Ben Phillips, 21, from Bridgend was one of the first UK active users on Vine, making short six-second skits to a tiny pocket of early adopters. He’s now a bona fide internet superstar, commanding (according to some reports) in excess of £12,000 per video…
“When I first started, there were only around 30 other people actively making videos. I was just having a laugh and trying to get those guys to watch my stuff. Somehow I got around 10,000 followers but it wasn’t a big deal. It was just because nobody else was on it. I was only getting about 30 likes per video.
“Then one day I posted a video where I was pretending that a lobster was driving my car. Overnight, it had 6,000 likes. I started making more fun videos with my ex-girlfriend’s two-year-old son, pretending he was a doctor, and it just exploded. We were getting about 50-100k likes and my followers just grew from that. It was bizarre.”
Within a short space of time, Ben found himself reaching an audience of over a million followers, more than most television shows. With that, he began to be approached by large brands who could see his potential as an advertising channel.
“I was working in my mum’s shoe shop at the time and I was genuinely quite happy to do that forever, but then Ford contacted me and asked me to feature some of their stuff, which was incredible. They just told me to have fun doing what I was doing and paid me for it. Now this is how I pay my bills.”
The Ford video made way for more offers and gave Ben the opportunity to travel and eventually concentrate on making Vine videos full time. “It’s not something that I ever really saw as a job. At the time, I just thought it would be amazing if I got the chance to travel around for a year and not have to take out a loan like my friends were doing. I still kind of think like that really.
“I could never have imagined it being so big and ultimately this could disappear tomorrow, but I love what I’m doing: the engagement and just being able to make people smile. That’s priceless, and what’s most important to me. Who knows what’s next. Maybe TV? I just want to reach a mass audience. However it goes I’ll still just be messing around on Vine.”
EMBRACE YOUR PLATFORM
I like Vine because it’s
so simple. It’s just six seconds and it’s instant. You need to focus on the platform. Choose one thing to start with and be ahead of the curve. Being the first person on a new format automatically puts you ahead.
DON’T TRY AND GUESS WHAT PEOPLE LIKE
If you try and second-guess the audience, it won’t be genuine. Always just do the things that
you like. They’ll always be like-minded people, even
if it’s just a small number.
I realised I liked interacting with people, and that’s what I stuck with.
DON’T GET SUCKED
IN BY MONEY
When you get a certain number of followers
you can sell absolutely anything and make a lot
of money easily, which is obviously nice. But that’s never the reason the successful people do it.
It wouldn’t work if it was just about getting money. It’s not what made you successful so don’t let it cloud you.
BE AN ATTENTION GRABBER
People will turn off a Vine two seconds in because they’re bored. You need
to start strong. The first seconds are incredibly important in holding an audience and making them watch more. That’s how you live or die on Vine.
ANYONE CAN DO IT
No matter how big you
get, always remember
that everyone can do this. Everyone has an iPhone, you’re not different from anyone else – you’re just
a guy doing videos.