5 Things Startups Can Learn From Brands on Viddy

Major companies like Southwest and Warner Brothers are using the micro-video sharing site to build engagement with their customers.
November 02, 2012 Viddy, the social video-sharing platform known for its 15-second time cap, has a slogan on its website: Capture Life in the Moment. Countless brands are seizing this opportunity, capturing aspects of their day-to-day operations in order to drive engagement with fans and followers.

Due to Viddy's success (in May, Viddy completed a $30 million Series B funding round, valuing the company at more than $300 million) and the success in brands extending their social reach, the video platform may be a good addition to any startup's media plan.

We spoke to five popular brands to see how they use Viddy, and they shared some helpful tips for any startups looking to get into the game.

Contests and Giveaways With Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines has been using Viddy since January, when it ran a "15-second movie" contest in conjunction with the Sundance Film Festival. In September, Southwest encouraged users to send in videos of their coolest secret handshakes as part of that month's "Viddy A Day." 

Southwest's content strategy essentially revolves around three things. First, there's the poignant visual aesthetic, with a beginning, middle and end of a story within 15 seconds. Then, there's the static visual aesthetic, showcasing something in progress but interesting to the viewer for only 15 seconds. Lastly is the call to action, which Brooks Thomas, merging media coordinator at Southwest, explains is "somebody saying something or telling [the viewer] to do something–some sort of actionable item that usually involves a person talking."

To that end, Southwest Airlines has partnered with Viddy for the last two months on its "Viddy A Day," which, Thomas says, has given them access to a younger, more technologically savvy audience than the company may usually see. Through the campaign, Southwest has hosted several contests, and the team has received extremely creative, well-shot videos.

As for startups, Thomas advises, "Think about what your audience wants, [but] don't overthink it. Be simple. In the beginning, it was just me taking a Viddy, posting it and then just seeing if anybody was listening, finding out they really were and kind of growing it from there. And now when we do them, whoever answers the correct answer first, we actually send them a little tchotchke just to thank them for following and sticking with us and being a part of our conversation on Viddy."

Behind-the-Scenes Access With DVF

Fashion brand DVF, headed by designer Diane von Furstenberg, launched its Viddy profile (along with its Facebook Moments tab, which ties in videos) in February during New York Fashion Week. "We had been looking for ways to share intimate glimpses into the world of DVF, and when we heard about Viddy and its short, 15-second snippets, we knew there was potential there," says Michelle Horowitz, executive vice president of marketing and communications at DVF.

The brand's strategy for the video platform is to tell a story in each video and show how a fashion house operates behind the scenes. "For our launch in February, we shared prep, fittings and moments backstage, quick interviews with Diane and the DVF design team, and short Q&As with our show guests, including Oscar de la Renta, Nina Garcia, Barbara Walters, Rachel Zoe, Anderson Cooper, Steven Kolb, Fern Mallis, Joe Zee and Brad Goreski, among others," Horowitz says.

DVF has also documented moments at major events such as the DVF Awards, the photo shoot for the brand's fall advertising campaign and Fashion’s Night Out. For the most recent Fashion Week in September, DVF focused its Viddys on the collection as a whole -- "how inspiration comes to life, from moodboard to runway," Horowitz says. Viddy also allowed DVF to highlight additional footage from its September collaboration with Google Glass.

On average, DVF's Viddy profile gains 1,500 followers per week, which is due in part to its videos' authentic, behind-the-scenes feel, allowing followers to engage with the brand in a more meaningful way. 

Specifically for startups, Horowitz suggests putting quality content first and foremost. "Capture moments that will elicit excitement and draw people in. Use engaging titles and descriptions, post frequently, answer questions from users and follow back to take it a step further," she says.

Direct Interaction with the Phoenix Suns

NBA team the Phoenix Suns just started using Viddy this past summer, but the team's digital department had been planning on joining for a few months, once they learned about the platform.

At the moment, the Suns have a strategy similar to DVF: behind-the-scenes glimpses of the team and its organization. For example, the Suns' social media specialist, Greg Esposito, posted daily clips of exercises and scrimmages during the team's San Diego training camp. Additionally, just this past week, the Suns' marketing department produced a TV commercial for the new season, and included “making of” clips on its Viddy profile.

The Suns currently have just under 1,000 followers on Viddy, and the digital team expects that number to grow dramatically once the season starts at the end of October. However, Jeramie McPeek, vice president of digital for the Suns, explains that another aspect of the team's Viddy strategy is to use the platform as a sort of extension of existing social media, rather than just another network.

"To be honest, we’re not looking to create another large audience of followers on Viddy," he says. "We’re really using Viddy to create some fun, creative and dramatic clips that we can then push out to fans through our Suns Twitter channel."

McPeek advises startups not to be afraid to mess with Viddy's unique filters and music. "[They] can take an otherwise ordinary video and make it unique and fun for your social audience," he says. "Giving your followers those behind-the-scenes looks and making them interesting will make them more memorable."

Specialization With Brides Magazine

Brides is relatively new to Viddy–it first tried the platform last April–but recently used it to amplify its brand with Fashion Week. By focusing on this one event with the video platform, Brides is able to offer a specialized experience for interested readers.

"So far, we have only used [Viddy] to cover Fashion Week, which our brides love to see, but we have plans to do some behind-the-scenes content from photo shoots and other events we go to," says Lisa Gooder, digital content director at Brides. This is similar to the magazine's Instagram strategy, and Gooder explains that the team hopes to grow its Viddy audience quickly through promotion on the website and through other social channels.

Gooder has some great, specific advice for startups: "Post your content in a horizontal format so that it can be featured as a most popular post!" she says.

Live Performances and Moments With Warner Bros. Records

The first Warner Bros. Records (WBR) artists to use Viddy were Linkin Park and Meek Mill, which showed the digital team that the platform fit well with how the company's artists interact with their fans.

"Our most prominent application of ... the service is shooting short clips live at our music video shoots," says Ayal Kleinman, vice president of digital marketing at WBR. "This works very well since fans love the inside view from the video shoot as its happening. We have also post live Viddys from shows, photo shoots, artist showcases here at our Warner Headquarters in Burbank and more."

Kleinman says Viddy enables WBR to deliver an insider’s view into what’s happening with its artists at significant moments in their careers. "It’s natural that our most passionate fans would want to be the first to know when this type of content is being released, and their interest probably drives follower growth more than anything else," he says. "It’s a simple rule: The more we share, the more engagement we create."

For startups "the cardinal rule is making sure the content is great," Kleinman says. "We don’t share just to share. We try to capture great authentic moments that are compelling enough to hit our social feeds. Timing is also everything. With Viddy and tools like it, it is important to close the gap between when the content is created and when it is shared. Viddy enables that quite well with a very well-built app."

Does your company use Viddy, or does it plan to now? Tell us in the comments.