Instagram is becoming an overwhelming platform because it now allows you two different ways to tell stories and promote your brand: the Instagram Feed and the Instagram Stories. Some say that the feed is dead, that the future is all about stories, that you should post only videos in your feed, and more interactive content in your stories. Or is it the other way around?
It can certainly become overwhelming keeping up with the trends. But fortunately for you after this article you will have a better understanding of how these two work, and you will also know how to capitalize on each one’s strengths.
- What Is The Instagram Feed?
- What Are Instagram Stories?
- Which One Is Better?
- Instagram Feed and Instagram Stories are Complementary
What Is The Instagram Feed?
The Instagram feed is what most people think about when they think of Instagram. It’s been there since the beginning of the platform.
This is where you see the pictures, videos, carousels of the people, and hashtags that you follow. That’s where you get recommended content through the discover page.
A post on the feed is a visual piece of content, with a caption, sometimes hashtags, and a comment section. The interactions are public (the number of likes, the comments, the hashtags, and so on). The Instagram feed is probably the most social side of Instagram as you can have a conversation with users that you don’t know through the comments, you can find content that you like based on what you usually like and so on.
The Instagram feed is also a great way to understand what an account is about. For example, you may discover someone’s account through an ad, a post on discover, or a story. However, by visiting their profile, you discover their Instagram feed: all the content that they have previously posted. And within seconds, you can decide whether or not you are into their account.
Tip: In The feed you’ll also find the account’s bio section who is located at the top part of the feed and get to know better whats the account is all about. You can read our guide on how to optimize your bio section or how to add multiple links in your bio
This will help you determine if you want to follow the account.
A recent update made it possible to follow a hashtag directly instead of just accounts, making the content in the Instagram feed more discoverable than before.
The discover page is also getting more and more personalized. The Instagram algorithm sorts out the content and gives you the content that you might be most interested in. It analyses all the posts that you usually like and interact with. It uses complex AI algorithms to understand what content you typically enjoy, to deliver content that you are most likely to interact with. So the more Instagram gets better at this and the more you interact with content, the more personalized and relevant that discover section gets!
These two recent updates and additions show that Instagram still cares about the Instagram feed and that they’re trying to make content more and more personalized and discoverable.
In short: the Instagram feed is a bunch of visual content, detailed with captions that you can publicly interact with, and that is supposed to stay forever.
If you want to get ideas on how to kickstart your Instagram marketing thats the next guide you should read
What Is an Instagram Story?
Instagram stories are vertical pieces of content (images, photos, videos, designs, and anything else you can think of) that only last 24 hours. After these 24 hours, they’re gone, and they’re not accessible anymore to your audience. Check out our full Instagram story creative guide.
Instagram stories are highly customizable: you can add filters, text, stickers, locations, polls, and so on… And all within the Instagram app, making it super easy to create content on the go. We put a list of more than 20 types of video and content you should post on your instagram stories, its a must read guide if you want to kickstart your Instagram marketing.
While stories used to be published by brands mostly to share behind the scenes and informal videos of their products or their day to day lives, they quickly became a significant storytelling medium. Their quality went up as they quickly went from phone footage to actual camera footage, repurposed for a vertical screen.
Interactions with stories are private. Users can reply to stories via direct messages, but there is no comment section like on the feed. You also don’t have any indicator on how a story is performing, only the account posting the content can see how many times it has been seen and engaged with.
While Instagram feed content is discoverable in multiple ways through the discover section of Instagram, hashtags, and locations, Instagram stories are a lot harder to discover. Yes, you can put hashtags and a location in your story, but their traffic power is a lot less impactful than on a piece of content in the Instagram feed.
Instagram stories are straightforward to consume for users. All they have to do is click at a random story at the top of their homepage, and Instagram will autoplay the stories of all the accounts that this user is following. It’s because it is that easy to watch Instagram stories content that the feature is so popular.
You found a story that you want to save for later view, read how to save instagram videos and stories
With all of the built-in tools that there are, there are loads of interactions that become possible. For example, you can ask your audience questions, you can submit polls, you can do multiple choice questions, ask for input, and anyone can direct message you. See an example poll here.
One of the most appreciated features for brands, though, is the swipe up feature that you get after reaching 10,000 followers. That feature allows you to add an external link to your Instagram story that any user can access by swiping up on your content.
You might also want to read this guide on how to use Instagram for businesses – 2020 Guide and if you are thinking on creating Instagram ads, here is a great place to be updated on all Instagram ad sizes
In short: Instagram stories are vertical pieces of content that stay online for 24 hours. Users can interact with them privately and very easily. Their discoverability and viral capabilities aren’t as good as on the content on the Instagram feed, but they’re still popular among your audience as they’re easy to consume.
Which One Is Better?
Instagram feed content is what gets you discovered
On the Instagram feed, you post a piece of content. You add a location and a bunch of relevant hashtags. You can go up to 30 hashtags per post. That means that a single post can be discovered and seen on 31 (30 hashtags and 1 location) pages! That’s just a lot of doors leading to your content and your account.
All the content that you posted on your account helps you define what your brand is. When someone visits your account for the first time, that’s how they discover what your brand is about. Of course, bios, name, profile pictures matter, but people will decide mostly on how your feed looks and whether or not they want to see similar content on their homepage regularly.
Instagram stories are great to engage with your existing followers
As said above, you can add up to 3 hashtags and a location to your Instagram stories. But not only that’s only 4 pages where your content can be seen. Users don’t usually browse for stories on hashtags and locations. That’s just way less of a common way to lookup for things on Instagram. Therefore, Instagram stories are a lot harder to discover.
Stories are a great way to entertain people that already follow you. You get to tell more of your stories to people that are already familiar with your brand. There is also a lot less pressure about posting stories as they go away after 24 hours, and they don’t display any vanity metrics.
Instagram stories are such a low-pressure tool and an excellent experimenting platform. If you’re not sure about a new piece of content, maybe you can put it in your story and see how your audience reacts to it. If your audience seems thrilled, it is perhaps worth posting in your Instagram feed, where it will stay, and where it will be more likely to be discovered.
The Instagram Feed and Instagram Stories are Complementary
Choosing between one of the two is a shame as these two media are not meant to do the same thing.
If you wonder what to post on each, try putting your available content in 2 categories:
- First category should be filled with visual content that highly defines who you are as a brand, it should be highly relevant, good looking, and a good conversation starter. This category would be the content for your Instagram feed.
- Second category should be all the content that tells a story. It should be a bonus for your brand. It shows who you are more casually, or it is quite different from what you usually post, or it is to understand what your audience likes and prefer. In this case, your content should go in your story.
While you can post multiple formats and dimensions in your Instagram feed, Instagram stories are all about vertical content (read our full guide for instagram ads sizes ). It is possible to display a landscape picture on there, but it will just appear as tiny, with lots of space at the top and bottom of it, which doesn’t look ideal or high quality (see more examples on how to better use lanscape images for Instagram stories). Keep in mind that people will not rotate their phone into landscape mode unless you ask them to if you were to publish this sort of content. Therefore, your Instagram stories should be full of vertical, high-quality content if you want them to perform well.
And as a last bonus piece of advice: don’t bother duplicating content on both. People will see both your story and your feed. Your Instagram stories shouldn’t be just a bunch of reposts from your feed. And your feed shouldn’t be a permanent version of your stories.
Looking for more ways to get more engagement on your Instagram account ? You should read our article that covers the best apps that will help you boost your Instagram following and engagement
Ready to create your first Instagram video? check out our Instagram Video Maker