How Brands Use Vine

vine-photoThe video app Vine is moving into a golden age. The six seconds format perfectly suits today’s news stream and will probably be an advantage like we have seen it for Twitter’s 140 character format. It makes it shareable and accessible. Some huge brands are already using the new service, but what can you actually do with it?

The biggest strength of Vine is its simplicity. With the phone in your hand, you can suddenly be a director. The app allows you to as many frames as you want within the six seconds of video shot. This makes it a perfect tool to create visual storytelling and express creativity.

Just like Instagram has become a way for people to share great and good-looking photos from your everyday life, Vine can become a great way for people to share sequences of their experiences. Visual content is more and more in focus as a way to express who you are and to create engagement – both for individuals as well as for brands.

Some of the brands that have already embraced Vine include:  Lowe’s, General Electric, Puma, USA Today, Urban Outfitters, Barcardi and Doritos.

It is only your creativity that sets the limit for how Vine can be used. Here are some examples of how brands are using Vine so far:

  • Product demonstration: Why not demonstrate a product instead of just having a still photo. This will make your products come to life.
  • Competitions: Challenge your users to generate content. Give people a hashtag to use that will gather all the material.
  • Behind the scenes shots: Include your users and make them feel closer to your brand by for instance showing them exclusive shots before big events or just random happenings at the headquarter.
  • News reporting: Bring your story to life with a video. Live footage is of course the best way of documentation.
  • How to videos: This is also in line with product demos, where you can either show how to make great use of your products, short cooking tips, or home improvement tips.

 

Get Ready for the Bots – on Facebook Messenger

2Facebook Messenger was released 5 years ago and now has over 900 million users. Originally receiving a flood of negativity towards a standalone messaging app, compared to one simple Facebook app, users seem to be warming to it. The decision to make it standalone does make a lot of sense, since messaging is a big part of people’s lives nowadays and Facebook even bought the domain messenger.com to launch a version for web browsers last year. Their 900 million users will more than likely be merged with Whatsapp’s 1 billion users, which means that Facebook will have the personal phone number of every single user – sounds like $19 billion well spent.

 

Open for Business

So that’s humans covered. Where to go next? Facebook is now venturing into their next Messenger-based project: bots. If you haven’t been keeping up, Facebook launched Messenger Platform last month, which holds within it, chatterbots. Luckily, these bots are not machine learning bots, such as the disaster that was Microsoft’s Tay. They do have some humorous replies if provoked but they ultimately steer the conversation back to the subject they’re designed to cater for. Thanks to their highly advanced Send/Receive API, these bots are able to reply with actual structured messages, including links, images, hotel reservations, the weather etc. You may immediately compare this to Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Google Now and Amazon Echo, but what sets bots on Messenger apart is the fact that businesses can develop them, which in turn gives them another way to develop customer service. Simply put, bots could end up changing the world by replacing humans in such job sectors. Without the bespoke customer service integration that Messenger bots provide, the above voice-activated services will most likely not be able to solve business-related queries themselves. Having said that, the way bots behave is very reminiscent of the way Siri does. Maybe they’ll talk to each other one day and we’ll get the best of both.

 

Customer Service and Added Value

So how can these bots work for brands? Well, eventually, every major company in the world will have an account, which will be a first port of call when contacting their company. The reason this is almost definite is due to Facebook’s already-mammoth-sized network of users. It doesn’t get any bigger than Facebook when advertising to individual people, so connecting Messenger bots (as customer sales reps, for example) is extremely attractive. Messenger codes, one of many things taken from Snapchat, will also make it easier for businesses to connect with their customers. One industry example is how bots will almost certainly change how banking works for the consumer, replacing an app or web-based system with a dialogue with a machine that is able to understand your every need. The option to send money within Messenger itself is highly likely too, like Snapchat allows. This could also eliminate the hassle of speaking to a bank’s voice recognition system when calling by telephone – no more time (and money) wasted by the dreaded “I didn’t catch that. Please try again.” These voice recognition systems are essentially bots done badly, but they’re based on voice, which is a lot more difficult to translate into zeros and ones. Plus, you cannot autocorrect your voice (yet). I can see this whole system being replaced by bots – it could even connect you to a human advisor with ease, as you’re most likely already using your phone. Even if you’re using the desktop version or Facebook Chat, I’m sure they’ll figure something out. Besides banks, what other markets will benefit from this? Restaurants, travel and possibly supermarkets with online shopping services are big industries for it to thrive. The healthcare industry could also be a large portion – Healthtap have already created their bot, which isn’t surprising considering one of the first ever chatterbots was called DOCTOR and simulated a psychotherapist. In fact, the potential amount of markets are endless for this stream of interaction – just like it is with human customer service.

 

At the end of the day, customers are moving towards messaging as their preferred choice of customer service. And as generations progress, it will no doubt become the standard – a phone call will most likely be reserved for long, meaningful conversations with friends and family, which in turn will add even more meaning to them. The phone call will no longer be taken for granted, but talking to robots will be.