It’s new, it’s exciting… you know you want to use it for marketing!

Twitter made their Vine app universally available just as the news broke that the microblogging network itself has become the fastest growing social platform in the world. If you’ve not yet heard of Vine, don’t worry – early adopters have been few and far between.

So what is it? Vine is a video-sharing app that Twitter believed in to the point they scooped up the start-up company before the product even launched. Users can create and share short animated GIFs by piecing together three-segment videos. Those short videos can be easily shared to Twitter or Facebook, though Vine itself acts as a social network by allowing users to see the videos of others right inside the app.

One feature in particular is incredibly helpful for marketers: the ability to categorize videos using hashtags. As new users browse categories of videos sorted using hashtags assigned by the creator, they are exposed to all users (or brands) using those tags. They can then choose to watch the videos or follow that user.

Here’s how to get started:

  1. Begin by downloading the Vine app from the App Store. After accepting the app’s permissions, sign in using your Twitter or email account login. Signing in with Twitter allows the app to pull your account information from the social network.
  2. Take a few moments to browse existing vines (videos) on the app homepage. Until you start following people, Vine will display their Editor’s Choice Vines on the homepage.
  3. Find friends using the app to automatically search your address book, Twitter account, or Facebook account.
  4. Create a new vine by clicking the camera icon at the top right corner of the homepage.
  5. Record your vine by holding your finger on the screen. You have up to six seconds for your entire vine and can use a stop-motion technique by stopping and restarting your recording.
  6. Preview your vine video and decide to either continue to sharing, or delete it and start over.
  7. Share your creation on Vine as well as Twitter and/or Facebook. To save without sharing, tap the “Share on Vine” button to deselect this option, then tap “Done” (as shown below). Saving without sharing allows you to add a caption, then share your vine. However, Vine will ask if the app can access your Camera Roll in order to save the clip; you are required to do so in order to save. Adding a location is another option that can be useful for SMBs, who may only service or target a specific geographic area.

Share Vine content across your SMB networks on Facebook and Twitter.

Not sure how much valuable content you could fit into a six-second clip? Check out this vine from Gap, who used their limited time and space to take fans of the brand on a trip down memory lane. BusinessInsider has already collected several examples of brands using vines for creative social marketing content, as well.

Currently, Vine is available only to iPhone users, though Twitter says it’s coming to other platforms soon. Will you be giving Twitter’s latest social craze a try? Share your thoughts about Vine in the comments!