Instagram Adds New Editing Tools

Instagram Editing Tools

If you’re like the rest of the human population, you’re probably on Instagram everyday 🙂 Well, good news for the platform’s users: new photo editing tools.

Earlier this week, the popular image sharing social platform rolled out a new set of tools to help edit photos even more, including the ability to change an image’s contrast, warmth, saturation and more. With many IG users already turning to additional apps to help edit pics, it only makes sense for the platform to provide its users with tools they really want and need.

Instagram stated, “You take a photo to capture a moment, but often what you see in the photograph doesn’t feel the same as what you remember. From brightening up a photo of your dinner party to better capturing the warmth of a sunset portrait, these new creative tools help you bring out and share the beauty of the moment as you remember it—right inside the same simple Instagram you already know.”

Although it may not seem like a drastic change in the application, for many this means cutting out the middle man — or other editing apps like the popular VSCO Cam. Similar to how IG added video capabilities after Vine was launched through Twitter, this new addition will make many folks happy and consequently, continuous use of the platform.

Have you tried the new IG photo editing tools yet?

— Samantha


Vine Turns 1 & Celebrates Best Videos of the Year

A Year on Vine

It’s crazy to think that a whole year has passed since Vine was introduced to the world.

For those who are unfamiliar, Vine is a mobile application where users can create six-second videos, with the ability to start and stop recording as many times as they want. In January 2013, Vine was acquired by Twitter and made big news as people and brands could now easily express themselves through another medium.

Although competitor Instagram introduced video capabilities in June 2013, Vine has remained popular. Today, it celebrates its first anniversary. To get the party started, check out Vine’s 200 video compilation totaling 18 minutes, including funny clips from fans, as well as videos from President Obama and Justin Bieber.

We picked out a few of our faves:

Tell us: Which is your favorite vine video from 2013?

— Samantha

Is This the End of the Facebook Era?

End of the Facebook Era

Although Facebook is one of the largest social networks in the world, it’s slowly losing its popularity. Any decline of such a big company is bound to occur over time, yet it’s interesting to note what the company is doing in response. Little, if nothing.

As many bloggers and tech-analysts will agree, once a large social movement like Facebook becomes so engrained in our everyday life that it is no longer unique or special, it will soon become extinct. It’s simply the nature of the game.

As stated by Facebook CFO David Ebersam a few months ago, Facebook is starting to lose it’s teen demographic around the world. They’re no longer on Facebook, but rather on other instant gratification sites likes Vine, Instagram, Snapchat and WeChat. But it’s not just teenagers who are leaving the FB giant, it’s the millennial generation as well, who can’t handle crazy, over-stimulated Newsfeeds with everyone on it, from their students to their and grandmothers.

It’s clear that Facebook wants its users to continue sharing more and more. But if what we post on our Facebook walls never gets seen by our friends (thanks to many, many algorithm changes), what is the point? Specifically as it relates to companies, Facebook recently admitted that brands will need to start paying for such visibility in order to break through the clutter of the typical FB fan’s Newsfeed. This extra demand of companies is causing quite the stir as it’s not clearly stated how boosting will actually get stories into Newfeeds — and by how much.

After all is said and done, Facebook has not come out with any life-changing additions to the platform (if you don’t count auto-playing video ads). Yes, they’ve acquired popular platforms like Instagram, but they’ll have to do a lot more to stay relevant in people’s lives. Although Facebook will most likely survive, the “Facebook Era” may be coming to an end.

— Samantha

Three Ways Brands Successfully Use Vine

When Instagram introduced their video feature, many thought Vine would soon be on its way out. While Instagram may have the advantage when it comes to number of users, we still see great opportunity with Vine, especially for brands. Vine offers a fantastic platform for brands to connect with their audience in a whole new way. Below, we have highlighted three such ways brands are successfully tapping into their Vine following.

1) Announcing New Products

New product promotion is always incredibly important to a brand. After all, whats the point of developing the latest and greatest if nobody knows about it? Here are two examples from Twitter and Puma of how to effectively promote a new product in six seconds:

2) Behind the Scenes

People love seeing behind the scenes footage. Whether it’s from the Super Bowl or the Grammys, audiences love exclusive material that the average consumer might not get. Here is a Vine from a Kate Spade fashion shoot and one from an XBOX event:

3) Straight Up Entertainment

One of the best ways to succeed in social media is simply create content people want to share. Regardless of topic, the more people linking your content, the bigger audience you reach. Here is a cool video from Urban Outfitters on glow-in-the-dark body paint and another one from Oreo, who may have just revolutionized your ice coffee:

-Mike & Samantha

Instagram Vs. Vine


Instagram vs. Vine, Facebook vs. Twitter, it has been quite interesting watching the battle between the two social media behemoths for mini-video supremacy.  When Vine was released in Jan of 2013, it was heralded as the Instagram of video. 5 days after being introduced, Vine had more shares-per-day at 2.5 million, while Instagram was only generating 2.2. These are very impressive numbers for a service only 5 days old, it appeared Vine was coming in strong and here to stay.

