Last month, Twitter announced the launch of its new video-sharing mobile application, Vine. Currently available to iPhone and iPod Touch owners, Vine positions the platform as a way “to see and share life in motion.” Like foursquare, Vine is a standalone application, accessible only through your mobile device. With a very minimalist design and user-friendly interface, the application is fairly simple to get acquainted with.
Before we get into how hotels (and their respective guests) are already sharing hotel-related content on Vine, let’s have a brief orientation of the infant platform:
- Creating an Account: To get started, simply sign up by entering an email address. If your hotel already has a designated email for social media initiatives, it would be a good idea to use it for Vine. Once you’ve created your account, you can simply sign in through your property’s Twitter account, which you will be asked to synch up with Vine during the set-up process.
- Acquiring a Following: In order to find and add followers on the platform, you can search by username, personal email import or, most helpfully, by importing your Twitter followers and see who has adopted Vine. Following users will allow you to view their most recently published content on your account’s home page.
- Creating Video: Content can be created by simply using your phone’s camera and pressing the app’s record button. You can start and stop recording to create a segmented video of many different shots, which is currently the most popular way of filming. However, videos are limited to six looping seconds in length, so keep this in mind when getting creative.
- Sharing Video: At the moment, the only social channels users can share their videos are on Facebook and Twitter. Keep in mind that giving Vine permission to share via Facebook means your personal account – not your hotel’s brand page – so you will only want to synch your property’s Twitter account when setting up a business profile. Users do have the ability to tag their videos at locations via foursquare, but unfortunately cannot share them on the platform. Hopefully, Vine will soon permit users to share their videos on foursquare, which will make the process of finding relevant, brand-related content far easier.
- Finding Content: Despite its simple interface, Vine is not, at this point, an easy platform to locate content. Similar to navigating a Twitter or Instagram feed, hashtags are extremely helpful at sifting through the clutter to find content that is most relevant to your interests. Users can search for specific content in the ‘Explore’ field by entering in keywords or hashtags or by sorting through Vine-created categories. Currently, the two loosely hotel-related categories are #travel and #food.
How Guests Are Already Using Vine
Despite the newness of the platform, travelers have been quick to create and share a wealth of content while on the road, most often of the hotels where they are staying. After doing a quick search on the app by using the #hotel hashtag, I discovered a variety of different types of hotel-related videos, from clips that toured you around hotels’ rooms, public spaces, exteriors and nearby attractions. This kind of authentic, user-generated content (UGC) is gold for the social media manager, as it provides you with another opportunity to share a unique look at your hotel with your fan community.
That’s all well and good, you may be thinking, but how accessible really is this content? Here are a few things to consider when doing your search:
- While using the #hotel hashtag was useful for the purpose of writing this post, it obviously will not be the only term you’ll want to use when searching for content about your specific hotel or restaurant. Try including terms related to your destination to better hone in on relevant content.
- As previously mentioned, users frequently tag their posts with their location via foursquare. Frustratingly, this does not, at this point, mean that this content will show up on your venue’s profile. Hopefully this will change soon, making the process of sourcing this content a far easier task.
- Travelers staying at your property will likely tag their post with words similar to, but not exactly, your unique hotel’s name. Just as we advise our clients when setting up social media searches, include variations of your hotel’s name (e.g. Twitter handle, brand designation) when looking for content.
- Remember, users can, and regularly do, share their videos on Twitter. Therefore, setting up searches in your social media client that match same key terms as above will only increase your chances of discovering UGC.
How Hotels Can Leverage the Platform
After searching the platform for content about your hotel, it’s time to create videos for yourself. Not only is this process far less time-intensive, it is very easy to execute – even for the most novice of iPhone users. Here are a few examples of Revinate customer hotels that are already putting Vine to effective use:
This Midtown Manhattan property has used Vine to offer fans quick glimpses of the hotel’s many appealing features, from a cozy look at the lounge’s fireplace to a glance at the fully-equipped Hyatt Fit fitness room. The clip below showcases a panoramic view of the hotel’s studio suite, giving guests a good sense of the room’s size and amenities.
While this luxury downtown Albuquerque hotel is just getting started on Vine, their first video is worth mentioning, as it is a highly effective clip showcasing a live music event going on in the lobby. Tweeting about your hotel lobby’s live jazz certainly is good practice, but being able to tweet it and preview it for your fans makes the content all the more effective.
Routinely recognized in the industry for their social media dedication, it’s unsurprising to see the Roger Smith Hotel has already created over 60 Vine posts, that span from capturing behind-the-scenes interactions with colleagues, to promoting their hotel’s own radio station, to giving a tour of the hotel’s neighborhood buildings. There are also several endearing videos featuring Henry the dog, an (apparently) frequent patron of the hotel.
Although it’s certainly unclear whether or not Vine has staying-power potential or is just another social outlet that will fade away, it’s a platform that hotels can certainly benefit from. That said, before jumping in and creating a thousand Vine videos at once, remember to consider the same questions you (hopefully) asked yourself before creating that Facebook page or Twitter account, which are:
- “Would creating content on this channel fit well with my brand’s voice?”
- “Are there meaningful objectives that could be achieved by engaging on this channel?”
- “Do I have the human capital to regularly maintain a presence this channel?”
If you can answer “yes” to the questions above and are interested in finding a new way to engage your hotel’s fans and future customers, then give Vine a try!