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The New Visual Social Marketing Tools: Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat

If you haven’t been living under a rock lately, you know that video and images have completely infiltrated social media. It seems nowadays people won’t bother reading a post unless it has some outlandish photo or video clips that accompanies it.
Thanks to our society’s insanely small attention span and love of all things visual, marketers now have three new social media marketing tools they can call on for promoting their brands: Instagram®, Vine®, and Snapchat®.
Each of these three outlets has their own unique strategy, so it’s best to understand each of them before you unleash your marking to their audiences. Here is a breakdown of the three social media channels along with some suggestions for getting the most out each.

Instagram

Instagram is one of the world’s most used social media channels, boasting over 200 million users, including many of the world’s top brands. It integrates with both Facebook (its parent company) and Twitter, and allows for both still photography and short 15-second videos.
Hashtags are also popular in Instagram, as well. Similar to twitter, adding hashtags (#) to your posts will allow them to be visible on public tag pages. Think of them as a keyword. For example, if you’re posting a picture of your new food product, you may want to add #yummy or #delicious. You can also search to find popular hashtags that are already in use. Just try not to go overboard.
You can also engage your audience by asking users to participate in photo contests. Encourage followers to upload photos related to your brand in exchange for coupons, discounts, and prizes. User generated content is a great way to drive in leads to your product or service.

Vine

Vine is the newest of the three platforms. It is designed in a way for you to film separate instances so they can be linked together in quick 6-second looping videos. These videos are typically lighthearted in nature, since they are so short in length.
Instead of trying to trim down a lengthier video, it’s best to fully embrace the whimsical and fleeting nature of the Vine. The most successful videos tend to be surprising and memorable while hilarious and unexpected.
Hashtags also make an appearance in Vine as well. They allow videos to become searchable on their app and on their website. Again, make sure not overwhelm with too many hashtags. One or two will do.
If you’re planning on using Vine, it’s best to plan out your snippet first. There is currently no way to take prerecorded video from your camera roll and upload it, so everything needs to be done on the fly. You only get one chance to make it good, otherwise you’ll have to rework the entire video. No pressure, though.

Snapchat

Since Snapchat is ridiculously trivial in nature, it is the platform that marketers have the hardest time with. It goes against everything you’ve been told about advertising and marketing. Snapchat allows users to send photo and 15-second video messages that automatically delete themselves shortly after being viewed. And it’s only available as an app on mobile devices. Say what?!
If you don’t get it at first, don’t worry. Snapchat has not yet been embraced by the masses as a viable marketing tool, but some businesses have used their noggins and created some incredibly ingenious uses for the social media platform.
The best example of the use of Snapchat for marketing is 16 Handles, a frozen yogurt chain. They used the app to send their followers coupons in return for them snapping photos of themselves eating their yogurt. Since the snaps only last as long as 10 seconds once they’ve been opened, users had to wait in anticipation to unveil how much their coupon was worth (the coupons ranged from 10% to 100% off their purchase!) It was great for driving in repeat visits and showing love for their current customers.
Because of their superficial and trivial nature, It’s easy to see how these three visual social platforms can be easily be ignored by marketers. Even though Instagram, Vine and Snapchat have each been around for years, it’s refreshing to see companies starting to embrace these outlets for their new and exciting marketing ventures.