If you’re like most businesses, you’ve started using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, and are starting to integrate social media into your marketing mix. You’ve started your journey down the rabbit hole, unsure of where you’ll end up. Regardless of the tangible results, you can agree that social media is here to stay. Too many people—including your patients, coworkers, friends, and family—are spending too much time on these networks to ignore them for business purposes.

If you’re one of the early adopters in our industry, you’ll be excited to learn about the latest social media tools that are getting quite the buzz these days—Vine and Instagram Video. Set up like Twitter for video, Vine is one of the newest video applications that allows users to create short videos using their smartphones and post the content to the Internet and linked social networks, like Twitter. In June, the ever-popular photo-sharing app Instagram, best known for an assortment of color filters and users’ pictures of food, launched it’s new video feature, allowing smartphone users to capture and post short videos.

Beyond being pretty cool, both services are great for telling short stories in an informal way. Unlike YouTube or Vimeo videos, Vine and Instagram videos are much shorter. Since they’re similar, I recommend using one or the other. If you’re already active on Instagram, it makes the most sense to start there.

So, how do you know if these tools would be useful for your business? First, brainstorm to see if your company has a visual story to share. Most eyecare businesses should!

Companies can make use of short videos to show how they work, advertise products or services, and give tutorials about their expertise. For example, retailers can use short videos to show new styles for their eyewear lines as well as to showcase which frame styles look best on certain face shapes, or perhaps how one face can wear multiple styles. You can also show the eye exam process in three steps, or highlight an industry event.

Interested in trying it out? Go for it! Just remember to feature content that would work best as video, versus showing content in video that would work best as a static photo post to Facebook or Instagram. You can record audio as you record the video, which can certainly add value.

Jessica Clark is a social media consultant for small business and an eight-year optical industry marketing veteran.

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