In 2013, for the first time ever, U.S. adults spent more time on their mobile devices than watching TV. We’ve become obsessed with our smartphones – shopping, texting, photo sharing, listening to music, even dating. Theres an app for almost everything.  So, whats the latest? People are spending a significant amount of time on social photo sharing apps like Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest.  If you are one of those old-time marketers that has been relentlessly fighting the shift to social media marketing, its time to surrender. Companies that have been quick to adapt to the new landscape have catapulted their brand and increased sales exponentially. The potential that these new apps hold for content development, increasing customer base, and spreading brand awareness makes them worth while marketing strategy.  Your best marketing tool is right in front of you, you just have to figure out a way to creatively put it in motion.

Vine

It’s no secret that our attention spans are
shrinking and Vine is one app suitable for the lowes vine creationattention-span-challenged. It allows you to take 6-second videos and share them with other users.  Vine’s simple concept has grown quickly since its release. In 2013, it became the fastest growing app of the year. But how can businesses use this to their advantage?

Lowes is one company who found a really great way to use Vine. With over 18,000 followers, the brand creates what they call “#LowesFixinSix” videos. These showcase super clever home improvement tips using stop motion and time lapse techniques. By getting really creative, coming up with a unique hashtag, and sharing useful information, Lowes hit it out of the park with Vine users and earned new customers in the process.

Instagram

Recently reaching 200 million users, Instagram is a photo-sharing app that you’ve probably heard of. It was launched in 2010 and since has gotten people hooked on taking photos with their smartphones, using different filters, and sharing them with other users.

nike sliding moundWith the highest number of followers on Instragram, Nike must be doing something right. While regularly uploading photos of athletes similar to their well-known commercials, Nike also uses Instagram to connect with their followers. In fact, they launched a campaign called “Nike PHOTOiD” that invited their followers to design a custom shoe on their website and pair it with one of their own Instagram photos. It gave their followers a chance to be creative and an incentive to share photos of Nike products with all of their friends. Due to their continuous interactions with their customers on the photo-sharing site, Nike has amassed over four million followers.

Pinterest

A lot of brands have made their way onto Pinterest, the platform that allows users to “pin” items of inspiration to different boards and share them with other users. Although well-known for its predominately female audience and its bounty of DIY projects, all types of interests find a place on Pinterest. The platform has a huge mobile audience, too, with 75% of its daily activity coming from apps.

Brands like Whole Foods, Mashable, Wall Street Journal, and even General Electric have creatively adapted to the growing platform and utilized it their advantage.  As a platform thats known for its ample amount of DIY ideas, recipes and beauty how-to’s, it’s hard to imagine how a brand like General Electric might fit in. However, GE has certainly found its niche and users have noticed in a big way.  GE encourages user interaction, inspiration and photo sharing lead by a single mission, ‘Pinning things that inspire us to build, power, move and cure the world.”

Snapchat

As one of the most controversial apps of the last few years, Snapchat may seem like the last place you want to market your brand. But with 26 million users sending 400 million snaps a day, it’s difficult to ignore the potential this app has for connecting you to your customers. So, exactly how does one use this photo messaging app that only allows the receiver of your snapchat pic from tbellmessage to view your content for a limited amount of time?
Well, Taco Bell managed to figure it out. The fast food chain first used Snapchat to announce the return of its Beefy Crunch Burrito. After tweeting a mysterious tweet about a “secret announcement,” followers of the brand couldn’t resist but to add Taco Bell on Snapchat. From then on, Taco Bell has used the platform to engage customers in a “Doodle War,” in which customers can add drawings to one of Taco Bell’s snaps. Although Snapchat is still not used by a large amount of businesses, the few brands that are actively using the messaging app are connecting with consumers on a more personal level.

As with any type of marketing, it takes quite a bit of time and creativity to launch a successful campaign on any of these social apps. Yet each one provides a unique opportunity to develop original visual content that consumers are interested in. Even more, these social apps pave another way for you to connect with mobile-obsessed customers. Not only will users feel more loyal and connected to your company, but they could help spread brand awareness, too. Conquering Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat may seem a bit daunting, but the potential they hold is something worth considering for your business.

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