Do Instagram Reels or Instagram Stories Build More Business?

instagram reels or instagram stories for business

Reels have recently become a favored content type by the Instagram algorithm, providing enhanced visibility to people who are not your followers vs what feed posts would typically do.

But … is this good for you as a business?  Maybe yes, possibly no—and I will explain why both, below.

What are Reels and Stories?

Instagram Reels and Stories are two of the many features available on the popular social media platform.

Instagram Stories

Stories are short-form, photo or video slideshows that are visible to a user’s followers for 24 hours after they’re posted. These have been around longer, since 2016 – which is a lifetime for social media! 

Unlike posts on your profile, which typically remain visible indefinitely unless you delete them, Instagram Stories allows users to share several images which play like a slideshow before disappearing at the end of the day. This difference can be helpful – it can let you be more ‘formal and organized’ on your profile while random and creative in your Stories, for instance.  

Stories are prominently featured in a horizontal line directly above the user’s feed. If any of the users that are followed have posted a Story within the last 24 hours, their profile image will be marked with a colored circle. By tapping on the image, the user can view that particular account’s Story.

Of course, Stories disappear after 24 hours, but you are able to save them to your profile as a post so that they appear on your profile grid.

Instagram Reels

Reels are the newer addition to Instagram, although they are a couple years old now and most of us have had a chance to use them.  Reels are up to 90-second, vertical videos that users can create and share with their followers. Unlike Stories, they don’t disappear after 24 hours and stay on the platform until deleted, except in a couple of uses.

Reels can include music, effects, hashtags and other creative elements. These appear on your feed, stories, and on a special Reels tab on your profile.  You can share your reel to your Story, close friends, or in a direct message—and when you do, it will behave like a regular Story  it will not be shared to Reels in Explore, it will not appear on your profile, and it will disappear after 24 hours.

One drawback to Reels is that currently not everyone has a way to schedule them from the app, although this feature is being rolled out globally. When each account gets access to new features like this varies (if you have it, it will be under advanced settings in your Reel settings). Currently the only way you can pre-schedule Reels is through a few third-party paid apps.

Both features allow Instagram users to share their daily life and experiences with their followers in a fun and engaging way.

Why are Reels So Hot Right Now?

Reels are one of Instagram’s newest shiny objects. And because of this, they are being favored by the algorithm right now as well.

This means that if you’re using Reels right now, you have a better chance of those being shown to people, versus your regular posts.

BUT … this isn’t always good. I’ll explain more about that in the Problem section below.

How to Create an Instagram Reel or Story?

In case you haven’t jumped into either of these features yet, to get started with either a Reel or Story, you will click the + icon.  Then at the bottom of the screen, you can scroll through the options for Post, Story, Reel or Live.

To create a Reel, users can select from Instagram’s library of music or upload their own audio, choose from various effects and filters, record multiple clips, and add text and stickers to each clip.

For Stories, users can take a photo or video, add stickers and text, draw on their post, or add a background. You can add music, stickers, tag other profiles, and more.

Both Reels and Stories allow users to share their content quickly and easily with their followers.

What Are the Benefits of Creating an Instagram Reel or Story?

Creating an Instagram Reel or Story can be an effective way to engage with an audience and increase brand recognition. It can also be used to showcase products and services, as well as provide entertainment for followers.

Reels and Stories are incredibly versatile and offer a range of benefits to businesses, such as increased visibility, improved reach, and the ability to create a more personal connection with customers. With the right content, you can build relationships with your followers and create a loyal following on Instagram.

When you need to be sharing evergreen content, a Reel will usually be a better option since it doesn’t automatically disappear after 24 hours. Even then, you will want and need to share the same content in multiple ways many different times, because even if you shared a Reel – or a post – about your product or service last month, it may already be buried in the feed and forgotten by your followers.

How to Use an Instagram Reel or Story for Marketing Purposes

  1. Create Compelling Content: Use compelling visuals and engaging captions to draw in your audience.
  2. Leverage Hashtags & Mentions: Utilize relevant hashtags and mentions to increase your reach.
  3. Engage Your Audience: Ask your followers questions and encourage them to interact with you.
  4. Cross-Promote Your Reels & Stories: Promote your Instagram Reels or Stories across other social media platforms.
  5. Monitor Your Results: Track the performance of your Instagram Reels or Stories and make adjustments as needed.

