.

Share Your 4th of July Visuals on Social Media

Share Your 4th of July Visuals on Social Media

2. Pinterest – This is a great place to search for recipes, crafts, outfits, and decorations for your party. But if you’re a seasoned Independence Day celebrator, you already have your own favorite traditions in these areas. Take pictures and upload your recipe or instructions to projects to this channel to share with your followers. People less creative, like me, need to see pictures of all these cool creations, and the instructions will allow us to be able to create as well.

Share your party ideas on Pinterest

Share your party ideas on Pinterest

3. Twitter – People love great quotes, and this is a wonderful place to share your favorite quote since you are limited to 140 characters. If you don’t know a quote by memory, the web is loaded with patriotic quotes, just remember to cite the author.

Patriotic Quotes Can Be Shared in Twitter's 140 Characters

Patriotic Quotes Can Be Shared in Twitter’s 140 Characters

4.    Facebook – Send out an invite to your 4th of July party from this social channel. Your guests will be able to see who else is coming, and collaborate on specialty dishes or drinks to contribute to the festivities. Is there a website or online video that represents your American spirit? Share your online patriotic video with your Facebook community who loves visual images and videos.

Invite Your Facebook Friends to Your 4th of July Event!

Invite Your Facebook Friends to Your 4th of July Event!

5. Hashtags are becoming all the rage with more and more social sites using them. Here are a few hashtags to use on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest:

  • #4thOfJulyWeekend
  • #America
  • #GodBlessAmerica
  • #Patriotism
  • #IndependenceDay

This article only scratches the service on clever ways to share your 4th of July traditions with your social community. What elements of the 4th of July holiday are you most excited to share with friends on social media? What social media channel will you use most often to share all the fun with your digital neighborhood? Share your thoughts and ideas below, we’d love to hear your creative ideas on how to spread our American spirit.

Why You Should Add! To Your Social Media Marketing

For the past six months, I’ve received links from my from various community members on Twitter and LinkedIn to curated articles on! Like you, the last thing I needed was yet another social media channel, but I was intrigued nonetheless. But now that I’ve become active on the site, I can totally see the attraction! As you’re reading this post, I’m sure that you’re wondering whether this is just the newest shiny tool, or whether it can actually provide value to your brand.

How is! different from the multitude of other channels that you’re potentially already on?! is a content curating machine combined with the greatest elements of many of the other popular channels.! is very visual like Pinterest, packed full of great information like Twitter, allows for high levels of engagement like Facebook, and has a professional look and feel like LinkedIn.

As with the other social channels, on! users build and follow a community of like minded people by creating topic pages. Users are given two options to curate interesting and relevant content to these topic pages by either rescooping existing articles, or creating new scoops with articles found on any Website. Once an article is scooped, it can also be directly fed into users existing social channels such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn and more reaching friends and followers on their preferred social media channel. Not sure where to begin finding content to curate? No problem, Scoop.It! gives suggestions to users and updates it daily.

Get Content Curating Suggestions

Get Content Curating Suggestions

The high level of participation on! begs bloggers to utilize the site to market that company or personal blog. The! community is very active in commenting on scoops which gives necessary feedback to content marketers. In addition, this community also enjoys rescooping valuable information to their following which increases the potential of any content marketing efforts. Remember, as with any social media, you’re goal is to create relationships, not a sales pitch, so scoop articles from others that will be interesting to your followers too.

Scoops are categorized by topic pages, and thus develop different followings based on these user’s interests. For instance, I presently have two topics: 1) 5 Star Social Media Marketing, 2) Leadership. Not all entrepreneurs are interested in the latest social media trends, and not all social media marketers are interested in entrepreneurial leadership information. This allows people to follow only  your topics that they are interested in versus receiving all curated articles that you have scooped.

Create Topic Pages on!

Create Topic Pages on!

Another element to ScoopIt that differentiates it from other channels is the ability to easily build a newsletter and export it directly to MailChimp. This is a great feature! We all know that our audience consumes content in many different forms and brands need to reach their audience in the format they prefer. The ability to blast out an e-newsletter to segmented groups creates awareness of the curated topic page, positions curators as thought leaders, and keeps subscribers up-to-date with the latest trends of their specific topic.  The! team also sends out emails periodically to scoopers alerting them of new scoops by users they follow.

