Updated: Dec 13, 2021
In 2022, it seems like there are going to be more social media marketing techniques than ever before, but the truth is that you only need a few to reach your audience. We'll give you the information you need to compare Instagram posts vs Video posts vs Stories vs Reels - providing information about the benefits and drawbacks of each type of content so you can figure out what's best for your business and your different types of messages.
Advantages of Instagram image posts
Instagram posts land on your grid, with captions, hashtags, mentions, and locations. There are three main advantages to Instagram image posts:
With alt-tags, you can improve visibility of your content for differently abled viewers, and you can also use this space to add in keywords which will be picked up in search.
Instagram Post Carousel
Images can form a compelling, storytelling visual using a left-swipe to take the viewer through the carousel.
The Instagram Grid
The images you have in your posts form the basis for your Instagram grid, and as a grid collage, create a mosaic of brand visuals to project and promote your brand aesthetic.
Disadvantages of Instagram image posts
The main disadvantage of an Instagram image post is the static nature, with the inability to add video or music.
Advantages of Instagram videos
Video itself will stop scrolling, however, after the recent Instagram update that consolidated video with IGTV, you may find that you lose viewers to the undeniable rabbit hole that is Instagram reels.
The Instagram video to reels trap
The reason is because clicking on a video, any video, immediately transports the user from the Home / For You page and launches the Reels option, taking that viewer away from their home and the accounts they genuinely follow and into the Instagram Reels algorithm that feeds a stream of video content (to which the user may or may not subscribe).
Another drawback of using video posts is the inability to add alt-tags to the post.
One of the advantages to using video posts over reels is the ability to boost the posts and use them for advertising. Although boosting is a clumsy way of targeting your ideal customers, as it loses the granularity and control of Facebook Ads, in terms of brand awareness, it's a quick and easy way to get your video seen widely.
TREAT TIP: If you have video content that is not getting viewed widely in Reels, repurpose the content as a video post and use in your Facebook Ads or through boosting to get a wider reach.
Advantages of Instagram stories
Lasting only 24 hours in the story feed, stories are a dynamic way to instantly send messages to followers that are less formal and more immediate and "of the moment". They are highlighted when they are live, and if enabled, your followers will receive notifications when a story is posted.
Using Instagram story stickers
Stories allows for limited hashtags, mentions, music and location stickers, however, with a story, every sticker element is seen, which can lead your story to looking cluttered.
Post frequently to rank highly in the story feed
The more you post and encourage engagement with your stories, the more likely your stories will appear first in a users stories feed. In app, this is identified as the left-most story notification, coming up first when stories are played by your customers.
Disadvantages of Instagram stories
A big disadvantage to stories is the lack of captions, but there is an option to talk over the audio, and even translate your audio to text that appears on the screen.
Stories really can't be optimised for disabled access as there is no alt-tag capability for screen readers. This also means you can't use alt-tags for keywords to improve your search visibility.
Carousels aren't needed
Stories themselves sort of ARE carousels, with stories images flowing from one to the next.
Visibility is limited
With limited use of hashtags and mentions, there is no real opportunity to have your stories seen wider than your following without paid ads or sponsored posts. Instagram has recognised this and launched the new "Add Yours" sticker to share story content more widely (see below).
Advantages of Instagram Stories
Instagram Story Highlights
The advantage of a well-designed Instagram Story is you can save them permanently as a highlight, curating collections of highlights on your profile above your grid and below the bio.
New Instagram Story Stickers
Add Link sticker
The Add Link sticker launched late in 2021 and is a huge breakthrough for accounts with less than 10,000 followers. The feature allows small businesses, new accounts, and individual creators to add hyperlinks to their websites, enabling viewers to directly access their blogs and e-commerce platforms.
Add Yours sticker
This Instagram sticker is a unique, sort of vertical sticker which invites other users to add their content to create a unique collection of contributors, all linked to the original post and ultimately becoming part of a larger chain of story activity. It's a great way to reach a wider audience through Instagram stories, and is one of the only ways to significantly grow your following of Instagram users through stories alone.
At Treat, we recommend a reels-first strategy to grow a following of devoted Instagram users. Reels are now the default video platform on Instagram, and all videos that are clicked through, take users directly into Reels. This means your social media content will have much greater visibility, and to a wider audience that Instagram feeds to users through their algorithm, with no boosting or paid advertising required.
Instagram Reels is the lowest-cost method to grow your Instagram followers.
Advantages of Instagram Reels
Apart from the visually captivating medium of video, Reels gives you all of the advantages of a standard post. Captions, hashtags, mentions, music and location tagging are all available and part of the content, not laid across the content as in Instagram Stories.
Appearance on your grid
Toggle the option to have the Reel appear in your grid, and select and crop the most impactful moment of the reel, which also works within your Instagram grid brand aesthetic.
Repurposing for TikTok
The orientation and ratio of video content for Reels is very similar to TikTok, and since TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform in the world, creating reels provides you with an easy way to launch your TikTok account. TikTok for Business just launched late in 2021, so why not repurpose your content to reach a new audience for (essentially) free?
Disadvantages of Reels
Alt-tags are missing (again)
You won't be able to make your reels optimised for screen readers, or use keywords to improve search.
Boosting is unavailable
Boosting reels are not an option, so you might want to re-purpose and resize the reel as a video post and boost through the blue button, or through Facebook ads.
Instagram Live is for events and we’ve had good visibility for live music posts from Below Decks, that are later shared in the timeline as video posts with captions, location posting and mention tagging.
Guides are curated collections of post content that are overlaid with a story with a particular topic. We’ve used these with success for Harbour Studios, following their narrative strapline to Work, Live and Play in Torbay – and how co-working at Harbour Studios contributes to a healthy work-life balance. Once you start a Guide, say it’s for a product range, you can add posts to it and otherwise edit the guide as a visual catalogue.
Guides can also be shared to Stories for a little boost to followers with a hashtag, mention or Add Link sticker.
Why is social media marketing important?
Social media marketing is important because it allows businesses to connect with their customers and followers on a personal level. Through social media marketing, businesses can share updates about their products and services, as well as engage with their customers to get feedback about what they want from the business. Additionally, social media marketing can help businesses reach new potential customers who may not have heard of them before.
There’s no “one right way” to do Instagram
Each business is different, and that means each business will require a different approach – to grow, to sell, to improve brand awareness – and Instagram is a flexible social media platform that can help you achieve your marketing goals. There are ways around nearly every disadvantage listed here, provided you are working with a creative, professional digital marketing agency that knows their stuff.
Treat can help you with your social media marketing
Treat is your digital marketing agency in Torbay, and we specialise in social media marketing. We are the only Torbay marketing agency with a presence on every popular social media platform: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, Reddit, WhatsApp and with clients on LinkedIn and Pinterest. Simply put, we know how to use the kit, and will create a purpose-built social media campaign that delivers results!
Get your business growing today with Treat - contact us on 07513472371 or email email@example.com