Have you found yourself ready to utilize Facebook and Instagram for business growth only to shut both of the apps immediately once you pull up the Stories feature? While both Stories features may feel intimidating, learning the ins and outs can help you approach a fully fleshed out content strategy with more confidence.
Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories have become a social media marketing staple for many marketers, small businesses and larger platforms alike. Though the two platforms feature disappearing content, they’ve made a lasting impact on the way small businesses are using social media to grow brand awareness and a solid buyer’s funnel for future purchases. But don’t write them off as the same feature- Instagram and Facebook Stories, while sharing many similarities, hold vastly different potentials for content creation and audience engagement that need to be taken into consideration when building out a strategy for each platform.
If you’re looking to incorporate one or both of these features into your business’s social media strategy, but aren’t sure which is the best fit for you, this blog is for you. We’ll break down the key similarities differences between each feature- from audience reach to customization features and engagement features.
Knowing what each platform can offer your business is the first step to figuring out which Story feature makes the most sense for your brand. Don’t let fear or confusion lead you to avoid developing a winning Story content strategy- it’s time to learn how to reach potential customers and use your resources most effectively with either (or both) Facebook and Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories Vs. Facebook Stories: Where they Align
On the surface, it may seem like Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories have the same features with the same amount of audience reach and benefit. After all, they essentially serve the same feature- deliver short lived content to audiences in a more engaging way than a post on users’ timelines.
There are a few ways that Facebook and Instagram Stories align. After all, Facebook owns Instagram- the interfaces are almost identical and they both answer to Facebook’s team for service, software, and updates. In terms of creating content natively on each platform, the process is also very similar. You can take photos in-app, overlay text, draw and highlight the image, and tag links and shoppable products for purchase.
The Stories also, much like Snapchat, delete after 24 hours of being live. This means the content can only be viewed for a short period of time and is delivered to audiences in a different channel than a typical post. While this obviously allows for a shorter window to reach audiences than a post would, it also pushes your content to the front of audiences view. Both Facebook and Instagram Stories work based on how new the content is rather than the posting algorithm which shows users content based on their engagement habits (what posts they like, what brands they engage with, etc.) This gives you a better chance to put your deals, discounts and offers in front of potential buyers no matter their engagement habits or preferred brands. If they follow you, they’ll see your Stories as soon as you make them live.
For a while, Instagram Stories were the only option that offered customized links to swipe up on webpages and products. Recently, Facebook Stories received a facelift that allows them to also have customized swipe up links and CTA buttons, giving both platforms a fair chance at converting engagement to site traffic and conversions. The more opportunities to convert your consumers, the better!
But don’t be fooled- the many similarities of these platforms do not discount or outweigh their differences. In fact, you can utilize both Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories with the same content strategy and receive entirely different results in terms of who you reach and how well your content performs. Let’s take a look at some of the differences so we can better understand which platform would work best for your brand or business.
Facebook Stories Vs. Instagram Stories: Where They Differ
There is a time, a place, and an audience for both Facebook and Instagram Stories. Yes, the two do have very similar platforms and features, but there’s a reason why there are so many different marketing strategies planned out for each platform by many businesses and brands.
It’s no secret that Instagram attracts a much younger audience to the platform than other social media platforms. 60% of the platform users are under 30 years old- around 600 million of the already massive 1 billion users that make up Instagram as a whole. A third of the remaining 400 million are in the 30-49 age bracket, which is still much younger than the audience available to reach on Facebook.
Instagram Stories also give you the option to archive and curate content into different buckets that are presented as Story Highlights on your brand’s profile. This is a great way to release new products, announce exciting events, and categorize products for your audience. This is a great opportunity to lengthen the shelf life of your Story content and create more space for product promotion on your Instagram profile.
While link sharing has been integrated into Facebook Stories, Facebook does not currently have the option to show content and links as branded content like Instagram does. This means that brands you collaborate with and influencers will not be able to post correctly tagged branded content to Facebook like they will on Instagram. Marking content as branded is important because it improves authenticity and transparency with audiences that may influence purchasing decisions.
Similarly, Hashtags in Instagram Stories do not cross over into Facebook Stories. Instagram relies heavily on hashtags for engagement, community building, and outreach to potential new followers. While you can use hashtags on Facebook’s platform, they do not necessarily build audiences as effectively or quickly as Instagram does. If your business has content that fits into a lot of different popular hashtags on Instagram, the Stories feature can help you grow and reach more users.
