General Social Media

5 Best Practices for Brands Using Vine

March 4, 2013

Just over a month ago, Twitter introduced a new service called Vine. And in a short amount of time, it has gained a ton of buzz among marketers. The app allows users to create short, looping videos from their mobile devices and share them instantly on Twitter.

Vine has gained instant popularity, with videos coming in from all types of sources – including brands, which have been quick to utilize Vine as part of their content strategies. From Urban Outfitters sharing photos of their office dogs, to GE doing the Harlem Shake and Armani sharing chocolate with their fans, content managers are finding clever and unique ways to engage their communities.

Not unlike most digital agencies, we generally go crazy for new technologies like Vine, and get to know them well before applying them to our brands’ communities. So, the instant Vine was premiered, we tasked our community management team with capturing some of their best Vine creations.

The results were pretty awesome. Given nothing but, “You have 20 minutes. Make a cool Vine,” our community and content managers grabbed their phones, gathered some props (who knew we had so many hats lying around the office?), found quiet spaces to set up mini-stages for stop-motion videos, and even drew on the office walls.

It was a fun experiment and one that also served as a learning tool. More than a simple creative output, this exercise delivered great insight on how to best use Vine, as is outlined below in a collaborative effort from the 360i Community team. Here are five best practices for brands using Vine:  

#1 Share a Story Based off a Strategy

Making a great Vine requires a strategy. “Create a story board before making content,” advises Content Manager Heather McTavish. Vines only last six seconds, which may seem short, but as fellow Content Manager Mitchell Geller puts it, “six seconds is enough time to get a message across and tell a story- but it is also challenging in that the time limit means you must be sharper, smarter and more creative.” Vine can also be very choppy, so plan ahead to include some fluidity to avoid making viewers dizzy [McTavish].

#2 Stay Focused

“Try to focus on just two to three concepts,” suggests Community Manager Adriana Sanchez, “since you are only designated a short amount of time, you need to keep the video concise so that it doesn’t look jumpy and so that viewers can easily follow.” That being said, Community Manager Steve Jacobs says that brands should try to use as much of the allotted six seconds as possible. ”Brevity is king in social media, but we’re talking six seconds here,” he said. “No one is getting bored in six seconds. Let it breathe as much as it can.”

#3 Make Your Content Premium

Brands are expected to deliver a certain level of production quality, and while great ideas are necessary, it is also imperative to follow through when it comes to execution. “Just because you’re shooting on a cell phone doesn’t mean that you don’t have to take the shoot seriously,” stresses Geller. Keeping an iPhone still can be tricky, so tripods can make a huge difference. This is especially true when creating stop motion videos. “Stop motion effects look cleaner if the iPhone is held still and docked in one position,” says Content Manager Alex Krutchkoff, “Using iPhone lenses can also add production value for brands.” And, as Jacobs adds, formatting and editing is not worth doing if it’s just a six-second video clip. “The most interesting Vines play with the format. It’s a gimmick, and it works best when you do gimmicky things with it.”

#4 Don’t Forget About Sound

“Vine records sound — something to keep in mind when you start filming,” says Content Manager Annie Michaud. As sound is a feature that cannot be turned off after recording, it’s important to keep it top of mind during your video shoot. “Sound can detract from the experience if it’s too loud or lyrically heavy,” adds Krutchkoff.

#5 Get to Know Vine’s Various Quirks

Vine, like all technology, has certain limitations. For example, you can’t post private Vines; they are either public or saved to your camera roll. You can’t upload a Vine from the camera roll to your public feed at a later time. Vines are also limited in their editing options. At this time, it is not possible to change the resolution, brightness or contrast of the Vine image. The image you shoot is what it is. Knowing exactly what you want to capture and the sequence you wish to capture it in is also important as there is no editing feature available.

All in all, Vine has great potential. It has become an exciting and unique way for brands to engage their communities and showcase their creativity – and its association with Twitter should help the platform scale with ease, especially with greater integration. With a few tweaks, including rolling it out to Android and making it easier to edit and put together clips, Vine may very well become the “next big thing” in short-form video content.

Cover photo via Flickr