6: Vine’s Magic Number

By: Morgan Brenner @morganbren

With 40 million users it’s hard to believe that Vine only started in January of 2013. But their success didn’t come from the looping affect or it’s ability to be shared instantly across several different social media platforms. Vine’s success is in the six seconds of video the smart phone app leaves it’s user to create basically whatever they want. But why six seconds?

When Vine’s cofounder, Dom Hofmann, was asked about the length of the video in an interview with NPR he discussed how they played with different lengths. They tried ten, nine and five until they landed on the magic number six. It was the quickness that made up Vine’s brand, but long enough that a story could be told. The videos run quickly so the creation of the loop feature was shortly added to Vine to fix what Hofmann called an “anticlimactic feeling.”

Dom Hofmann, co-founder of Vine
Dom Hofmann, co-founder of Vine

Following the release of Vine, Instagram competitively updated their app with a 15 second video. Since Instagram already had a large following it was assumed that they would make Vine obsolete. Instead, the opposite happened. Instagrams video feature soon fizzled. The difference was 9 seconds.

Artists, comedians and film-makers have and continued to flock to Vine because of the time aspect. The constraints seem to widen their creative horizons instead of block them. Vine has stayed true to its original concepts across the last year and a half, however to stay one of the top social media apps it will have to make new and inspirational updates in the following years.

What’s Better – Vine vs. Instagram?

vineOne of the big questions in the social media world since Instagram video came out is, which better; Vine or Instagram? The answer to this question lies within the personal preference of the user. There are pros and cons to each platform and each of these pros and cons lead to the ultimate decision that the user will make. If this is a question that still bounces around in your mind, here’s a list of pros and cons to ease your mind a bit:

Why Vine Rocks:

  • A six second time limit forces a Vine user to think outside the box and be as innovative as possible.
  • Vine constantly loops the video, so if you miss something you can watch it again.
  • Twitter and Vine are linked together, so when you post something on Vine it automatically goes to your Twitter page, too.

Why Instagram Rocks:

  • Instagram has a longer recording time (15 seconds) which allows more time to film a typical TV spot.
  • The app also offers more creativity with filters and editing features that enhance the display of the video.
  • Instagram also allows to share on not just Facebook and Twitter, but also Tumblr, Flickr and Foursquare.

Not So Good About Vine:

  • Vine lacks editing tools and style filters.
  • You can’t pull prerecorded videos from camera roll.
  • Vine’s user numbers have decreased 2.9 million to 1.35 million, a 50 percent decrease.

Troubles With Instagram:

  • Instagram doesn’t have the looping option for videos.
  • Just like Vine, Instagram doesn’t support pulling prerecorded videos from camera roll.
  • Because of the 15 second time limit, there are complaints of the video taking too long to load.

With these pros and cons in mind, a user now has a better chance of making a decision that is in line with their personal preference. Whatever the choice, with practice and proper use, you’ll become a video pro in no time!

-Ali Cupelli is a senior majoring in strategic communication. Follow her at @ali__cup .

4 Ways to Make Instagram Meaningful for Your Brand

InstagramInstagram has pretty impressive statistics: over 130 million monthly active users, 16 billion total photos shared, 1 billion daily likes and 45 million photos per day. The numbers are only growing now that the owner, Facebook, has thrown video into the mix, crushing Vine in the process.

People with really interesting cups of coffee aren’t the only ones using Instagram; 54% of brands are on the site with 25% posting at least one photo a week. According to Simply Measured, the brands that have adopted Instagram as a platform in August 2011 have seen month-over-month growth, creating a huge gap between them and other brands that are not on the social site.

Here are a few tips on how to use Instagram for YOUR brand:

1. Get your followers involved

Put the social back into social media and interact with your fans. Ask them to share their own content and then #regram it or create contests to engage your audience. The brand Starbucks is a good example of a social brand. It says right in their Instagram bio to tag photos with #Starbucks, and over 3.5 million people have done so. Starbucks then shares the photos on their Instagram and Facebook pages to finish off the social loop.

2. Show how your product is made

This can apply to pretty much any brand. Show a t-shirt getting printed, someone roasting coffee beans or the creation of an engine. Take little snap shots of the product from start to finish and let the fans see just how much love goes into your product. Louisville Slugger does a good job of this. As you scroll through their Instagram photos you’ll see a block of wood, an unfinished baseball bat, a worker dipping the bat in color and then a major leaguer hitting a homerun with Louisville Slugger in hand. 

3. Give people a behind the scenes look

When people think they are getting an exclusive look at something, they will continue to come back for more. And if you put those exciting buzz words like “first look”, “exclusive” or “behind the scenes”; you’re doing even better. Burberry does a great job at giving fans an exclusive look. Their Instagram features images and videos from backstage at fashion shows, photo shoots and even the making of their collection.

4. Show the company culture

Give your fans a glimpse into your world and share your brand’s voice. Show them who your employees are, what your office looks like and even what snacks your team is having during break. If you let people in to your world they will better connect, engage and stay! Urban Outfitters does a great job of showing off their brand’s culture. The chill, down-to-earth vibe of their Instagram pictures has captured fans and gotten Urban Outfitters almost 850,000 followers.