Facebook Stories cater to an older demographic than Instagram Stories. Seniors are currently the fastest growing age demographic on Facebook. In addition, 74% of Facebook users reportedly have a higher income than users on other social platforms. This means that there is an entirely different bracket of consumers to engage with on social media- and if they fit your buyer personas, you’ll want to reach them here.
Facebook also has the most traffic of any social media platforms. It hosts over 2.41 billion monthly active users, is the world’s third most visited website, and the fifth most downloaded free app in the App Store. You have a much higher chance of finding users within your buyer demographic on Facebook than any other social media platform.
Facebook Stories have been slow to come and to update, meaning they have not had as much time as Instagram Stories have to test features and update accordingly. However, this means they are also newer and less brands may be using them compared to Instagram. This gives you a chance to utilize Stories on Facebook before competitors and reach a wider audience by being one of the few on their Stories feed.
If your business hosts and announces many events, Facebook Stories are perfect to link your Event Page to audiences you’d like to attend. In fact, whenever you create an Event, Facebook automatically creates a Story for those that have RSVP’d with “Going” or “Interested”. This keeps your event as top of mind for those attending, and you have a chance to get more eyes on your event to increase attendance. This means that Facebook Stories also integrate seamlessly with Facebook Groups and Pages, making the platform more user friendly for brands with different methods of communicating with Facebook users.
Breaking both of these platforms down further can really help you sort through the minutiae and determine the pros and cons of each for your specific brand. To help you make a final decision about your Story strategy, let’s take what we just broke down and apply it to each platform to give you a better understanding of when to use Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories- and if you even should use both.
Which Platform to Use and Why
It’s apparent that both Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories have their fair share of pros and cons and a reason to use either. Making the decision one way or another depends entirely on your business, your branding, and your marketing goals. This is something you have to evaluate before creating your Story strategy either way, but we’d like to give you a broad level review of each platform to help your decision making process go along smoothly.
When to Use Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories should be used for brands with a younger audience that rely heavily on aesthetically pleasing visuals. Instagram is the most visual-heavy social media platform, so those looking to build out a largely visual Story template with room for engaging buttons (hashtags, locations, mentions) is best for Instagram Stories. If you have a stronger hashtag strategy, you’ll want to incorporate this into an Instagram Story strategy to have your posts appear to more users within the Hashtag’s shared Story. This works as well for locations you tag.
Instagram should also be used for brands looking to curate this content into categories that can be viewed for longer than 24 hours. Content curation is only available through Instagram, so if you’re planning to work hard on a multi-post Story that can work best as curated content for users to shop from and swipe up on, you’ll need to use Instagram’s platform.
If your Instagram Shop performs better than your Facebook shop, it could be more valuable to focus on Instagram Stories where you can tag shoppable products for users. This works vice versa for Facebook as well- the more opportunity you have to increase conversions, the more you should focus on that platform for ensured results.
When to Use Facebook Stories
Facebook Stories should be used for both older demographics and demographics that may be too niche for Instagram. Since Facebook has the most users of any social platform, you have a much better chance of reaching more specific and niche audiences than you do anywhere else. This works to your advantage for Facebook Story planning and engagement.
If your brand uses Facebook Groups, Events, and your Facebook Page on a consistent basis, it makes the most sense to streamline your marketing efforts and invest time on a Facebook Story strategy. This will help you keep everything integrated seamlessly and give your Facebook audiences a good user experience when hopping from Facebook feature to feature.
Doing competitor research can help you figure out if Facebook Stories are best for you as well. If you notice your competitors are not properly utilizing the Stories feature on Facebook, it could be a prime opportunity for you to corner the market early and win major points with audiences that currently shop with your competitors. Being the first to hop on a lucrative marketing trend always has potential to pay off and bring in new potential customers.
Whichever platform you choose for your business and brand, staying true to your content strategy, brand tone, and authenticity can help you navigate Story content the most effective way. Your followers are looking for content they can relate to and engage with- so make sure your strategy focuses on transparency and mission before diving into Stories altogether.
Stories allow you to show off what’s unique, innovative, and exciting about your brand. Doing your research and planning will ensure you don’t miss your opportunity to reach your audience on the platform best for your business.