Ordinary Superstars Of Vine Pave The Way For Brands Big And Small

October 15, 2013

Nash Grier is a 15-year-old high school sophomore from Davidson, N.C. He is not an actor, reality television star or musical artist. He is, by most measures, an average teenage boy.

He also happens to be one of the most followed Viners on the planet.

Surely you remember Vine. Earlier this year, it was the next big thing in social media. The mobile app-based network allowed users to parse together as many video cuts as they could fit into six seconds to create a clip that loops infinitely much like a GIF.

A few months later, Instagram, the dominant photo-sharing social network owned by Facebook, introduced a video feature allowing users to create (gasp!) 15-second clips. Many thought Instagram’s video offering spelled Vine’s demise.

Instead, Vine has flourished. And while you may have deleted the app off your iPhone months ago, Grier and dozens of other ordinary people have outpaced celebrities to make up Vine’s most followed accounts.

To put it in the perspective, yesterday afternoon, Justin Bieber, the world’s most followed Twitter member (45.5 million), had 569,669 followers on Vine. Grier — who is not a global pop sensation — has 1,426,722 followers with 20,000 to 60,000 new ones each day.

How is this possible? It’s simple: Vine isn’t a place for passive voyeurism.

Celebrities inundate fans with mundane updates on Twitter and myriad drivel on Facebook where their audiences have come to expect it. But on Vine, the community has a higher standard and expects clever, creative content that flourishes because of its short length, not despite it. On Vine, showing up and just being a celebrity doing celebrity things for six seconds at a time isn’t good enough.

The everyday superstars of Vine have built massive (and still growing) audiences by brainstorming, shooting and posting bite-size content that is honest, observational and relatable. In this way, Vine has proven itself social media’s only true meritocracy where the best content always bubbles to the top without any help from a room full of “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” writers, the serendipity of a truly viral moment caught on video or a massive ad spend. That’s probably a scary thing to brand managers who prefer more predictable environments.

But for brands that have made it work — Lowe’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Trident, to name a few — Vine provides an opportunity to demonstrate imagination and spread brand love through truly enjoyable content. And if someone like Nash Grier proves anything, it’s that the size and profile of a brand doesn’t matter. As long as the content is engaging, there is no limit to how popular even the smallest brand can become on Vine.