Last week, Twitter announced the release of Vine for Android devices, putting the micro video service back in the spotlight after being introduced to iPhone users a few months ago. The app allows users to record looping videos of up to 6 seconds long and then share them with their Twitter followers.

trademark_logoThe videos can either be taken as a single shot or at intervals to create a stop animated style clip.

Even if the alloted time is relatively short, it hasn’t stopped some enterprising businesses from using the new platform to promote their products and services and connect with customers. Here are some of the most creative and appealing business uses for Vine:

1. Encourage customer participation. Vine is extremely easy to use and there’s no high-tech equipment required. Users can just click and create on their smartphones. For this reason, Vine is ideal for audience participation- especially for high-engagement interactive content like contests.

For example you could ask your audience to submit video clips of them using your products or services in the most imaginative way and offer a prize to the most creative.

2. Get customer testimonials. Vine is a great platform to highlight video testimonials. You could either choose to showcase your best individual testimonials, or you could ask your clients and customers what word or idea they would use to sum up their customer experience and collate these clips into a fast-paced, dynamic and engaging video.

3. Create video how-to’s. Vine can be harnessed to create a series of ‘how to’ videos to demonstrate how consumers can use your products and services most effectively, or how to install your products in a series of easy to follow steps. One example of this in action is Bacardi. The liquor company created a six second cocktail series with each video demonstrating how to make a different Bacardi-based drink.

4. Strengthen brand awareness. These short videos can present a creative opportunity to build your brand. You can set the tone and style of your videos to match your own unique image and resonate with your target audience, and don’t be afraid to show a little personality either.

5. Promote an upcoming product or service. You can use the platform to create a six second teaser or trailer for a new product or upcoming event. Make sure you include a link to more information or a carefully crafted landing page. You could similarly use Vines for event countdowns or other attention grabbing reminders and notices for giveaways, special deals, discounts or contests.

6. Create a unique portfolio. Why have a static portfolio when you can display your past work in an animated and eye-catching short video?

7. Show your personal side. Let your audience get to know you better on a personal level. Share behind the scenes video clips of you, your employees, and your work space. Use carefully edited clips of your team at company events or fun workshops. If you work by yourself then show customers your desk with the photos of your family and the view out your window, or tell them what you love about your business.

8. Highlight an event. You can use Vine to showcase an event being hosted by or at your business or any promotion and include a Tweet that encourages viewers to show up.

In short, the novelty of Vine is something to pay attention to, and there is little to stop it from becoming a versatile tool in your online marketing efforts.