Stories and Reels and Videos, Oh My!



Leveraging video is a highly effective way to engage your audience. When it comes to sharing video content on Instagram, you have four formats available: Stories, Reels, Instagram Live, and Instagram Video. Let’s break down how these formats differ and explore best practices for each.


Instagram Stories are ephemeral photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours, and they have become one of the most popular ways to communicate with followers on Instagram. Stories appear on the bar at the top of your feed, so they’re the first thing people see before they start scrolling.


While your Instagram feed is for perfectly polished material, Stories provide a more authentic, candid view of you and your business.


Use it to post behind-the-scenes content, make big announcements, and interact with your followers in real time. With Stories you can:


Similar to TikTok, Instagram Reels are made up of short clips (up to 60 seconds) that are edited together and usually set to music. They show up in your feed and can be shared to Stories, but they also appear in a separate Reels tab that allows IG users to scroll through binge-worthy video content. Reels are perfect for entertaining your audience, expanding your reach, and tapping into online trends.


Unlike Stories, Reels offer special editing tools, such as augmented reality (AR) effects and timer and speed controls. Users can also comment publicly on Reels, whereas Stories comments are received via direct message.


Reels are great for:


Live is Instagram’s version of real-time broadcasts. This feature lets you stream live videos for up to 4 hours. Even better, you can go Live with up to four people (using a feature called Live Rooms), so you can host events with other brands, business partners, and influencers.


Once you go Live, you can ask your audience questions using the Question sticker, add a guest, enable or disable comments, and much more.


Instagram Live is ideal for:


Because of their raw and interactive nature, Live videos can help your brand establish authenticity and credibility with your audience.


Live videos also receive better visibility. When you go Live, your video will appear at the front of the Stories bar, and your followers will be notified that you’re conducting a Live stream.


Instagram Video replaced IGTV (Instagram’s version of YouTube) in 2021. Videos are posted through your feed the same way you would post an image. They can include filters, captions, locations, and tags. Since they are essentially an in-feed post, Videos can receive likes and comments and be shared to Stories. Viewers can tap on the video to enter full screen, where they’ll have the option to keep scrolling to discover new video content from other creators.


Instagram Videos can be up to 60 minutes long, making this feature Instagram’s answer to long-form videos.


Because of its long-form nature, this format is great for: