Engaging Your Customers Through Video — A Closer Look at Vine

What is Vine?

Vine is a short-form video sharing social network (Wikipedia, 2014). It allows users to record six-second long video clips (WikiHow), which, on the surface, doesn’t seem like long enough to record anything worthwhile. However, in the Twitter age, where brevity is key, the six-second loops on Vine have inspired creativity in a way that sets it apart from longer-form videos. After capturing the video, it can then be published through Vine’s social network and shared on other social networks like Twitter and Facebook (Wikipedia, 2014).

While it is primarily a content network, the best Vines also engage other users, making it a social network, too.


Vine was founded in June 2012 and was acquired by Twitter in October 2012 (Wikipedia, 2014).   Vine debuted on January 24, 2013 (Sippey, 2013).  Until recently, Vine existed solely as a mobile app. Vine Web profiles, which can be accessed directly from a desktop or laptop, allow users the convenience of enjoying Vine on a larger screen, where they can watch Vines in TV mode, which will, undoubtedly, contribute to folks spending even more time on Vine (Cicero, 2014).


Vine’s key feature is its brevity. Six-seconds isn’t a long amount of time to get your message across. As a result, marketers are forced to created content that is “both highly engaging and highly condensed” (Cox, 2014).

While many initial Viners were using the platform for quick pithy or comedic moments, brands like Lowes and GE have shown that using Vine as a form of content marketing, providing useful, educational videos can “create a strong connection between brand and audience, adding meaning to the relationship” (Thomas, 2013a).

Vine videos loop, which means that they will keep playing over and over while you are watching them. Target is a great example of a brand that takes full advantage of this feature.  As you can see, Vines are also embeddable (Tiland, 2014).

Much like Twitter’s retweet feature, on Vine you can “revine.” This allows users to share content from others with their followers.

Vine’s video recording feature is stop-motion capable. This allows users to stop and continue recording to the same video later (Brouillette, 2014). This feature has enabled the most creativity on Vine.

Vine uses hashtags, which make exploring content on their network easier.   It also has verified badges for high-profile users (Mashable).

A drawback for Vine is that users need to record their videos on the network itself, rather than have the ability to upload previously recorded content. Initially, only the most tech-savvy users could get around this by using, what I would consider, a complicated hack (Kif, 2013). Now there are several apps that allow users to upload recorded content. This is an important outside feature for marketers that allows us to edit our content rather than recording directly in the Vine app, which doesn’t give much leeway for error.

Another drawback is that Vine does not restrict nudity (Tiland, 2014).

Target Market, Users, and Growth

The majority of Vine users are teenagers and young twenty-somethings, thus comprising a much sought-after demographic for marketers (TopTenSM).  The majority of users are single, and the average age is 18.2 (DemographicsPro).

Vine saw a 515% growth from February 2013-December 2013 (comScore, 2014).

Comparisons & Competition

Comparing a short-form video service like Vine with YouTube is “like comparing a Tweet to a blog post” (Cox, 2014). The constraints of Vine’s brevity actually inspire creativity and ingenuity from its users.

Vine’s primary competition is Instagram video. When Instagram introduced its fifteen-second video feature in June 2013, some wondered if it would be the end of Vine (McGrail, 2013). After all, Instagram already had a built in audience of 130 million users on an app that allowed easily uploaded content – a feature that Vine lacked.

However, Vine is uniquely useful to marketers, again, due to its brevity. Brands are “tasked with creating compelling content that people will enjoy and share, creativity and originality is key.” For brands that have embraced the “creative nature” of Vine, Instagram video doesn’t offer anything new (Thomas, 2013b).

Best Practices For Brands

Using Vine is much like having an elevator speech prepared (Sonoso, 2014).  There are a lot of great tips and lists of how to best engage and use Vine to promote your brand.  You can find some good ones here, here, here, and here.

Here is my list:

  • Engage other users.

Testimonials are great for this, as are contests.  A great way to engage other users is to ask users to create your content for you.  The best brands on Vine all do this.  Most recently, Milk-Bone gained followers through a Vine initiative where they offered $2,500 and a year’s supply of dog treats (Johnson, 2014).

  •  Share interesting content regularly.

Whether that’s spotlighting staff, sharing tidbits about your company’s history, or showcasing your production process or finished product, sharing content that interests users is a key to developing brand loyalty on Vine.  Content is key, but consistency is the other half of that equation.  Making sure you keep giving your followers a reason to engage with you.  Post regularly.

