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Have you heard of Vine? You know, the latest video craze that’s spreading like, well, a vine? Vine is a Twitter app that lets you share short, looping videos. As you can imagine, the possibilities are pretty much endless. Clearly, there’s something about the concept of brief videos because Instagram has joined the party by adding video capabilities to its platform. And ClickZ reports that the use of six-second videos in Tweets has doubled in the past two months, based on research by Unruly Media. Still, the SMB community has some doubts about the viability of super-short videos as a marketing tactic.

1. Vine is Just for Teens

In the SMB community, many think of Vine as a MySpace-esque app. In other words, something more geared towards the teen and young adult audience. But Vine is actually used by a wide range of demographics. Because it’s entwined with Twitter, your audience is essentially as broad as the Twitter-sphere.

2. Vine is Another YouTube

“Who needs another YouTube?”

“No platform will ever compete with YouTube in the video space.”

If you’ve found yourself thinking either of those thoughts—or something similar—you might be falling into another misconception trap about Vine. Vine isn’t another YouTube at all, nor is it another Twitter. It’s a lovely combination of the two, with the ability to create and share short videos (six seconds or less) with your social circles.

3. You Can’t Accomplish Anything with a 6-Second Video

Vine isn’t another YouTube: Check. But now you might be thinking six seconds is far too limited to accomplish anything of value. Wrong. Like the short, 140-character limitation of Tweets, the six second timeframe is meant to inspire creativity.

4. It’s Easier to Just Link to YouTube

Sure, it’s true that you can just tack on a link to a longer YouTube video for social sharing. But you won’t get the same compelling nature offered by a short, six-second clip. And long YouTube videos aren’t always practical for mobile users. Plus there’s the little fact that branded Vines are four times likely to be shared than video ads, and that mobile traffic is on an exponential growth curve.

5. Vine Videos are Cluttered and Crammed

The best Vine videos use a highly relevant, yet incredibly simple concept to enhance brand awareness. Like Bacardi’s use of stop motion to show a lime rolling into a bottle of Bacardi. There are plenty of Vines out there that take the cram-as-much-as-possible-into-six-seconds approach, but the most compelling Vines are almost over-simplified—and the creativity that goes into developing a Vine concept is one of the most intriguing things about Vines.

Instagram Enters the Micro-Video Scene

With the news of Instagram’s video rollout all over the ‘net last week, we’d be missing the mark if we didn’t address the potential implications in a post that’s all about micro marketing videos. What’s the difference? While Vine is offered by Twitter, Instagram is a Facebook-run project. And Instagram videos can run for up to 15 seconds, while Vine is, of course, limited to just six seconds.

It turns out that savvy enterprises are already capitalizing on Instagram’s video feature, and we think a few of these creative uses will spark some of your own creative vibes. A recent Instagram blog post reveals some ways forward-thinkers are already making use of Instagram video:

  • Breaking news stories. Imagine a six-second video announcing Facebook’s #hashtag integration.
  • An inside peek. News outlets are giving followers an inside look at events, such as supporters outside the Supreme Court waiting for a decision on same-sex marriage.
  • Capturing real-time action. Other great examples cited by Instagram are users capturing actionable and memorable moments, such as mass protests and even the reaction of the crowd to the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision.

There’s clearly a huge opportunity here for sportscasters to share looping videos of a last-moment score that changes the outcome of the game.  Music managers and marketing execs can share compelling sneak peeks of new music videos. A brand with an infectious ad campaign can loop six to 15 seconds of a famous punch line, while personalities like Larry the Cable Guy can endlessly blast their next viral one-liner.

Which is better? We think you should make use of both micro-video platforms for your marketing efforts for the widest reach. You can maximize your budget by creating a longer, 15-second video that can be broken down into a six-second snippet that still captures the essence of your message, allowing you to catch the attention of both Instagram and Vine users—which are growing in number every day.