The Difference Between Instagram Stories, Posts, & Reels

Instagram is a great tool to have in your business arsenal to help promote brand awareness, drives sales, and showcase your products and/or expertise. Because of Instagram’s visual nature, it holds immense opportunities for eCommerce businesses. On average, IG users are more engaged than other social media users and are more commonly online shoppers. The most popular business categories are clothing, makeup, shoes, and jewelry. Since IG users tend to have more of a shopping mindset, it makes Instagram the perfect audience for eCommerce businesses because users are high-intent and quick to convert.

Instagram has introduced a ton of business-facing tools and continues to roll out new ones. However, it’s important to understand the basics and how you can use Instagram Posts, Stories, and Reels to promote your business organically.

Instagram Posts

There are four types of Instagram posts that you can utilize on your Instagram; photo posts, videos posts, shopping posts, and carousel posts. These are the posts that appear on Instagram feeds and profiles.

Photo Posts

Photo posts continue to be the most popular form of content on Instagram, likely because they are easy to edit and publish. There are currently only three formats (landscape, portrait, or square) for sharing photos.

Video Posts

Another type of post you can employ is video posts. Video posts allow you to create long-form, high-production videos up to 1 minute long that generate a ton of engagement. Videos tend to be one of the best formats for driving sales, due to their ability to communicate complex stories.

Shopping Posts

Shopping posts allow you to tag products in posts, making it easier for users to shop your products on Instagram. When your shoppable post appears in your followers feed or on people’s explore page, all they have to do is tap the shopping bag icon on an image to reveal more information about the product. If a user taps the info box, they’ll be directed to a URL where they can shop and purchase the product.

Carousel Posts

Carousel posts can include between 2 and 10 photos and/or videos so they’re a great place to get creative. They are typically a favorite for businesses that want to promote new product lines or share event photos and videos.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are great for building a more engaged community and promoting your products and/or services. IG Stories last for 24 hours, however, you can now save Stories as Stories Highlights on your profile and viewers can continue to view them there even after the 24 hour time limit. Because Instagram Stories are a pretty relaxed place, it’s a good idea to mix informative, fun, and promotional content. Stories also have a lot of features that are great for businesses; such as, location and hashtag stickers, clickable links, polls and emoji sliders, question stickers, countdown stickers, GIF stickers, and the ability to tag other accounts and businesses in your sponsored Instagram Stories.

Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels are a brand new way to create fun and engaging video content. Similar to TikTok, IG reels allow you to record 15 to 30-second video clips set to music. You can share Reels to your Stories, but they will also appear on the new Reels tab on your profile, and can appear on users’ Explore Feed or the Reels Tab that is located in the center of the main IG navigation bar on the bottom of your screen. On the Reels Tab, instead of only seeing Reels from accounts you follow, you will also see Reels from popular and trending accounts on Instagram. Reels are a great for building your IG community and expanding the reach of your content and profile.

Are you wondering how your business can use IG Reels? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Create authentic content that resonates with your audience. This provides you with the opportunity to share with other users the personal side or story behind your business. Whether it’s a “behind-the-scenes”, “day-in-the-life”, or fun story-time, it’s a great way to connect with your audience and promote your business in a non-sales-y way.
  2. Share educational content. Depending on what your business is, there are many ways to share your industry expertise and educate users on your products/business. For example, a clothing retailer can use IG Reels to share style tips, discuss the importance of sustainable fashion, or explain the unique/fun ways to shop with their business.
  3. Showcase products. Another way businesses can use Reels is to showcase their products. Whether it’s just a fun, engaging video to music that resonates with your target audience, pairing clothing pieces together for outfit ideas, or the step-by-step on how a product is made by a small business, Reels are a great tool to showcase your products further than the simple Instagram Post or Story.

The best strategy when it comes to creating Instagram content for your business is to create a mix of Instagram Posts, Stories, and Reels that align with your target audience. It’s also important to analyze your insights to see what content is most popular amongst your followers so you can continue to improve the content you share. By utilizing all avenues on Instagram, your business will likely have higher engagement and reach.