Instagram Reels can work best by getting followers to your profile, and then you can use all of the other Instagram marketing strategies to help move your followers from your social media and into your funnel. That’s becoming more important every day.

Now… the Problem with Reels and Stories

*sigh*

Do you like being a hamster on a wheel?

Because you’re going to be a hamster on a wheel.

Hamster on a Wheel

It’s very similar to the problem I spoke about recently with TikTok. To do it well, and keep it going, it takes a lot of resources.

To keep getting the same results, you’re going to have to keep posting. And while you can creatively reuse some of your existing content, the bigger issue with these is the need to entertain.

And the need to constantly entertain.

The algorithm is currently favoring Reels.  But to keep in that favor, you need to KEEP posting more reels.

Have you watched the documentary The Social Dilemma on Netflix? It goes deeply into all of the ways that the platform works to keep you on the platform.

So with the algorithm now requiring you to constantly post new Reels and Stories, it’s one more way to keep you on the platform. Keeping you on the platform benefits Meta, not you. You have other, more important things to do in your business other than posting Reels multiple times per day.

Does it Make Sense for You to Entertain?

Reels do best when you are being entertaining. Entertainment does not always equal sales, although it can equal awareness, and awareness can get someone new to follow you, and eventually someone who is entertained by you enough may decide to buy. But you have to have a concrete plan to help make that happen, to make a real ROI happen.

This makes is really critical to walk a very thin line between never being salesy in a Reel – although you can now do Shoppable Reels if you’ve been approved for an Instagram commerce account, which is sales. Yet the reason people watch Reels is primarily for entertainment and they may be liking or commenting. Remember, like we always say, likes are simply a vanity number into you can find a way to turn those into sales.

And just like any other social media tactic you use, you need consistency as the main component of your Reels plan.  Instagram favors the newest Reels, which means if you want that chance to be seen by new people, you need to be creating Reels often.

Feeding that hamster wheel.

And the combination of needing to be overly entertaining plus consistently posting Reels and Stories can mean that it’s not the first strategy that some business owners can or should consider.

Sometimes you have to ask yourself do you want to be an entertainer, or do you want to be a ___________ (fill in your favorite business boss title)

I’m a ballroom dancer, so technically that would be entertainment, but it doesn’t really make sense to do related to my marketing. If you really want to see some of my dancing I’ll send you the YouTube channel link lol.

Shaking my ass and dancing the latest TikTok dance also probably won’t get you to want to hire me and my team for marketing your business. I guess unless your business is about people shaking their ass.

I’ve worked with TENS OF THOUSANDS of entrepreneurs over the years on their marketing, and out of all of those, there were only a handful who were actually in the entertainment industry where constantly entertaining in their marketing makes a lot of sense. Like the Dallas Cowboys. Football is entertainment. Being entertaining in Reels (and TikTok) and anywhere else makes sense for them.

Knowing Your Audience is Important

Then again, you definitely have to know your audience. A majority of my audience is entrepreneurs who are focused on growing to a million dollars a year or more, and they want someone who is serious, knowledgeable, and will tell it to them like it is about marketing – entertainment isn’t required. If they think entertainment is required from me, they probably aren’t ready for my level of services yet.

It would not have been normal for me to jump up in one of our corporate meetings and start dancing around the room, and doing that every week and every month. It’s just been ingrained in me that’s not the way I need to behave to get you results.

And if you’re someone who hates being on video, I know from experience in the entertainment industry that your nervousness will come across on video, and when you’re not being authentic your viewers can tell something is just off – even if they can’t put their finger on what that is – and that can turn them away from ever becoming a customer.

If you can’t think of a way to work these where you can make conversions (money) instead of just get likes and comments or shares, then you need to rethink your strategy before you move further.

But yes, it can be done, but you just need to understand both the pros and cons before committing to these as one of your main methods of marketing.

Figuring Out Your Instagram Strategy

Strategizing with someone who has been there, done that, a lot, with thousands of other entrepreneurs, can be helpful in focusing your strategy, which is why we offer our Fractional CMO Brainstorming Session in 1-hour increments – for those times when you need to be able to pick the brain of an experienced marketer to help you figure out what to do, and ask questions.

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