“Since 2013, millions of people have turned to Vine to laugh at loops and see creativity unfold. Today, we are sharing the news that in the coming months we’ll be discontinuing the mobile app.”
– Team Vine and TwitterAlmost four years to the day of Twitter’s $30-million acquisition of the popular video sharing app that the Los Angeles Times once called, “…one of best social media apps in the market,” Vine is officially dead.
The Vine and Twitter team announced on Oct. 27 that the app would be “discontinued,” but the website and six-second videos would remain accessible, for now.
While the announcement made big waves, it came as no surprise to many considering that Twitter has been struggling immensely for some time now, as well as the fact that the video platform received little to no marketing support.
Taking a look at the untimely demise of this revolutionary application, there are certain universal lessons that can be pulled from the unfortunate situation and applied to small business blueprints all over the world.
Lesson 1: Don’t Put All of Your Eggs in One BasketIt has been expressed many times over that certain mediums are absolutely critical to a brand’s success; Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube, etc. All of these things have been touted as modern marvels of business, but in reality, they are merely channels for your message to flow through and reach consumers.
These vehicles, no matter how mighty, come and go. A little over a decade ago, the thought of Myspace falling off the social media map was inconceivable. While some of these portals have demonstrated their staying power, none are impervious to collapse.
The lesson here is to not rely so heavily on one mechanism for conveying your message that you endanger your company’s future.
As Chris Stocker, CSI Marketing Solutions president and CEO explained:
“Vine shutting down is primarily going to negatively impact businesses that had all their eggs in the Vine basket. As digital marketers, it is important to be where the attention is and cross-promote within those areas. For the businesses that were able to drive their Vine followers to other platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, etc. they will not see as big of a negative impact.”
If you are going to play in the realm of social media, you have to diversify your efforts.
Lesson 2: Be a Leader in InnovationDigital technologies provide newcomers to the business arena with minimal barriers to entry. When Vine was first introduced, it was something new and exciting, something special. It was truly disruptive; for a moment.
One of the main problems was that the company failed to continue pushing new ideas after its initial success and when companies continue moving forward with the same offerings, ideas become stale or they get stolen.
In order to remain a market leader, innovation is the name of the game. Incremental improvements, for the most part, just won’t do; ideas must be subversive.
The point is that continually presenting your customers unique offerings that provide real value should be your No. 1 priority. If you don’t do this, your competition will be happy to take up the mantle.
Lesson 3: Ferociously PromoteThis was again one of Twitter’s biggest failures with Vine. The company failed to continue pushing the platform after the boom of its success. To be fair, Twitter clearly has its own set of problems close to home, but that is still no excuse for essentially neglecting its purchase.
Take this as a prime example of what not to do with a product that achieves minimal success; never put it on cruise control. In order to test the true viability of a product, it has to be continually marketed, promoted and improved in order to reach its full potential.
Lesson 4: Never Underestimate the Power of Small CommunitiesAt its peak, Vine had roughly 200 million monthly active users. While many of these people, including some of its biggest stars, began to jump ship as the platform sank, in its heyday the application had a vibrant, strong and meaningful community. Despite its size, people were passionate about Vine; many still are.
The truth is, the size of your brand’s community is not the end-all-and-be-all. What matters most is how engaged, devoted, passionate, and driven those people are. This is the entire premise behind advocacy marketing; building a community around your most staunchly loyal customers.
At the end of the day, 1,000 devoted consumers are more impactful than 100,000 tentative followers. The key is learning to leverage these folks as your ambassadors in organic and meaningful ways. They need to feel the love or they will eventually go elsewhere.
Lesson 5: Follow the TrendsDon’t be confused by this; following trends does not mean buying into every flash in the pan. It means paying attention to where your audience is moving, because the public is always testing and trying out new platforms and offerings.
Five years ago, companies knew that if they wanted to target millennials, Facebook was the place to be. That is not exactly the case today, however, as this generation now favors places like Instagram and Snapchat.
Don’t cling to social networks as if they are something sacred. When your target consumers start to abandon a platform, follow them.
Moreover, it is vital to understand the underlying motivators behind their transition because this will help you to craft better marketing materials.
It’s a bit sad to see Vine go so soon. But in every difficulty, there are lessons to be learned. In Vine’s case, there are many. Don’t let this platform fade into obscurity in vain. Take the lessons it had to offer and apply those to your business in the hopes of not succumbing to the same unfortunate fate.
What other lessons can be derived from Vine’ passing? What is the No. 1 reason it couldn’t survive?