As we near 2014, the state of short online video is still hazy, but one thing’s for certain – it’s here to stay. Here are the quick facts:

Vine

- 6 seconds

- loopable

- embeddable

- 13 million users out of 500 million Twitter users

Instagram

- 15 seconds

- 13 filters

- editable

- 130 million users out of 1+ billion Facebook users

While Twitter isn’t even the second-largest social media platform (it’s behind Pinterest, among others), its popularity among business professionals is second only to LinkedIn. Facebook, on the other hand, is the go-to platform for just about everyone, but not necessarily a place people go to make business connections. Both social media platforms have their advantages and disadvantages, and both are crucial audiences for any brand.

But Vine videos and Instagram videos are fundamentally different, and neither are one-size-fits-all solutions for short video. Here are 5 ways you can use both effectively, and why.

1. Do “How To”s with Instagram

urbandecaycosmetics’s video on Instagram

Embed by embedinstagram.com

Customers want answers. While text is fine, video is easier to understand. Vines are too short to answer questions and demonstrate solutions, but 15 seconds is just long enough to squeeze in something useful without viewers rage-quitting.

2. Highlight special offers and packages with Vine

https://vine.co/v/bJ9dTgx3wJt

Vine is the best option for teasers because 6 seconds keeps you guessing and wanting more. Plenty of businesses are using Vines to promote new products, highlight special offers, or to show unboxings of giveaways. 6 seconds encourages stop-motion and eliminates the boring stuff.

3. Showcase products with Instagram

macys’s video on Instagram

Embed by embedinstagram.com

No catalog is better than a video catalog, and Instagram gives you the ability to show off your stuff while cutting costs. Granted, 15 seconds limits your show-and-tell time. Keep it simple.

4. Create fun content with Vine

https://vine.co/v/hpeXI06ZtJP

People don’t like the word “filler”, but sometimes that’s exactly what content is and needs to be. Sometimes viewers don’t want to see another product demo or tutorial, and they don’t want to read another blog post about best practices. Assuming your site visitors and social media followers only want “helpful” content is a big mistake. You can humanize your brand and increase its popularity with humorous shorts. Check out this one from Oreo.

5. Tell a single beat of your brand’s story with Instagram

Last, but not least – never forget to tell a story. Every company and brand has a narrative. While web copy, blog posts, and learning centers help you tell your story in detail, short videos can be used to highlight story “beats”, the building blocks of larger narratives. In a story beat, something happens. That means tutorials that aren’t purely functional, fun filler that comes with context, and special offers that relate to consumer needs.