Story, Reel, or Post? The Social Media Dilemma

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They just have to make everything so complicated, don’t they? Social media is one of those things that we (business owners) overthink and then post paralysis sets in.  We get it, if you’re not completely submerged in the platforms, you probably feel behind. 

A question that we frequently get asked by our clients is, “what content belongs on stories, in posts or reels?” So let’s break it down for you. 


Every post should have a purpose, especially for a business account. Since posts generally only perform up to 48 hours, content that highlights what you do on a daily basis and non-time-sensitive content should live here. Some examples are customer highlights, product launches, video content and inspirational posts. 

It’s way harder for small accounts to be discovered through posts. Utilizing hashtags and tagging personal or business accounts that may be featured in your post can help you reach a larger audience.

One cool thing about posts is that you can curate your page with them. We talk a lot about “grid goals” here at Ampersand. That’s because your Instagram grid looks far more visually appealing if you have an overall aesthetic vibe that is consistent with your brand. Remember, you only have like 7 seconds to grab someone on a first impression when they land on your account. So your top 9 posts should always tell a balanced story in a visually appealing way. Need some inspiration? Check these out!





Instagram stories are only available for 24 hours so choose your content wisely. Think behind the scenes, flash sales, product teasers, post reshares, polls, questions and tagged content. You know, things you don’t mind falling off your followers’ radar after a day.

Stories are shown to your warm audience (followers) and people who engage with you regularly. While you can use hashtags in stories, they’re not usually very effective. If you’re looking to get more eyes on your stories, tag the people or businesses so they can share it with their followers. 

Don’t want your stories to go away forever? Try adding them to a highlight. These are optional categories where your stories can live in their own world under your bio!


Reels are Instagram’s latest creative feature. These 15-60 second multi-clip videos with audio, effects and creative features are helping businesses share a complete story/thought presented in a succinct way.

Reels are a fun, entertaining, and highly addictive new form of media. They’re also helping connect customers with businesses they normally wouldn’t have found on social media. That’s because, in July of 2021, Instagram announced that they were no longer a photo-sharing app. Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be posting photos. What they meant by that is that the algorithm will be favorite video content, making it easier for people who aren’t following you to find your profile. 

This change in the algorithm means that if businesses want to grow their following and get in front of new potential customers, they should be creating video content. (But don’t forget to also nurture those who are already in your community by serving them with still images and graphics as well.)

Another content vehicle on Instagram is IGTV. If you have pre-made videos that are over 60 seconds and you REALLY want to share it with your followers, IGTV is certainly a place you can drop that content. You can go live on Instagram and then share that video to your IGTV channel when you are done. This is a great way to keep a vault of long form video that is easy for your followers to find when they need a deeper dive into something you teach on.

Look, we know it can get kind of confusing. Especially with Instagram throwing their non-photo-sharing app bomb on us. That’s why it’s more important than EVER to be making video content for your feed. If you’re completely stumped on how to make reels, then check out our Instagram Reels Workshop. We go through all the things you need to know about successfully making reels! 

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