Vine Video: Gone (viral) in 6.5 Seconds

Nearly every day when I get home from the office, the kids have a new Vine Video or two to share. What’s a Vine video? A Vine video is kind of like a YouTube video, except it’s a 6.5 second clip that repeats to infinity. Viners, as they’re called, have taken what seems to most adults as at best a silly diversion and at worst evidence of the complete erosion of our attention spans and transformed it into a springboard for their own Internet stardom. Even Andy Warhol couldn’t have predicted this.

Vine Video

I downloaded Vine a little over a year ago when it was released, made a few dumb videos, and summarily deleted the app. I “boldly” stated that it was useless and would be forgotten within months. I reiterated that statement when Instagram launched video capabilities. And like many people who are quick to dismiss new ideas, I looked at it as an inferior way to do things I was already doing, instead of a platform to do new things. Meanwhile, other folks took their creativity and free time and used it to create something of a phenomenon.

Some Vines (the name for the service as well as the individual videos) are like a concentrated America’s Funniest Home Videos – a quick clip of someone falling down, doing something cool or just failing. Here’s a video compilation of some of the best Vines (Thanks PG Vines).

Cute? Funny? Creative? When it comes to  teenagers, this is it. While marketers have been wringing their hands trying to find a way to connect to this growing audience, they’ve been finding novel ways to connect to one another.

Counting Stars

It’s happening right under our noses. Vine was only established in 2013, but already has become the MTV of the moment. It’s not yet a churning mass-marketing machine like MTV, but it’s creating stars organically, out of the view of a many adult eyes. Popular Vine users have upwards of 5 million followers.

Teenagers talk about Viners the way that their parents talked about rock stars. They follow their every move and want to save up their allowance so they can meet them in person. Viners have gotten corporate sponsorship deals, gone on world tours, appeared on the red carpet and even become rock stars through their own efforts. Here are some success stories:

Shawn Mendez became famous on Vine at the age of 16. A musician, Shawn Mendes leveraged his Vine fame into a record deal, and his debut album was an instant hit on the Billboard charts and iTunes. (In a bizarre Flintstones meets Jetsons moment, his album was also released on vinyl.)

Nash Grier, at this writing the most popular person on Vine, has more than 9 million followers. His carefully-edited videos are released to coincide with when kids get home from school and he’s leveraged his Vine fame into smashing success on other social media channels to. So what? So companies will pay as much as $100,000 to have their products featured in one of Nash’s videos.

Jerome Jarre is a French Viner who is among the most followed on Vine. He quit his day job to focus on Vine video and has since launched an agency focused on developing stars for Vine and Snapchat called Grapestory. Again – these are serious business. The lowest-paid talent in Jarre’s stable makes $5,000 per video.

Logan Paul was an all-star High School athlete and started making Vines of himself goofing around. Before long, he had become a huge celebrity on Vine and like the others, regularly receives offers from blue-chip brands to include their products in his videos.

When Do We Start?

As marketers, we’re naturally drawn to what’s new, and want to make use of it to help us promote our own brands, or our clients’ brands. But as we mentioned in a previous post, every channel is not a good fit for every brand. Here are some quick tips to know if Vine may be right for you and how to get started:

1. Keep it Fun: Vine is not a place people go to seek out product information: users definitely aren’t looking for a boring 6-second infomercial for your product. If you’re slightly irreverent, funny, and earnest, people who love your brand will love your videos. Just be sure that your messages are appropriate to your audience and if you’re going to go for funny, make sure it’s actually funny and not the brand equivalent of drunken holiday party shenanigans.

2. Make it Useful: Another option if humor is not in the cards for your brand is to offer instructional content. How-to videos are quite popular on Vine and are a great angle for a brand – Vine Video featuring fashion tips, recipes, household advice, hairstyles, even exercises could be a great approach.

3. Get Them Involved: Social media is all about crowdsourcing. The appeal of social media is anyone can be the next breakout star. Instead of creating the videos yourself, challenge your audience to create their own videos. For example, a bread company may invite users to post their favorite sandwich recipes, or a band could suggest users post their own renditions. Revine the best Vine videos and you could just have a hit on your hands.

4. Show Yourself: While it’s important to stay within the boundaries of your brand and avoid embarrassing, inappropriate or awkward content, platforms like Vine Video can be a great way to show the human side of your company. Whether your business is insurance or defense, there are real people behind the brand who may be funny, talented and photogenic. Pull back the curtain a little and let people see what goes into making their favorite products.

5. Vet It: There’s a reason some companies, even today, still fear social. Social media is instant, and it amplifies the voice of whomever is creating and curating the content to be the voice of the company. The guy in skinny jeans who has a great idea for a Vine may be onto something, but remember that bad or offensive videos can go viral just as quickly as good ones. Make sure that the content isn’t taking your brand into a place it shouldn’t be. The videos should be about the brand, or some attribute of it’s personality. For example, it makes sense for Monster Energy to post videos of snowboard fails. It may not make sense for Mercedes-Benz.

Vine may not be the best fit for every brand, but like many social channels, it provides a wonderful opportunity to be creative with your brand and show customers what you’re all about.