For those of you who were intimidated by the thought of marketing yourself on YouTube, here’s a video tool for you.Vine, Twitter’s new social media video app, allows you to make short videos on your computer or mobile device and easily upload them to your Vine, Twitter, and Facebook accounts. The catch? The videos are limited to six seconds—about the time it takes to utter a 140-character tweet.
Here’s how it works
First you download the app from iTunes to your computer or mobile device, then you sign in with your Twitter account or create a new account using your email address. You click the video icon in the upper right-hand corner and start shooting. It’s that simple. Touch the screen and hold it down, say, for two seconds. Let go, focus on a new image, and touch the screen again. Shoot that for two seconds, and then a third image for two seconds. Those three videos, totaling six seconds, will play on loop, like a super-animated gif. You can shoot one video of six seconds, twelve videos of a half a second each, any combination you want.
There are two ways to use Vine
1. As a really fun, really big time waster (like playing Angry Birds)
2. To build your author platform.
Building your author platform using Vine
How does one build one’s author platform using Vine? Here are my first two Vine videos, shot today and yesterday with my iPhone and no tripod. (If you want to put your iPhone on a tripod, check out the Gorillapod + GripTight or, if you have an iPhone 4/4S and you already have a tripod, try this other great iPhone/tripod adaptor that I just ordered.)
Here's my first Vine video.
Here's my second Vine video.
Although Vine does have sound and allows you just enough time to record about one sentence of text, most big brands that have experimented with Vine stick to visual messages—either through a montage of images à la Gap, through videos of text à la GE, or through stop-action animation à la Rolling Stone Magazine.
The possibilities are endless. If you sell handmade dolls on Etsy, for example (You all do that on the side, right?), you could show short clips of three or four different dolls followed by your logo or website name. Or you could show yourself hand painting the doll’s eyes, or a little girl’s face lighting up when she receives the doll. Like Twitter, Vine uses the “freedom of limitations” approach. By limiting the videos to six seconds, you’re free to experiment without spending hours trying to script complicated YouTube videos. One website recommends four steps to creating a great Vine video:
1. Decide on your message
2. Simplify that message
3. Name your call to action (visit my website, buy my book, follow me on Twitter)
4. Convey your message visually
Here's a challenge. Download Vine, create an account, create and post your first Vine video, and share it here in comments. It doesn't have to be brilliant or market your brand. But give it a try. It's a lot of fun.