Ladies and gentlemen of the marketing world, there’s a war going on. When Facebook announced Instagram could now play videos, I imagine someone at Vine hit the panic button and started shouting, “All hands on deck!” Blog posts like this one poured onto the Internet, and a great debate began. Six looping seconds or 15 filtered seconds? What’s going to reach the largest segment of my audience? (I secretly am wondering if the entire world forgot about YouTube, but that’s an entirely different blog post.)
While this confusion hasn’t affected the amount of times Instagram has been shared on Twitter, Vine share count has tanked. As Marketing Land reported, the volume of Vine links on Twitter slid 40 percent in one day alone. Clearly people are reacting to the news, but I don’t believe either platform has definitively won the war. Or debate. Or whatever synonym you choose to insert.
People aren’t fleeing Vine; they’re just distracted. Instagram’s video now possesses the sexy “newness” that Vine previously held – I’d be shocked if the level of vine.co shares on Twitter had stayed constant. I predict in a few weeks, things will return to normal. Which brings me to my point: the two platforms are too different to necessitate a choice.
Apples to Oranges
I am not the only person to express this view. Vine celebrity Adam Goldberg told CNET that he believes the two platforms are like apples and oranges and can’t be compared. Social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk posted a video on YouTube in which he questions the need for a war between social networks Facebook and Twitter.
“Different people will pop out and be successful on both,” Vaynerchuk says. “Some people are good at status updates on Facebook and not on Twitter, and vice-versa.”
I acknowledge the ideas behind the two platforms are similar: simplicity and intimacy. However, the execution of these ideas has bred mediums that are too different for comparison. Vine mimics the informality of tweets, an informality in which grammar is relaxed and strings of words are meshed into #onelongfunnyhashtag. Instagram, with its editing and professional filters, aligns more with Facebook’s obsession with images and the “look” of a message as opposed to the actual content.
What is a marketer to do?
There are a few suggestions I have for marketers worrying whether they have chosen the right video platform. The first of which is to stop worrying because there isn’t a choice to make. If you rely heavily on Instagram now, I advise you to stay there. If you’ve played around with Vine but never posted to Instagram, again, I’d tell you not to change anything. The simple fact that you’re on social media, engaging with your audience, is far more important.
If you’ve got both, then there’s no harm in keeping both. Instagram will never possess the quirky, endearing nature of Vine, and Vine is never going to look as professional as Instagram. What kind of message are you trying to send out to your audience? Align the message with the platform, remembering that each platform offers distinct advantages.
My point is that there’s not need to sit in front of your iPhone, worried about which video app to open next. They both will work. The level of Vine shares is going to normalize, and you’ll maintain the ability to reach a large audience with both networks.
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About the author: Joseph Havey is the Director of Social Media for the Triangle-based Shelten Media, LLC, a start-up company specializing in social media marketing. He is a member of N.C. State’s PRSSA chapter, and writes for the school newspaper, Technician. In his free time, he trains for triathlons.