  • Use hashtags.

It may seem like a simple thing to mention, but you’d be surprised how often they’re not used or not used effectively.  Hashtag use ensures that your Vine will be searchable easily on the network (Cicero, 2013).  Creating specific hashtags for contests helps engage users and also makes it easier for you to track results.

  •  Be sure to cross post.

A well produce Vine video should be shared!  Make sure you not only share your Vine videos on Facebook and Twitter, but that you write good descriptions when you post them (Brouillette, 2014).


For more information about Vine, see my Prezi HERE.


Brouillette, P. (2014, May 29). #HowTo: An Overview of Using Vine for Brands and Businesses. Retrieved from http://www.searchinfluence.com/2014/05/howto-an-overview-of-using-vine-for-brands-and-businesses/

Charley, C. (2013, April 26). Getting Creative with Video Marketing on Vine. Retrieved from http://www.siliconbeachtraining.co.uk/blog/vine-twitter-marketing

Cicero, N. (2013, June 3). Samsung Makes a Marketing Splash on Vine for Android. Retrieved from http://socialfresh.com/samsungvine/

Cicero, N. (2013b, July 30). 5 Vines are tweeted every second – Visualizing Vine [Infographic]. Retrieved from http://socialfresh.com/vineograph/

Cicero, N. (2014, January 3). Vine introduces Web profiles. Retrieved from http://socialfresh.com/vine-introduces-web-profiles/

comScore Data Mine. (2014, April 11). Camera Content Drives Surge Among ‘Mobile-First’ Social Networks in the U.S. Retrieved from http://www.comscoredatamine.com/2014/04/camera-content-drives-surge-among-mobile-first-social-networks-in-the-u-s/

Cox, J. (2014, February 26). Fruit of the Vine: The Race to Conquer the Six Second Video Platform. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/coxy/2210121/fruit-vine-race-conquer-six-second-video-platform

Cunningham, Tasha. (2013). 10 creative ways to use Vine to promote your business. Retrieved from http://miamiherald.typepad.com/the-starting-gate/2013/07/10-creative-ways-to-use-vine-to-promote-your-business.html


Hines, K. (2013, March 4). 16 Ways Businesses Are Using Twitter Vine. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/twitter-vine-creative-uses-for-business/

Johnson, L. (2014, June 23). Dogs Drive Vine Views for Milk-Bone Builds more than 2,700 followers in month-long push. Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/dogs-drive-vine-views-milk-bone-158529

Kif. (2013, August 13). Hack Vine to Upload Videos Shot Outside the App. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/2013/08/ht-custom-vines

Mashable. Vine. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/category/vine/

McGrail, M. (2013, June 21). Instagram Video for Brands and Users: Experts Weigh In. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/mike-mcgrail/1549791/instagram-video-brands-and-users

Sornoso, E. (2014, February 20). How Marketing on Vine Can Help Your Business. Retrieved from http://www.searchenginejournal.com/marketing-vine-can-help-business/88313/

Thomas, J. (2013a, May 10). Lowe’s Case Study: The Difference Between Fun and Useful Content in Social Sharing. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/jonthomas/1448666/difference-between-fun-and-useful-content-social-sharing

Thomas, J. (2013b, June 27). Why Instagram Isn’t A Vine Killer. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/jonthomas/1562441/why-instagram-isn-t-vine-killer

Tamba. (2014, January 30). [Infographic] The rise of Vine. Retrieved from http://www.tamba.co.uk/thinking/blog/the-rise-of-vine/

Tiland, R. (2014). Things You Should Know About YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, and Instagram. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/womensmedia/2014/05/04/things-you-should-know-about-youtube-vimeo-vine-and-instagram/

TopTenSM. 10 vine social media strategies for your business. Retrieved from http://www.toptensocialmedia.com/social-media-business/10-vine-social-media-strategies-for-your-business/

Sippey, M. (2013, January 24). Vine: A New Way To Share Video. Retrieved from https://blog.twitter.com/2013/vine-a-new-way-to-share-video

Wikihow. How to upload videos to Vine. Retrieved from http://www.wikihow.com/Upload-Videos-to-Vine

Wikipedia. (2014). Vine (service). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vine_%28service%29


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