Easity blast e-Newsletters though MailChimp

Easity blast e-Newsletters with MailChimp

Now that you’ve learned about the power the social media channel! can offer, how can your brand use it as a curating tool? Share your experiences with us in the comments box below.

How to Communicate via Social Media Like Google

Today most companies have a presence on social media. The least successful social brands use these channels as another medium for advertising or sales. So what are the successful companies doing different? A successful social media brand strategy will include a plan to inform and educate your social friends. This type of conversation is what builds trust and relationships and is the key to success in the social media arena. Great social companies communicate regularly with customers keeping them informed of new products or updates, as well as educating customers how to get the most from these products. Let’s take a look at one corporate giant that is familiar to all of us and analyze the many ways this company uses social media to keep in touch with customers:

Google’s mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” We all know that Google has been hugely successful at keeping this purpose at the forefront of decision-making with the vast array of products and services they offer, but how can the layperson keep up with all of the updates and new products? To notify users of the latest and greatest updates or new products, Google uses a holistic communication approach to reach the mass of its users. This cross-promotional social sharing starts by posting trending news articles on the corporate website and continues with participating on many social channels to keep users informed on their preferred channel.

Starting with the corporate website, users have access to the company blog which provides an abundance of articles about recent activity at or about Google with additional company social links on the left. All of these links are user-friendly and provide Google customers with several options to stay well-versed on their favorite product(s).

Corporate Websites Should Link To Social Media Chanels

Corporate Websites Should Link to Social Media Channels

Creating a free Google+ page gives users the ability to follow any or all of the many Google product pages such as Google, Google+, Google Play, etc. No matter which Google product(s) is your favorite, you can receive the most current information directly from the company from the variety of Google+ pages available to follow.

Make it easy for customers to follow your social media sites

Make it easy for customers to follow your social media sites

With the popularity of mobile devices, you can also “take Google with you” via the many mobile apps that have been developed. For example, regardless of whether you’re an Android or an iPhone user, you can now use Google Chrome as your browser. There are many apps to choose from, but my most used are the Gmail and Google Calendar apps. With the customizable features, it’s like having a personal assistant with you 24/7.

Take Google Everywhere With Mobile Apps

Take Google Everywhere With Mobile Apps

Outside of the Google playground, there are many other channels for users to stay abreast of updates and new products:

  • @google is the official Twitter account and if you are one of the over 6 million followers, you can stay current on Google’s many products through their tweets.
  • Google also has a Facebook page,, with 13 million followers who receive tips and alerts on how to get the most out of the many Google products and services.
  • If users prefer, they can also find Google on LinkedIn, YouTube, and the list goes on.

Just like Google, using many social media channels will give your company numerous platforms to inform and educate your customers of the plethora of products and services you provide. These conversations will help you to continue developing and improving your products and services which creates brand evangelists. These evangelists are eager to pass along your brand’s educational information by way of liking, retweeting or sharing content, creating a ripple effect for greater awareness to your customers.

How is your company using social media to keep customers informed and educated? How can you use social brand evangelists to help spread the latest news about your products or services? Share your thoughts with us in comments box below.

Find Your Target Market’s Social Demographic

Social Media Demographic Behavior

What’s Your Target’s Social Media Demographic?

Before completing your social media marketing strategy, make sure you have researched “Who?” your audience is, “What?” their social behavior consists of, and “Where?” they’re hanging out on the web.

Today’s economy forces companies to stretch their marketing dollars as far as they can. Adding a social media marketing plan to the mix allows companies to create greater awareness, increase lead generation, and increase sales in an economical manner. To get the best results though, it’s vital that you research the “who?”, “what?” and “where?” of your target market’s social behavior. If you don’t answer these questions now, your social media marketing efforts will be like a bird flying against the wind.

A quick snap shot of some social media demographics compiled from Pew Research’s latest report includes:

Gender: 9% more women use social channels than men. Pinterest is the most used channel by women and Google+ is preferred by men.

