It seems like every time you turn around, there’s a new social network coming down the boulevard—and lately, almost all of them have been video-based. Twitter introduced its Vine app—which allows users to submit six-seconds videos, which play on continuous loops—just months back. Not long thereafter, Instagram made its own audacious foray into video marketing—and of course, that’s to say nothing of both YouTube and its competitors, as well as some of the lesser-known video networks.
According to Rich Gorman, however, just because a new social network or video delivery system comes down the pipeline, that does not necessarily mean that all businesses need to rush to adopt this new technology. “One of the most common blunders that businesses make, when it comes to social media, is assuming they need to have a presence on every single platform that’s out there,” affirms Rich Gorman, who has long been known as a pioneering online marketing professional. “It is more prudent for companies to avoid spreading themselves too thin, and instead to position themselves on the social networks that specifically address their marketing needs, goals, and targeted audience members.”
As such, many companies and marketing departments are left wondering: Are all of these new video networks really worth the hype? And is the much-touted, Twitter-affiliated Vine, in particular, really worthy of consideration? In the paragraphs that follow, Rich Gorman weighs some of the biggest strengths—and drawbacks—that Vine offers.
The Basics of Vine
First, it is helpful to outline some of the most important characteristics of Vine. The basics are these: Vine currently has about 13 million users, which hardly puts it in the same league as Facebook, but then, it’s not really trying to compete with Facebook. Like Instagram, this is a primarily mobile-based social experience, and like Twitter, it imposes strict limitations on what its users post; rather than 140 characters, Vine users just get six precious seconds.
The Drawbacks of Vine
Vine offers many advantages to users, and plenty of perks for marketers to consider—but perhaps it is better to run through its limitations. The most obvious drawback is that six-second time limit. “Many brands have gotten really creative in finding ways to tell their story in just six seconds,” offers Rich Gorman. “For others, though, it is a real problem. Before jumping into Vine, it is necessary to consider: Can this brand really be adequately represented and enhanced on Vine?”
Another drawback to Vine, Gorman says, is the fact that Vine is unmoderated, and has no really strong sense of editorial oversight. As such, there have been rampant complaints about adult-themed or explicit material making its way onto the social network. This is not necessarily a major problem for all companies, but it should give pause to family-oriented companies who do not wish their customers and clients to stumble across questionable content by accident.
The final drawback worth mentioning is the simple reality that Vine is so new. “There are 13 million users, currently, which is nothing to sneeze at—and yet, one still needs to ask the question of whether enough people have adopted this still-young technology for it to be really worth it,” notes Rich Gorman.
The Benefits of Vine
Rich Gorman goes on to note that there are also plenty of perks that Vine offers—and some significant reasons why a business or a marketing team might choose to embrace this fledgling social network. The first advantage is actually the same as the first disadvantage—namely, Vine’s six-second limitation.
“What is a hindrance to some brands is a major course of inspiration and creativity for others,” Gorman remarks. “That brief time limit forces you to get to the point, to be concise and direct in how you tell the story of your brand. It is also forcing marketing departments to think creatively, and many are rising to the challenge.”
Additionally, Gorman says that the newness of the platform, while in some ways disadvantageous, also has its built-in benefits. “This is an opportunity for companies to get in on the ground floor of a brand new technology—one that could really take off,” he affirms.
There are further advantages to Vine, besides. The mobile nature of the app is a perk for many companies, because it offers opportunities for widespread exposure. Vine is not a social network that’s intended to be enjoyed from a desktop computer; rather, it is made with on-the-go users in mind, which means that companies that embrace Vine will have their videos viewed by people everywhere, in a variety of contexts.
The mere fact that Vine is video-based, meanwhile, means that it opens many doors, and lays out ample opportunities, for businesses and brands. Companies can seize Vine as a tool for showcasing how their products work, for offering demos or quick tutorials, and more. “A six-second movie is, in many ways, the perfect format for informing and entertaining your users, without boring them or causing them to lose their interest,” opines Rich Gorman.
The marketing professional goes on to list one final perk to Vine, which is the simple fact that many major brands have already used Vine to immense success. These include Lowe’s, Oreo, GAP, and others. “The mere fact that these brands have embraced it should indicate that there is something here, well worth considering,” Gorman observes.
Making a Decision About Vine
So what’s the verdict on Vine—is it a must for businesses and brands, or is it better avoided, regarded as a passing fad? According to Rich Gorman, there is no across-the-board right or wrong answer. “This is something that companies and brands need to decide for themselves,” he explains. “Vine has several major perks, but also some drawbacks to consider. It’s a matter of critically evaluating if and how Vine can serve your marketing needs—but then, that’s true of all social networks.”
Rich Gorman is a social media enthusiast and a long-time marketing pioneer.