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How Lowe’s and Vine Build Social Video Success

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When the campaign starts up again -- and Walters won’t say when that will be -- look for it to have a broader variety of tips from a wider range of sources.

This Vine campaign isn’t the first time Lowe’s has created online video. The company runs a YouTube channel with nearly 40 million subscribers where it posts longer content. Walters says the combination gives his company a two-pronged approach, posting longer videos on YouTube and quick hits on Vine. While both areas deal with home improvement, Walters knew it was important to give each area its own identity, just as it was important to give the Vine videos a separate identity from the Facebook campaign that inspired them.

“We felt like Vine could be a place where it would make it very easy to share that content because it was short. It got to the point, and it had some level of entertainment that would keep you focused on it,” Walters says.

The Right Tool for the Job

While Lowe’s has been tracking the performance of its Vine videos -- noting how many subscribers the account has, and how many times Vines have been shared -- the company is most interested in scaling the videos and getting them in front of as many customers as possible. That’s why Lowe’s runs them as pre-roll ads for other online videos, bundling a few Vine videos together and inserting a bumper on either end. The campaign is less about ROI, Walters says, than it is about making sure that customers and potential customers see the videos, know that Lowe’s is offering them value, and remain engaged with the brand.

Walters put his advertising background to work when he joined Lowe’s three years ago and began building the company’s social media presence. Before he was hired, Lowe’s didn’t put much effort into social media. Its Twitter account, for example, wasn’t very active and had few followers. Walters built a six-person social media team that gets help from about a dozen employees in the customer care department. Together, they create new content and engage in customer conversations on a variety of platforms.

Besides YouTube, Vine, Twitter, and Facebook, Lowe’s is also active on Pinterest and Instagram. Each has its own approach. Every social effort needs to stay authentic to that network, Walters says. For example, the idea on Pinterest is to drive inspiration with high-impact imagery. The content is diverse, representing a variety of projects. With Facebook Lowe’s is able to do several different things, but focuses on maintaining an engaged dialogue with customers. Every Facebook comment gets answer. “No post is left is left behind on Facebook,” his team likes to say. On Twitter, they craft short comments that offer tips or spread the word about special offers. Walters wants to create tweets that are bite-sized and relevant; they should offer value and stand out from the huge wave of content constantly posted to Twitter.

“Word-of-mouth is something that’s been around for a long time, but negative word-of-mouth spreads further and farther than positive sometimes,” Walters says. “We put a lot of effort to make sure that our customers are tended to and that they are having a positive experience with Lowe’s, so that they continue to shop our stores and continue to tell their friends and family to do the same.”

With that kind of creativity and commitment, Lowe’s is putting all of its social media tools to good use.

This article appears in the May 2014 issue of Streaming Media magazine as "Lowe’s and Vine Build Social Video Success."

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