What does Twitter's Vine platform mean for brands? close

Mark McDermott
Mark McDermott
In Online Innovation
22nd February 2013
What does Twitter's Vine platform mean for brands?

At the end of January Twitter introduced a new video service called Vine - a mobile app (currently iOS only) that let's users create 6 second looping video clips on their mobile and share them on social networks, predominantly on Twitter as you might expect! Brands such as Gap, GE and Urban Outfitters are giving it go. Should your company try it to?

My first reaction was to question what you could really achieve in 6 seconds of hastily cut video? And indeed, the service launched to mixed feelings about what worth or value it would bring to the social sphere. Coupled with scandal about the amount of porn and spam that suddenly materialised it has a job to do to become mainstream but we should be careful not to completely discredit a new platform in its infancy. Remember many people struggled to see Twitter's relevance for quite a few years.

"Instagram for video" seems to be a popular summarisation. Others see greater potential though as Vine sets a creative challenge akin to Twitter's 140 character limit. Journalists seem to be the early trendsetters in how to use this medium at its best. Probably due to the very nature of their job. Dom Hofmann, General Manager of Vine, says,

Posts on Vine are about abbreviation – the shortened form of something larger. They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life.

Here are a few ways Vine could be used by your brand.

To reflect your culture

We've recently started using Instagram and Vine to give our clients, followers and potential future staff more of a flavour of the agency and how we operate. It's deliberately light hearted but valuable as our clients do not really get to know the many heroes behind the scenes that make things happen here. The culture of brands is becoming increasingly recognised as an important factor to consumers and those companies getting it right on social media do so with personality and openness. Vine can help that.

Here is an example from our studio:

Behind the scenes

If you are working on a new product, brand or shoot a Vine video is the perfect teaser without giving too much away. A micro trailer! In the same vein as exposing more of your company culture social media now gives you the opportunity to make content out of what would normally be considered project waste.


Vine makes it much easier to help draw users to a particular event or business location with advanced geo tagging - a definite win over YouTube.

User Generated Content

Asking customers to create content can be tricky but achieving it can lead to fantastic viral results. If you can stimulate your army of brand ambassadors they spread your messages for you. However in our experience when it comes to video the UGC results are often long and rambling. Using Vine as a limiter will focus the user to concentrate on storytelling. Plus it has a pretty low barrier to entry, they don't have to do any complex editing and uploading is very simple.

Product Demonstrations / How To Guides / Recipes

A speculative user will not sit through a long product demo video if they are unsure they will ultimately want it. Knowing the video is very short is likely to convince them to watch. The 6 second limit also forces you to get to the essence of your product succinctly - an elevator pitch if you like. Have a look at my first attempt for our Pole Fitness app!

I also made this video in our studio to demonstrate that QR codes are no longer necessary due to advances in mobile augmented reality recognition:

Yes, a video is still going to be more challenging to create than snapping a photo, a feature ever present on a mobile home screen, but the viral potential is amazing. It's becoming increasingly common to see brands making imaginative use of Pinterest. This followed on from a critical mass of Pinterest users but I would predict Vine will move in the same direction with Twitter's immensely powerful backing.

As always I don't advocate just leaping in and adopting Vine into your social strategy straight away but you should think about how this could help plug any current gaps you have between video and image content. There is also the opportunity for first mover advantage whilst others wait for everyone else to go first. If you want to try it my advice would to be pick one content strand that Vine could help you with and just experiment and finesse that for now.