Fast forward 6 months later to June 20th, the date Instagram added a video service to their app. Vine shares-per-day plummeted from 2.5 million on June 19th, to 1.5 million on June 20th. In the same month, Vine links on twitter also dropped by 70%, not a good sign for Vine.


Personally, when Instagram launched their video service, we at Sike immediately went and deleted our Vine apps. After all, why would we want to try and manage 2 separate video sharing apps? Since we already had an Instagram presence established, it was an easy choice to stick with Instagram, rather than start again from the ground up with Vine. If someone was to tell us that the fate of Vine is a slow death, you would not hear many objections, but maybe, just maybe, we have Vine all wrong.

The first thing we have to realize is the fundamental difference between Instagram and Vine. While Instagram’s success was based on the huge number of users uploading and the volume of uploaded content, Vine should not be measured in the same way. This is because of the simple fact that pictures and videos are very different things. The complexities of creating a great video are going to inhibit the casual user from creating and uploading a video to Vine, after all, it is much easier to upload a cool sunset picture than create a 6 second video people will actually want to watch. This will, in turn, skew many of the Vine users into consumers, rather than creators. This is bad for Vine right? Not necessarily.

The best way to see the potential success of Vine is to view it as a mini YouTube. YouTube is a consumer-centric service, much like Vine. Chances are everyone you know has seen a video on YouTube before, but how many of those same people have actually uploaded content? Consumption far exceeds creation on YouTube. It is estimated that 30% of the videos uploaded to YouTube account for 90% of total views. This simply shows that people are consuming YouTube videos MUCH faster than creating them and we feel this is the direction Vine will be going.

We have already seen numerous big brands take advantage of Vine, creating brilliant 6 second advertisements. With the money and resources to create quality videos, we see Vine as a fantastic avenue for brands to get fresh, new content out to their fans.  We all know consumer attention spans are shrinking, and nowhere is this more prevalent than online. It is only natural to see the progression to shorter advertisements, and Vine is a perfect avenue for that content.

We are very interested to see where Vine ultimately goes. It is obvious that Instagram has a huge advantage over user-generated content and it would be a big mistake for Vine to try and go toe-to-toe with them. We would like to see Vine aggressively target advertising partnerships, bringing more creative and quality content to its platform. Give us a reason to re-download that Vine app on to our precious smartphones.

-Mike & Samantha


Following the recent addition of Vine, Twitter has stepped up their game once more with its new music service. Although there has been no official announcement from Twitter execs, a buzz has been growing primarily off of quotes from Ryan Seacrest. Apparently chosen as one of the priveledged few to give this new service a test run, he tweeted last thursday: “playing with @twitter’s new music app (yes it’s real!).”

The new service was rumored to be launching yesterday, but the true functionality has yet to be seen. Going to will bring you to the new login screen, but unfortunately  loops you back to the original login screen. It seems Twitter still has a few kinks to work out, but based on their history of success, it is only a matter of time before  this new service is up and running with the big boys.

It will be interesting to see what the finished product looks like and how it functions. Although there are existing music discovery websites and applications out there, none of them come close to the reach of Twitter. Initial reports are pointing towards an embedded music player within the tweets which we believe will be a key factor in its success. If users are forced to click on links, therefore opening up a third party service, that will certainly hamper Twitter music’s advancement in the market.

This new service has the potential to revolutionize the music industry. Not since the days of MTV’s TRL has there been a centralized platform for trending music reaching millions of people. It is safe to say that we are excited for this new service and cannot wait to get signed up and try it out!


How Brands Can Climb to the Top Using Vine

The latest addition to the Twitter platform is Vine – a brand new mobile application that allows users to document experiences in six-second looping videos.  Since going live in January, Vine has grown its active users by 50 percent in the past month. Even though the new app is in direct competition with iOS apps like Viddy, SocialCam and Cinemagram, Vine has seen extreme growth while others begin to decline within the social space.

Not only have individuals been quick to adopt this latest ‘trend’, many brands have also started creating their own six-second videos, including the Gap, Dove, Urban Outfitters and from our own portfolio, Secret. Most of these videos are being made because brands want to be the first in the space.  But how can companies use this app as in their digital and social strategies to rise above the rest?

Here are a few ideas to get started:

  1. Tell your brand’s story: From the history of the company to showcasing product, Vine can help introduce the company to your new followers, creatively display products as a reminder for current customers, and show short, educational product demonstrations.
  2. Get personal: With the ability to show “behind the scene” videos at the office, events, etc. Vine makes it accessible for companies to become instantly more relatable to fans — a strategy that will spark conversations with users and keep people close to the brand.
  3. Create excitement around a new product: Thanks to this new mode of visual inspiration, fans can now get a ‘first look’ at upcoming products, uses and more. Vine will only help the launch of a new initiative or programs moving forward.
  4. Promote a contest: Although many brands are excited about user generated content, videos have always been harder to obtain as compared to images. Vine could be a great middle ground to get fans engaged, while visually stimulating excitement around a contest or promotion.

xx Samantha