Online exclusive: Mobile Video-sharing Apps: Advice and Examples

By Katrina Olson

Just when you think you’re on top of social media with your blog, YouTube Channel, Facebook and Twitter, something new comes along: video-sharing apps.

As with any shiny, new social media platform, video-sharing tools like Instagram or Vine should be part of a comprehensive social media and marketing strategy. Further, it will need care and feeding by someone who is enthusiastic about video and the new media. It may take a while to build a following, but by starting now, you’ll be ahead of the competition.

To get the most out of mobile video-sharing apps, follow these guidelines:

1. Be unique. If your product is so easy to use a monkey could figure out, use a monkey!

2. Use hashtags. If your app of choice allows them, hashtags make it easier for users to find you. They can also enable you to link to an existing conference (for example) and post videos from your booth.

3. Update frequently. By committing to providing fresh and engaging content, you’re more likely to build a following, which means more customer engagement, and a more effective relationship building or marketing tool.

4. Encourage interaction. Ask for customer feedback, comments, and suggestions from followers. Start a conversation or solicit customer testimonials. Request that followers post videos of themselves using your product.

5. Be spontaneous. Post a video just for fun, to enhance your brand image or build rapport with your followers. But be careful. Don’t show employees doing something unflattering and make sure someone approves all videos.

And as we’ve learned from a number of big brands, spontaneity isn’t always a good thing. For example, take CNN and Reuters who hastily tweeted that Gabrielle Gifford had died after the January 2011 shooting in Tucson, Ariz. Or an official ChryslerAutos tweet which read, “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f$%#@!* drive.” Oops.

20 Brands that got it right.

On a positive note, following are some examples of brands that have successfully used micro-video to engage, entertain, and interact with their followers.

  1. GE celebrates Thomas Edison’s birthday
  2. Tropicana celebrates Valentine’s Day
  3. Nintendo celebrates Zombies
  4. Go Local Interactive captures their trade show booth
  5. HubSpot gives office tour
  6. Red Vines Candy highlights their product
  7. Open Road Films promotes the Steve Jobs movie
  8. Simon & Schuster lets you play “reading roulette”
  9. Gap tells their brand story
  10. Cadbury UK promotes a contest
  11. Dove bowls a strike
  12. British boy band Lawson greets their fans
  13. The London Zoo introduces its penguins
  14. Southwest Airlines demonstrates corporate social responsibility, plays “Guess the Airport,” and shares a viddy about a bald eagle that flew to Kansas City on their airplane for a 4th of July event.
  15. ShoeMint gives discounts and free shoes
  16. Red Bull shows cliff diving and other extreme sports
  17. The Muppets promoted their upcoming movie in 2011
  18. Discovery Channel featured clips from Shark Week
  19. The Milwaukee Bucks showed crazy slam dunks
  20. The Brooklyn Nets showed the building of their new stadium


Remember, these video-sharing apps are already a few years old so the early adopters are on board. Major brands have taken commanding leads in terms of followers. Urban Outfitters has more than 45,000 followers on Vine. Southwest has more than 263,000 followers on Viddy. Sierra Mist has more than 800,000 on Socialcam. GE has more than 625,000 followers on SocialCam and about 140,000 followers on Instagram.

It’s too early to tell which video-sharing app will come out on top. Socialcam and Viddy have large followings but Vine’s alliance with Twitter and Instagram’s ownership by Facebook will certainly give them an advantage. For now, you may want to find the one that works best for you and start building your following.


Katrina Olson is a strategic communications consultant and freelance writer. She can be reached at

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