Instagram vs. Vine: Which Is Better for Your Business?

The Digital Marketer weighs in on Instagram and Vine. Which Is Better for Your Business?

Diane S. Thieke,
July 31, 2013

Look out, Vine. The race to video is on. Last week, Instagram released its version 4.0, which adds video capabilities to the popular app.

With both video and mobile expanding at an accelerating pace, marketing professionals and business owners should take a closer look at both Instagram and the 5-month-old Vine. One of them is likely to fit into your broader digital marketing plan.

Instagram’s addition of video is a major competitive play, and one aimed at getting a larger share of the growing online video advertising market, which is expected to exceed $4 billion this year.

But unlike YouTube, where the average length of a video is about 4 minutes, Instagram and Vine tells stories in mere seconds. Instagram caps videos at 15 seconds, which is the length of more than one-third of TV commercials. Conventional wisdom attributes the growing interest in brevity to our shortened attention span. In fact, British adman Trevor Beattie, recently said that the right length of a TV commercial is now down to 5 seconds.

For Instagram and Vine, brevity is one aspect that makes them so appealing. The other is viewer motivation to share video. According to eMarketer, 92% of mobile viewers share the videos they watch with others. This means that both Vine and Instagram have enormous potential for engaging targeted audiences.

Getting Started

Both apps are exceedingly simple to use – and cost nothing. Download the app, open the camera, hold your finger down on the screen, and record. Add a caption, and then share.

Vine or Instagram?

Don’t know which to choose? Here’s how these two compare:

  • Editing. Instagram offers some editing capabilities, a dozen or so filters, and the ability to choose the cover image to your video. At the moment, Vine doesn’t offer editing capabilities. Though, undoubtedly, it will add them.
  • Distribution. Both services enable easy sharing to both Facebook and Twitter, but Instagram also integrates with Tumblr and Foursquare.
  • Embed. Vine makes it easy to embed video into websites and blogs. Unfortunately, this capability is absent from Instagram.
  • Reach. Facebook owns Instagram, and Twitter owns Vine. Thus, if your primary target audience is on Facebook, it makes sense to use Instagram. And of course, logically, if it’s on Twitter, then your best bet is Vine.

What kind of story can you tell in 15 seconds or less? A lot, it turns out. Here are a few ideas for marketing your business via these apps:

  • Tell the story of your brand.
  • Describe your products and services.
  • Introduce or interview your staff.
  • Provide a “Behind the scenes” look at how products are made or how your team works.
  • Animate your logo.

The best short videos, not surprisingly, tend to be more creative and clever:

  • How to videos. Simple instructional videos can create a powerful brand image. For example, if you sell cookware, walk viewers through the steps of a recipe and show how your product is used in the process.
  • Celebrations. My local car dealer posts photos of proud, new car owners on its dealership’s Facebook page. Imagine taking this a step further, and creating a video instead – with audio.
  • Customer testimonials. Why send a full production crew, when you’ve already got a salesperson with a smartphone at the customer’s location? Ask your sales team to capture those spontaneous compliments. It’s a simple way to add credibility to your brand.
  • Commercials. This will take some planning and scripting, but it’s possible to create a 5- to 15-second commercial that promotes your latest sale or event. While it may not be suited for TV, it will reach your fans and followers, and that might be more valuable.

Have you used Instagram or Vine’s video capabilities? What has been your experience? Let us know in Comments.

Diane S. Thieke is the president and founder of Simply Talk Media, a digital media marketing consultancy. With more than 25 years in digital media and technology, she helps clients build stronger relationships with their customers and communities, using both social and traditional channels. Follow her on Twitter at @thiekeds or visit her blog at www.simplytalkmedia.com/blog.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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