Vine Videos: The Power of Brevity

This article originally appeared in the August 2013 edition of the Marketing GPS Newsletter.

By now you’ve probably heard about – and perhaps are already using – Vine. It’s an app launched by Twitter this past January that allows you to create six-second videos. If you’re wondering how such a brief video clip could possibly do any anything for your business or association, remember we all wondered the same thing about 140-character messages. Prepare to be surprised – again!

Smart social media teams and business owners are using Vine’s six-second videos to help them brand, announce, introduce and otherwise promote their businesses in a way nothing else does. Data gathered in April – Vine’s third month post-launch – showed the following stats:

  • Branded Vines are four times more likely to be shared than branded videos
  • On average, five tweets per second contained a Vine link;
  • Branded content accounts for 4% of the Top 100 tracked Vines
  • Weekends are the most popular time to share Vines. In fact, in most cases, they are more popular than all the previous weekdays combined;
  • Between 10-11 am EDT is when most Vine activity occurs;
  • The number one Vine tracked over the period had 47,000 tweets, while the 100th most shared Vine video had 1,400 (see link below for top 100).

Using Vine to Promote Your Organization

Though the extremely short-form video is still in its infancy, organizations are finding innovative ways to use Vine to engage followers and even find a new audience. Perhaps the single most creative and audience-engaging Vine campaign is General Electric’s #6SecondScience Fair on Twitter. GE peppers the stream with its own demos, such as this enchanting demo of “what happens when you combine milk, food coloring, and dish soap?

The Twitter community responded with their own #6SecondScience Fair entries, including using static electricity on a balloon to divert a stream of water and a delightful “Claymation” video of surgery on a turtle, where the creator even worked GE’s logo into the video. I encourage you – especially if you have children – to check out Mashable’s collection of “16 Fascinating Vines From the #6SecondScience Fair.

So, apart from setting up a challenge like GE’s, what are some other ways to use Vine to promote your business or organization? Here’s a handful of ideas that should work for a variety of organizations, including associations with conferences to promote:

  • Employee introductions: personalize your business, and make sure to include the employees who actually interface with your clients
  • Give the world a behind-the-scenes glimpse of your office culture
  • Offer holiday greetings (athletic shoes and Mother’s day? Puma pulled it off in this clever Vine.)
  • Demo a product (In six seconds? Absolutely – you can start and stop the recording as many times in 6 seconds as you can manage. See a demo of hair-chalking from Urban Outfitters here.)
  • Announce a sale (check out the Nordstrom’s Vine just below the hair-chalking video)
  • Retailers can create a six-second Vine showing new products (Who knew shoes could be mesmerizing?)
  • Food establishments can show menu items and specials; show it being served, or use the start-stop feature to show it in several stages of creation
  • Share your updated website design or how your new app works
  • And just because this was so dang clever: hook a ride on someone else’s hashtag, if you can do it as well as Tide did during #SharkWeek with this delightful Vine promo

For organizations with conferences and meetings to promote, consider these ideas to promote the event and to engage with attendees:


  • Use photos from prior-year events to show attendees everything they can enjoy by attending
  • Ask exhibitors to submit quick Vines you can re-tweet to your audience
  • Announce Keynote or other General Sessions, preferably via a six-second invite directly from the speaker
  • Highlight the conference destination; if you don’t have a pre-trip where you can shoot the location, print pictures and arrange several groupings on a bulletin board, then use the stop-start feature to shoot each group
  • Send Reminders–find clever ways to remind attendees that early registration or housing deadlines are approaching
  • Ask attendees or exhibitors to create their own Vines and share them with your event hashtag


  • Announce any changes to the program
  • Encourage session attendance by showing the rooms filling up
  • Capture session highlights
  • If a session repeats later in the meeting, capture the audience response and note next session time in a Tweet
  • Highlight exhibitors with Vines live from the exhibition hall ( along the lines of this Marc Jacobs store promo)
  • Find attendees willing to make quick Vines. Have a variety of questions they can choose to answer in six seconds. (Why are you attending? Favorite session so far? Will you come to next year’s event?)

What About Instagram Video?

Instagram was quick to perceive the challenge posed by Vine. About five months after Vine’s launch,Topsy Analytics found that Vine shares on Twitter exceeded Instagram shares by 2.9 million to 2.2 million shares over a 24-hour period. Instagram had been paying attention, though, and soon released its own short-form video. Instagram allows 5-second videos and offers editing options not available on Vine. Many were quick to predict the death of Vine, especially when Topsy data showed that only a week after the introduction of Instagram’s new product, Vine sharing tanked on Twitter.

We’re not quite two months into the Vine-Instagram head-to-head matchup, so it’s too early to make predictions, but I tend to think there are not only pros and cons to each platform, but room for both. We’ll let both technologies simmer a bit longer, and take a closer look at the best uses for each after they mature a bit more.

For now, both Vine and Instagram offer great opportunities to catch some attention with clever, funny and/or informative short-form videos that are drop-dead easy to make! Get your creative juices flowing by spending some time looking through the collection of six-second videos at BrandsOnVine, then grab your phone and start shooting!

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About NSI Partners

A digital marketing company with almost two decades of experience, NSI Partners helps clients achieve robust results in search marketing, social media, and other digital marketing spaces.

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