Sookio Labs: Would Vine work for your business?

It's been two years since Vine stepped onto the scene with its popular video service, which allows users to create and share looping videos of anthropomorphic cats, breaking news and amateur stop-motion art. Since then it has has spurred its own genre of slapstick comedy and even launched a child platform, Vine Kids.

What is Vine?

Vine is your six seconds to shine. The micro-video app allows users to record and edit five or six-second long video clips. You can also ‘revine’ and share others’ posts with followers on or via Vine to other platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

You can ‘double tap’ (to generate a cute little smiley face) and browse video clips by what’s popular or categories such as Comedy, Animals or News. And hashtags work in pretty much the same way as they would on Twitter or Instagram; remember, text found within posts can be measured for keywords and tagging.

The platform has over 40 million registered users and rang in its second anniversary by hitting 1.5 billion daily loops. (Note that Vine clips are set to repeat themselves automatically, so this figure doesn’t represent the amount of individual, unique views by new people. If someone leaves their feed unattended, the views can multiply quickly.)

Why do brands use Vine?

It’s simply a great way to connect with your market and add another dimension to your brand’s profile. “Storytelling” has been the big buzzword in audiovisual advertising and marketing and Vine offers that micro option without – let’s not beat around the bush – being boring.

Branded Vines receive four times more shares than branded videos and according to comScore (June 2014), 3 out of 4 video views now take place outside YouTube. Five seconds is the standard amount of time YouTube users have to wait before skipping ads to get to content. In this time, Vine has already put your message out there and chances are people will see it another few times because of the loop.

The brevity and arguable low quality of video puts less pressure on the user to channel less of their inner Orson Welles and more of a ‘You’ve Been Framed’ submission. I also like to think of the Vine video clip as a distant relative of the GIF. This is an app you can have some fun with.

How can you use Vine?

Big companies like General Electric and Starbucks have uploaded hours of content, but it’s not just about the big players. The platform has helped secure record deals for musicians who have posted impressive six-second clips from their bedrooms, so we shouldn’t rule out the possibilities for businesses large or small.

The term ‘utilainment’ has been thrown around online – entertainment that’s useful. Life hacks are increasingly popular so feel free to share tips.

It’s also an opportunity to show what’s going on behind the scenes, showcase sneak peeks of products, and run competitions or set challenges for your followers. Most importantly, tell your business or brand’s story and make followers feel part of your business community.

Getting started with Vine

This is pretty straightforward. Because Vine is owned by Twitter, you should easily be able to sign in with your Twitter details, syncing with your profile picture and contacts if you wish. Choose your colour scheme and you’re ready to go. Although, it was a shame we weren’t ‘eligible’ to choose our own profile URL, leaving us with a rather character-heavy alternative.

The symbols are all self-explanatory, but I did have to ping my teenage cousin to find out what the ‘ghost-looking one’ did. Turns out it’s a handy later-introduced feature which shows you a translucent ‘ghost’ of your previous frame and is super helpful for lining up shots.

I really love ghost mode because it makes the world of stop-motion animation so much more accessible to the everyday mobile user, without having to bother with accessories like tripods. Some of the animation on Vine looks so impressive, I’d been reluctant to attempt it myself before discovering my little ghost friend.

If you’re a business whose office environment doesn’t change that much, you could quite easily get creative and animate a message that you would have otherwise tweeted. If you’re a coffee shop owner, you could show off a clip of your staff icing as many cupcakes as possible in six-seconds.

There’s also a little ‘undo’ style button for when you mess up a shot – like if you sneeze, or if your cat creeps up on you making you jump and shout an expletive out loud.

Your finished video caption must be 120 characters or fewer, so you’ve got to keep it snappy. This makes it shareable on Twitter and fits in with the whole ‘we only want six seconds of your attention span’ ethos.

I’d really recommend sharing your clips on your other platforms, because I get the feeling your video could get lost in the Vine vortex on the app itself. Facebook’s auto-play feature will increase the likelihood of your clip being seen. In fact, Facebook is where I consume the most Vine content.

I would also urge you to explore clips in the different Vine categories like Science & Tech and DIY to get a feel for how different genres use the platform. You’ll find there’s an audience for almost anything!

The future of Vine?

With apps like Snapchat and Instagram video competing for the micro-vlogging and video market, Vine will have to keep users on their toes with new and updated features to continue being a success.

Twitter recently launched the Vine Kids app aimed at children, which promises a feed of “hand-selected” loops from the Vine community. So that means no swearing or twerking.

For now, the community and its stars show no sign of slowing. And I can’t see the six-second formula dying out any time soon – contrary to our concentration spans.

Now, it’s over to you!

Have you ventured into the Vine world? What businesses do you think are using it well? Have we tempted you to try it out as part of your social media strategy? We’d love to hear from you. Share your comments below!