Social media celebs Ry Doon and Zach King on Vine's demise

Both shrugged off the impending shut-down of the six-second video service, saying they pivoted to a multi-platform strategy in recent months.

Ry Doon and Zach King.
Ry Doon and Zach King.

NEW YORK: Waking up to news about the death of Vine on Thursday, social media star Ry Doon had to quickly collect himself so he could create a pre-planned Vine for a brand by deadline.

"I can’t say what brand the Vine I am working on is for, but the job might be cancelled," Doon said. "Hopefully not."

However, the brand didn’t call him in a panic – in fact, Doon said none of the brands he frequently works with seem worried because they’ve built multi-channel influencer-marketing strategies.

"The last time I had a single Vine deal was two years ago," said Doon. "Now brands tell me, ‘Do one Vine, five snaps, two Instagrams, three tweets, and mention it on Facebook for this amount of money.’ So it has become encompassing of all platforms."

Doon said the death of Vine was disappointing, but not exactly a shock. He began noticing a year ago that engagement wasn’t as high, so he moved from using Vine as his go-to platform to other apps including Instagram and Snapchat.

"I already grieved the loss of Vine months ago," Doon said. "I get more views on Instagram now than I do on Vine."

Vine parent company Twitter said Thursday, the same day it announced it was cutting 9% of its staff, that it would shut down the six-second video service in the coming months. The company said in a Medium post that it will keep the Vine website operating so users can view and download content.

Zach King, another social media influencer who specializes in film editing effects, said he also pivoted to Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat a year and a half ago when he saw his Vine engagement numbers falling.

King, who has 4 million followers on Vine, said the platform has a "neat" community that sparked a lot of creativity in his work.

"This is a good reminder that no matter how hot your app is, it's got to be sustainable and the creators have to be nourished by the team," said King. "I know a handful of creators that are devastated by the Vine shutdown because 100% of their business came from that platform, so you can't ever put all your eggs in one basket."

Although Doon is focusing on other social media apps, he is concerned that he will lose proof of his popularity along with Vine, potentially leading to less work. Doon boasts 3.7 million followers on the app.

"Vine was a platform where I could prove to the industry and Hollywood that millions of people love my stuff, which would help me get work and help my credibility and show business," he said. "Hopefully they will keep the website up so I can show that I have a lot of followers. It is the loss of proof that people like me."

Doon, who runs a monthly standup comedy show at Hollywood Improv in Los Angeles, is planning a "Vine Funeral" show for November 21 that will feature Vine celebrities discussing the app’s death.

An autopsy: What led to Vine’s downfall
Experts blame a number of shortcomings for the death of Vine. According to Crowdtap VP and head of creator partnerships Claudia Page, a lack of monetization opportunities for creators led to its downfall.

"Looking ahead, successful platforms will encourage opportunities, like product placements, in a way that promotes authenticity and relevance for both the influencers and their followers," she said.

Ricky Ray Butler, SVP of digital at BEN, part of the Branded Entertainment Network, blamed Vine’s six-second limit for its collapse. At first, brands were intrigued by the concept of telling a story in six seconds, but it "really limited" creators, he explained.

The time limit also challenged brands to include a call-to-action in videos. This limited BEN’s ability to measure metrics beyond just loops and re-Vines, said Butler.

"Other platforms like Facebook and Instagram make it easier for content creators to evolve, not being limited to the six seconds," said Butler, adding that short-form is here to stay because millennials like bite-size content.

Maria Sipka, cofounder and president of Linqia, said it is critical for brands to implement multichannel influencer-marketing strategies because it makes them less vulnerable should a major change take place with their platform of choice. Change is inevitable, she notes, citing algorithm changes and other evolutions of Facebook and Instagram.

"Brands should build their programs around power-middle influencers whose audiences are more balanced and engaged across all of their platforms," said Sipka.

Influencers, meanwhile, should quickly establish their presence on new platforms and inspire their existing audiences to follow them there, she added.

"Influencers that repurpose their content across their various social channels and take the time to engage with their audiences are more adept to handling major change," Sipka said. "An influencer’s capability to produce compelling content, grow their audience, and inspire engagement and action on all of their social channels determines their worth."

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