A New Tool For PR? I Heard It Through the (Twitter) Vine…

Vine for TwitterTwitter announced the release of its new standalone iOS video-sharing app last week after previously acquiring Vine last week. Offering 6-second embeddable video snippets, the service has already been unofficially dubbed Twitter’s “Instagram for video.”

Dom Hoffman, co-founder and general manager of Vine, describes the service as “being about abbreviation – the shortened form of something larger. They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life. They’re quirky, and we think that’s part of what makes them so special.”

For businesses and consumers alike, Vine offers opportunities to use their social networking platforms as self-expression engines, capturing those spontaneous moments of creativity.

So why six seconds?

From a usability standpoint, Twitter engineers tested various video lengths from four to ten seconds, and found that six seconds was the ideal length for both production and consumption.

Twitter’s 140 character count has made PR practitioners very aware about the importance of key copy points and made us pretty deft at crafting impactful micro press releases. It’s taught us a few things about an economy of words and the modern attention span. We’re a society of skimmers, not readers.

That’s why Vine’s six-second embeddable video snippets are positioned to become another valuable tool for the modern digital PR practitioner – because it again refocuses our attentions on the importance of getting to the point, and getting there quickly.

Visual media like photographs and video have a big impact, especially when they can be embedded natively on social platforms. Think about how often you click “play” on Facebook to watch a video, either on uploaded through the native interface or shared from YouTube. Twitter’s focus on brevity means that you couldn’t embed a video directly into a tweet. You could link to it, but a click meant leaving the platform and viewing the video somewhere else.

Brands like Urban Outfitters, Gap, Lucky Magazine and PBS are already experimenting with the service. And while Twitter made no mention of paid advertising in its official announcement, a Vine embedded in a Promoted Tweet may not be too far off.

An embedded video snippet like Vine could become the next-generation virtual elevator pitch, combining storytelling conventions with a burst of visual interest.

A few ideas for using Vine:

  • A teaser for a larger (and no doubt longer) video production
  • Time-lapse style how-to tutorial of a product process.
  • A “faces of” reel, capturing brand culture and personality.
  • A focused product demo
  • Highlight reel of a key conference or presentation

Dropping a Vine into your next media-rich news release might grab that journalist’s eye when you need it most.

Have you tried Vine yet? Let us know your thoughts on it in the comments section below.