Last week Twitter announced that it is shutting down Vine. The six-second video creation app won’t be available much longer. Although the site will remain up indefinitely to pass the cultural heritage to the future generations.
While the news created major waves in digital community, it really came as no surprise. Its parent company, Twitter itself has been struggling lately, which is another topic deserving its own article.
So what lessons can entrepreneurs learn from Vine’s short lifespan?
1. Don’t get too invested in one medium.
How many times have you heard that Facebook is essential to your business success? Or a blog? Instagram? Did you hear the latest advice that you absolutely must be on Snapchat?
There are as many opinions as people; and everyone thinks that their way is the only right way, especially if they’re successful.
However, at the end of the day, you have to remember that a medium is just that: a vehicle for your message. Trends will come and go, and so will the apps we love and use.
Yes, some platforms have proven their longevity, yet there is no guarantee that all of them will exist in the form we know them today. To put it in a perspective, just a decade ago, when Myspace was at its prime, people would call you crazy if you suggested that it wouldn’t be around for much longer. So would do the people who have millions of followers on Vine.
So, you have to figure out your message and simply find a way to share it in a variety of formats. That way, you’re not putting all of you eggs in one basket.
2. Smaller communities can be passionate.
Vine had brought together a strong community. While it may not have been relatively huge, it was meaningful. Users who stuck around for the whole time feel strongly about Vine.
I am not saying you should be present on every obscure network out there, but smaller communities, or niches, can be very powerful. A thousand passionate customers may prove to be much more important, than 10,000 distracted followers who do not have an emotional connection with your offering.
3. Stay current.
Don’t jump on every single platform out there. However, pay attention to where your customers are.
Let’s say your product caters to young adults. Well, you have to follow them around where they reside online. Because Facebook was great for reaching millennials five years ago, that doesn’t mean you should cling to it and ignore Instagram or Snapchat.
Moreover, analyze the appeal of these different networks and see if you can uncover bigger trends and needs. For example, Instagram is inspirational. Snapchat offers privacy. Facebook Live offers broadcasting opportunities. However, all of them offer an instantaneous feeling, being there in a moment. This is what people care about these days.
4. Get creative.
One of the possible reasons for Vine demise is the fact that marketers didn’t find a good way to monetize the platform. Yes, I know bad, bad marketers; they want to monetize everything. However, social networks depend on funding and monetizing.
This fact presented a huge untapped opportunity for entrepreneurs. Since most of advertisers had their reasons not to be bothered with Vine, entrepreneurs who wanted to be heard could easily leverage Vine to broadcast their message in a very creative way.
Yes, six seconds seems like an extremely short amount of time to “hook” your potential customers, but, hey, look at all those Viners who showed an immense creativity with the time constraint. Who is to say that a smart marketer could not become an overnight success with a single Vine going viral? Besides, a skillful series of Vines would not go unnoticed.
5. Talk to people in their language.
Another issue that contributed to Vine’s failure was that the platform had a lot of insider talk going on. “The app generated countless memes, and grew increasingly self-referential over time, so that a single six-second clip might reference a dozen previous hit Vines,” The Verge suggests.
While it may be a side effect of creating a strong community, you have to remember to never be self-contained. If you want your message to be effective, you have to make it as easy as possible to understand it.
If your language gets too technical, too pretentious, or too “exclusive,” you are running a risk of not being understood. And that doesn’t serve anyone, starting with you and your business.
6. Your offering should be unique.
The problem with Vine is that it lost its appeal too fast. Yes, it was cool for the first year or so, but then the hype died down and Vine didn’t offer any new exciting features that would differentiate it in the market. Short videos? Snapchat and Instagram work for those. Looping feature? Boomerang by Instagram has you covered. At the end, there was no real differentiator and no real use for looping six-seconds videos.
7. Promote, promote, promote.
Twitter’s fault was that it didn’t really promote Vine in any way. After a sense of newness withered down, there were no major attempts in pushing Vine. Clearly, Twitter has a lot going on right now with their main platform, so they put Vine on the cruise-control mode.
However, to truly see if your product has any potential, you have to promote it relentlessly. You have to continually improve it, highlighting benefits. Your product will never reach its fullest potential without your efforts.
It’s sad to see Vine go so fast, yet with the latest state of things, it was more a matter of time. Twitter is trying to figure its own course of actions and Vine wasn’t able to perfect its spiel on its own.