Instagram Stories, IGTV, Reels… when do you use each?

Now that Instagram has launched Reels (their unabashed attempt to take on the wildly popular TikTok), they’ve added yet another feature to figure out how to use.

There are now four video options on Instagram: IGTV, Instagram Live, Stories and Reels.

So when should you use each of them?

Here’s a quick guide.


This feature is designed to be a very social & creative feature, providing short bursts of information.

Use it to talk to your existing followers, and think of it as being a VIP backstage pass for them. With all the stickers & engagement features, you can really let your (or your brand’s) personality shine and reach out directly to your audience inviting them to actively take part.

Stories are meant to be casual & fun, and helps to nurture that all important relationship with your audience.


These are designed more for strangers to find you. You want to grab their attention with something educational or entertaining. It’s fast-paced, and works to lure them to your account so that you convert into a follower.

Use them for:

  • Quick behind-the-scenes;
  • Short tutorials or product demos;
  • Snappy educational pieces (demonstrating your knowledge & topic authority);
  • Announce a sale or new product launch.

Instagram Live

This is a feature on Stories, and allows you to stream live to your followers in real time. When you go live, a red ring highlights your profile picture as an alert that you are live-streaming.

Perfect uses for this feature include:

  • Product or service promotion, including teasers or launch announcements;
  • Demonstrations;
  • Tutorials;
  • Q & A sessions- people can post questions in real time, which you can answer;
  • Interviews – invite a guest and interview them live (you can invite someone onto your live and it’s then a screen share showing you both). Also an opportunity to open it up to questions from your followers in real time.


IGTV is ideal for long-form videos up to 10 minutes for most accounts. Larger and/or verified accounts can be up to one hour. Think of it as being similar to YouTube.

Uses can include:

  • More in depth tutorials;
  • Take a Tour footage (ex. a Barn tour);
  • Covering a social event or presentation;
  • Use it to save your Instagram Lives so that people who weren’t able to be there live can still view the video;
  • Anything that would require a longer video and/or that you want to be highly polished and edited.

It’s no secret that video is what the majority of people enjoy consuming the most, and Instagram recognizes this by favouring video content in their algorithm.

Make sure you are incorporating some (if not all) of the above in your Instagram strategy.

And above all, remember to stay genuine and authentic.

Until next time!