The Instagram Story
Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms for increasing brand awareness. Based on global advertising audience and reach numbers, Instagram has over 1.44 billion users total as of July 2022 with at least 153.6 million users in the United States alone. From ads, reels, IG Live, IGTV to paid partnerships and influencer marketing, Instagram is not something a business should skip out on. It may not be correct to say that Instagram stories are more important than static posts. Rather, it depends on your goal and what you’re trying to achieve.
While actual posts are the backbone of what makes the Instagram platform, stories are an addition to the Instagram world as a companion to Snapchat stories and their charisma. Stories can be posted in the form of photos or videos and are up for 24 hours until the system automatically deletes them. You can also save stories as highlights on your profile to keep your favorite stories up.
What Instagram stories are good for
Instagram stories are extremely engaging. Not only can you now like Instagram stories, but there are multiple ways to interact with an Instagram story since story content tends to be very casual and informal, containing snippets of fun content that pertains to your brand. This can be done through face filters, polls, sales/discounts, announcements, links and other features that can’t be used in static posts. Users can then react, reply, and like stories as well. There is just as much, if not more, engagement on stories as there is on regular posts because they involve more real time engagement. Some other fun ways to interact with your followers are through behind the scenes videos, interviews, day-in-the-life of, etc.
Because Instagram stories are temporary, they don’t tend to be as refined and perfect as static posts because they are not usually the first feature of an account that people will look at. Most people will go straight to the static posts when discovering a brand. Put in another way, stories can be thought of as a way to interact more with followers that already know you and your brand pretty well. The temporary feature may seem like a downside to stories, but it can incentivize your followers to look for this content more knowing that it won’t be there forever.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that Instagram stories are often viewed more than static posts. A story may receive more exposure than a regular post as it is common for users to open the app and start watching stories first before scrolling through their actual feed. You may even have a better chance at your content being seen if you post regularly on your story since static Instagram posts are ordered by an algorithm, unlike stories, which are still shown in chronological order. That being said, static posts are still vital to good digital marketing regardless, but it’s important to utilize the story feature since it has certain marketing benefits that static posts can’t offer.
Because of the real-time engagement and casual feel, stories can help you become more authentic to your audience in a way you can’t really do in regular posts. Static posts tend to be very polished and sometimes even fake looking, so stories are a means to provide content that’s more genuine and original while keeping the more brand content in regular posts. Stories are also a more efficient method in the sense that it’s a steady flow of photos and videos that users can tap through rather than manually navigating the whole page.
Rule of thumb: Stories are meant for content that’s engaging, informal, timely, and authentic.
Instagram posts, the traditional feature that the platform was originally known for, are meant to remain on your profile indefinitely, unless archived or deleted. More so than stories, they should reflect your brand and its mission, overall image, characteristics, and quality. This is why posts should look more formal, professional and of higher quality than stories because they are the very first feature of your profile that people will see, so you want to make a good lasting impression. That being said, static posts are also what will draw people to hit that follow button. The only big drawback is that engagement levels are lower.
However, posts are still the most important part of any brand’s profile.
What static posts are good for
Memorable messages: because stories are temporary and don’t provide a whole lot of space for text, posts allow for much longer captions of over 2,000 characters. If you’re going to write lengthy captions though, make sure you have some sort of lead or attention grabber about the main point of the posts so that the reader will have the incentive to continue reading.
- Organized and polished content: Posting on your feed is the way to provide users with a visual impression and medium by organizing your posts in a certain fashion to make it look clean, aesthetic and more visually appealing. Make a user think, “This brand is taking their mission seriously.”
- Gain followers: Posts are what makes it known on the platform that you even exist to begin with. Using locations on your posts and trending hashtags in your caption will also make your posts more searchable on places like the discover page. Optimizing your posts with hashtags and locations is a great strategy to gain a larger audience by attracting followers that would have never known your brand existed otherwise. This obviously differs drastically from stories, which are usually only viewed by current followers.
Rule of thumb: Static posts are for content that’s polished, professional-looking, organized, and memorable.
Posts and stories are complementary to each other. Even though they are very distinct, they can work together to both attract new followers and engage current followers to maintain their interest in your brand. In the end, it all depends on what your goal is when you decide to put together a new piece of content for your brand’s Instagram page.