Age: While the 18-29 year olds continue to be the most active social users (83%), their usage actually dropped slightly recently. This age group spends much of their time on Facebook and Twitter. The 30-49 age group has recently increased usage by 4% points growing to 77%. As expected, senior citizens are the least social at 52%.

Income: Income level also influences the level of time spent on social channels. Pew found 72% of the lower-income population on social networks compared to approximately 65% of middle class and affluent shoppers. Women with post high school education and above average incomes enjoy spending time on Pinterest.

Race: Brands that are marketing to the Hispanic population will be interested to know that this is the most active race on social media (72%), followed by African-Americans (68%). Instagram is the most appealing social channel for these two races.

Pew Research and Docstoc created the infographic below to make your decision(s) easier. For more information on social media demographics, check out Entrepreneur’s infographic here.

How have you used demographics in your social media marketing strategy? Share your experiences below in the comment/reply box, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Which Demographics Use What Social Media?

Which Demographics Use What Social Media?

3 Ways to Measure the Success of A Social Media Strategy

Last week’s post, You’re Invited to a Social Media Party, compared creating a social media strategy to hosting a party. As a follow-up this week, we’ll talk about how to measure the success of your social strategy by again comparing it with a successful party.  It’s very important to determine if your strategy helped to reach your audience, share valuable information with them, and entertain them with engaging content.

  1. What does a successful social media campaign look like to you?

    What does a successful social media campaign look like to you?

    Our family’s celebration over the weekend was a huge success! Our families are so big that before we knew it, our kitchen was full of laughter and every inch of our deck was occupied. There were approximately 100 of our invited guests scattered inside and outside our home. At your virtual party, you invited many industry peers, partners or potential clients as your guests. Measure how many of your honored guests followed you in return, or “attended your social media party. “ Monitor the number of social shares, retweets and likes to measure how many guests came to the party through your social channels, and which social channel(s) brought the most guests. TIP:  If you haven’t already done so, remember to invite your email community by adding buttons on your email signature and your offline community with social channel graphics on print materials.

  2. The food served at our party was a big hit too with only a few morsels remaining as leftovers. The large variety of dishes to choose from allowed every guest to find their favorite and gobble up their plates. Yet there were still favorite dishes among all of the guests, mainly the fried chicken and mac-n-cheese, versus the baked beans which were only eaten by a few. Measure how much of your social party menu was taken in by monitoring traffic on your blog, retweets, likes, shares, comments and replies to your posts. Find which content was the most popular with your audience and which content, if any, was passed over like the baked beans. If your information menu was a huge success, you may have found it overwhelming to keep up with the level of engagement. Try one of the online management tools to assist in monitoring, replying, measuring and conversing with your community. Two of my favorites are talked about in, My Social Media BFFs.
  3. I typically refrain from traditional decorations preferring to use a little creativity with a multi-purpose approach instead. In addition to streamers, some of our decorations were cupcake tiers, white chocolate chip stuffed raspberries in martini glasses and a photo board to create a festive atmosphere. Surprisingly though, the most talked about “decoration” was our redecorated kitchen that was completed the day before the party. This is a great lesson for content marketers: As professionals, we may favor one piece of content, but our social media community may favor another. This is why it’s important to create content in many different formats to engage and entertain our audience. The kitchen was the starting point of many conversations (engagement) while also being aesthetically pleasing. Our guests not only shared their approval with me and my husband, but I overheard them discussing the subject with each other. This is the same as your social community sharing and discussing your company’s content via social channels. Use metrics to determine which format your audience prefers to consume their content, i.e., infographics, video, case study, etc. Another key take away is to create content for multiple purposes. Yes the raspberries looked very classy in the martini glasses, but they also served as a delicious appetizer. Even the kitchen, though it looked beautiful, obviously doubled as the hub for the meal preparation. This is the same as repurposing content in a social media strategy. For example, a case study highlights how you provided a solution for another company, but the statistics within the case study can also be repurposed as an infographic.

One thing is for sure, the more you invest in your social community relationships, the better you will understand which channels your audience hangs out in most, what content they enjoy most and in which format they consume it most.

Are you having fun with your social communties?

Are you having fun with your social communties?

Remember the goal of a social media strategy is to be social – so be creative, converse often, and have fun with your communities.

How successful was your social media party? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.