What is Vine and how are big brands using it?

Keep up with the very latest developments in the digital marketing world

By Rachel Smith
on 4/3/13

It’s been just over a month since Twitter launched Vine, its quirky video sharing app. However, it seems like many are still unfamiliar with what it’s all about. If you’re one of those people, this is as good a time as ever to learn about it and the opportunities it presents to brands big and small.

So what is Vine?

VineVine is a new Twitter-owned app which lets you record short videos with your phone and post them to Facebook, Twitter or your Vine profile. As is the case with good ol’ fashioned tweeting, the aim of the game here is brevity – you can only record video for up to 6 seconds. These can be in the form of continuously shot clips or stop-motion videos made up of still images. Think of the latter as a high quality GIF with sound.

The beauty of Vine lies in its accessibility and ease of use - just as Instagram made it a doddle to create and share photos, Vine lets even the most novice of users shoot video with ease. To start recording, tap the screen. To pause, take your finger off the screen. Aaaand….that’s it. Vine then stitches your video together, allowing you to share at will.

Currently, Vine is only available on Apple devices – iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Non-Apple users desperate to try out the app need not panic though, as Twitter is “working now to bring it to other platforms”.

Twitter thinks the 6 second time limit will inspire creativity. Are they right? Well it’s still early days and Vine users (Viners?) are still figuring out how to use it effectively, but there’s certainly a lot of potential for brands. Below are four ways in which brands can use Vine and some early examples of it ‘being done right’.

Encouraging User Created Content

As a business utilising social media, it doesn’t get much better than seeing someone advocate your product or service and shouting about it online. Fashion retailer ASOS does this well on Instagram and American confectioner Reese’s posts their fans’ recipes on Facebook. As for Vine, Cadbury seem to be having fun with it and have been encouraging their followers to get involved:

‘How To’ Videos

How To tutorials make great content, providing they’re unique and interesting. Pinterest for instance is full of arts & crafts tutorials and interior design tips. Similarly, Vine vids can offer quickfire step-by-step guides relating to any industry or hobby. I was planning on showing you a typical Vine ‘how to’ clip but came across this not-so-helpful effort by artist Jhonen Vasquez, which I found amusing nonetheless:

Product Promotions

Vine will allow marketers to really get creative with their new product promotions. American fashion retailer Nordstrom has experimented with this nifty vine-within-a-vine effort to promote some new Puma footwear. Vineception, anyone?


Always a consumer favourite, competitions are perfect for encouraging engagement on social networks. Using Vine, brands will have to try to explain what the competition is, how to enter, and what can be won, all in just 6 seconds. It sounds difficult but I think has managed it quite well:

Vine’s Potential

By now it’s perhaps common knowledge that visual content is the most popular type of post on social media. According to Hubspot, photos on Facebook get 53% more likes than the average post. Taking this trend into account, Vine could well be the next big thing in social media marketing, even on the traditionally text-y Twitter. It offers a distinct blend of image and video, giving you the instant content hit of the former and the creative options of the latter.

Personally, I can’t wait to see what brands come up with on Vine in the near future. After all, the app is only one month old, yet we’ve already seen a slew of clever ideas. Feel free to share your favourite Vines (by brands or individuals) in the comments section below - I’d love to see them!