As you can see, the social site can be used for more than filtered pictures of food and sunsets, it can be used as a platform for brands to engage with fans and show people what a company is all about. Images speak louder than words, so pick up your IPhone and start Instagram-ing some ‘like’ worthy images for your brand.

-Angela Martin is a senior studying strategic communication. Follow her on Twitter @_angelamartin.


Happiest 5k Takes on Social Media

Color RunMost of us have heard of The Happiest 5k on the Planet, known best as The Color Run. For those that haven’t, this is a run that has taken the world by storm with races in Australia, Brazil, Chile, the Netherlands, Portugal, the United Kingdom and all over the United States. Participants wear all white and are doused with 5 different colors as they pass each kilometer. The race has grown immensely from its start in 2012 and will have more than a million participants in 100 events in 2013.

One of The Color Run’s greatest strengths has been its use of social media to spread its message of healthiness, happiness, individuality and giving back to the community. When and where did you first see the pictures of people jumping in the air throwing paint powder?


Leading the forefront of today’s social media, Twitter is a unique space for event-related content. It allows those not present to follow the event in real time and keep the atmosphere and impact of the race going far after it is over.

@TheColorRun has 46,497 followers currently for its U.S. account and uses separate accounts for each country. They receive great interaction utilizing #ColorRunner and #Happiest5k as well as responding to a great number of the people that tweet at them. One of the best parts of The Color Run is the phenomenal pictures taken there. Tweets with multimedia have been shown to increase engagement dramatically. These intensely interactive pictures lend themselves well to other forms of social media that not all companies have been able to effectively utilize.


Instagram is all about sharing a visual experience that people can relate to; the perfect site for blasts of color and promoting health and happiness.

TheColorRun has 20,000 followers on Instagram. They not only share pictures that imply the run will be the best time of your life, but use the photos to spread engagement to their other social media platforms such as YouTube.  Even though they use different outlets, The Color Run does a great job of creating one cohesive brand image throughout their messaging. For example, they continue to use the hash tags #happiest5k and #colorrunner, making it easy for followers to connect on both Instagram and Twitter. The group also shares pictures of their sponsors’ stands in order to pull from their sponsors’ customer base.


One of the newest players in social media is the short video sharing application called Vine, and The Color Run is already taking advantage of this platform. Their first vine was on June 2, 2013 and they already have 1,938 followers and 244 likes for their first post.

To find out more about The Color Run and potential races in your area visit http://thecolorrun.com/

-Ann Watercutter is a junior studying strategic communications with a minor in business and a marketing specialization. Keep up with Ann at @AWatercutter.

Wait…I Have to Vine This

VineIn the fast-paced world of social media and PR, it is important to stay up-to-date on emerging trends. In January 2013 Twitter introduced Vine as the newest form of social media. Since the launch, Vine hasn’t left the top 20 list in the iOs app store.

So what is Vine? It is an app that allows users to create a series of short video frames which are then looped together to create a six-second video which can be shared on Vine, Twitter and Facebook.

When the app first appeared it was primarily used as a way for people to share cute videos of their pets (guilty), but brands soon realized that the social media site could be used for much more. A few months later Vine emerged as a way for brands to connect with customers, when done correctly.

Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts of Vine and ways that you make the social site work for your brand.

DO have compelling content

The first step in having compelling video is having compelling content!  So give the viewer a behind-the-scenes look at your office, show your product being made or announce something new and exciting! Let the viewer feel like they have access to exclusive content, and they will keep coming back for more.

Taco Bell used Vine to announce the release date of their Cool Ranch Dorito Locos Taco. Although the video could use cleaned up a bit, the concept is there and it was a successful post: https://vine.co/v/bvlaYggdIiU

DO focus on something other than yourself

It gets annoying when someone only talks about themselves. This is true in life and in Vines. So change it up once in a while and talk about something else! If it’s homecoming weekend at OHIO, have a Vine of the parade. If it’s April Fool’s day, show a little humor in your post! Put the focus on ‘we’ not ‘me’.

Take General Electric (my favorite brand on Vine) for example. It was pi day so they kept it simple but compelling with this post: https://vine.co/v/bd1xMduMTp9

DON’T try to put a lot of ideas into a little time

Remember that you only have six seconds to get your brands message across. Focus on one idea for each Vine and deliver the message to your audience.

American Apparel tried to fit too many things into one Vine here, and the result was a video that made me dizzy: https://vine.co/v/bdMFaxbpi9Y

DON’T over-pace your video

Pacing is everything in video. If you have too slowly of a pace, then your viewer will get bored and click away. If the pace is too fast, then the viewer will get confused and, again, click away. Keep the pace steady and look to use 3-5 frames in a single Vine.

NASCAR has over-paced this video and tried to cram 18 frames in the 6-second Vine: https://vine.co/v/b6lAOTIFVn1

With Vine still being a newer social media outlet, it is hard to say whether it is here to stay. However, as PR stars it is important that we know the simple Do’s and Don’ts to create compelling posts for our brands

-Angela Martin is a senior studying strategic communication. Follow her on Twitter @_angelamartin.