by Mary C. Long
These can't be happy days for the folks running Twitter's Vine. No one likes to be publicly pants'd and Instagram is running around waving Vine's boxers in the air as post after post declares Instagram's stunning video upset.
You can expect the microblogging platform to come back swinging, no doubt - it's a spunky little bird. But does Twitter's Vine really stand a chance against the Facebook-backed Instagram? And which one should you use for your business?
Let's get one important fact out of the way: Vine still has potential - the potential to slowly strangle Twitter.
As Vine traffic grows, assuming it will, unless it is somehow brought into the fold as one offering (as we see on Instagram), Vine will continue to tax Twitter resources while acting more as a competitor than an ally and will slowly strangle Twitter.
But THAT's Twitter's problem, really. You're here to learn about how Vine and/or Instagram can help you market your business (or not), so here goes:
BUT - Why would you care about the "Editor picks" (who are these editors to you?) - and the visual gives a distinct 'less as more' feel (but . . . it isn't. Less is just less.).
And then we have Instagram, which is the visual universe, offering billions of videos to Vines millions (or thereabout - I just made that number up). Searches on Instagram put the numbers where its search is (some analogies work better than others) - a search for #ghost returns 889k+ entries on Instagram, for example, with handy thumbnails that make scrolling/selecting what to view/watch simple.
There are no thumbnails on Vine and I can't see how many possible posts there are. It just immediately streams the Vines as you scroll. Possibly not the best use of your time. Not that ANY of these videos are, really (from a viewer standpoint).
From a business standpoint, both #hashtag search options equally suck, of course. You'll never be found via Instagram thumbnails about three seconds after posting anyway because the volume is too overwhelming. You'd need very specific hashtags for both Vine and Instagram - and (the tricky part) then you'd have to get people to use it so you can trend on Vine (there aren't trending hashtags on Instagram). A quick look at what trends on Vine though will show you how impossible that would be.
So what does this all mean?!
If you're an edgy, excellent 'outside-the-box' type thinker (or have one working for you) and you know how to market on Twitter, Vine is still a solid option for your business. Some important caveats:
"Knowing how to market on Twitter" does NOT mean someone "creates a hashtag," schedules some tweets and then leaves it to God. It means advanced Twitter marketing tactics, which involves engaging target influencers, understanding Twitter's advertising platform (so you can consider options) and - most important - 'getting' what works online and what doesn't - and every platform is different. If any of that is alien to you, you're facing a pretty substantial learning curve and you'll need outside help (I'm possibly available. Cough, cough. Reach out.)
AND, don't discount Vine's coolest feature - one that Instagram lacks: it loops. The videos may only be six seconds long, but man are they catchy when people do them right! So if you're clever and come up with something fantastically shareable, you'll win online (click the Vine below to see what I mean).
But not everyone can pull off Vine looping awesomeness (nor should they) and it's likely only a matter of time before Instagram makes looping a video option anyway. So that brings up back to Instagram.
If you want potentially massive exposure - both could work, but whereas Vines are shared on Twitter only when they're actually tweeted by viewers, Instagram videos are shared on Facebook when Facebook users like your video (unless they have privacy settings set to prevent this, but most do not). That's powerful, think about it.
This means that if you put decent effort into your video and get ANY likes at all, it increases your exposure significantly and can pay off big. So Instagram is obviously a solid option for marketing your business as well.
And missing the boat again, when you like a Vine it does NOTHING on Twitter. It doesn't even give you the option to tweet (it should be a pop-up or something, COME ON, Vine!).
Yes, I'll make what you think you're understanding from this post clear: Which one should you focus on - Vine or Instagram? It depends.
It depends on your business, your resources, your commitment to seeing it through - and your blind faith in the advice given to you by someone who knows how to do this stuff (like me ;).
Things can change, of course, but if you want safe odds the smart money is on Instagram right now. If you're feeling a little frisky, Twitter's your gal. Do you agree?
And do you think Twitter has reason to worry? Well, they're clearly feeling pressured regardless of what YOU think, sending emails to Twitter users who haven't signed up for Vine: