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Facebook Stories vs. Instagram Stories: What's Best for Your Business?

Saige Driver
Saige Driver

Videos thrive on social media. It's no surprise social media platforms are constantly evolving video features, including Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories. These features are quickly becoming popular marketing tools that small businesses shouldn't ignore. Both platforms host photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours, appear in circles at the top of your timeline and allow you to post engaging content. However, there are a few differences between the two sites.

We talked to social media experts about the differences between the Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories and how businesses can decide which one to use.

Benefits of Facebook Stories

While Facebook Stories aren't as popular as Instagram Stories, there are some benefits to using it to promote your business. Hannah Lacamp, social media specialist at PAVLOV Advertising, said one major benefit is bypassing Facebook's new algorithm, which is making it hard for small businesses to be seen on timelines. [Interested in social media management tools for business? Check out our top picks.]

Also, not very many people are using Facebook Stories, which may seem like a disadvantage. But Carolyn Mann, marketing strategist at Larch & Lake Consulting Inc., thinks it's a plus for small businesses.

"The biggest benefit of Facebook Stories right now is that hardly anyone is using them," she said. "This gives your content a better chance of being seen. You really have first-adopted advantage right now."

One difference between the two platforms is that you can post photos and videos to a Group Story on Facebook.

"Not yet available on Instagram is the collaborative 'Group Stories' feature," said Lacamp. "Facebook now allows users to contribute to a story attached to a specific event page. This is a great way for businesses to engage with their followers through user-generated content."

Along with the ability to post to an event page, the Group Stories feature lets users post content to the story of a Facebook Group, which could be an interactive feature if your business operates a Facebook Group.

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Benefits of Instagram Stories

Instagram doesn't have an audience as large and diverse as Facebook; however, its users engage with stories much more, said Lacamp.

"Users have adopted Instagram Stories with enthusiasm, and businesses of all sizes have followed suit," said Nick Verlaney, social media strategist at DEG Digital. "The key for businesses to use stories effectively is to appear authentic with content."

There are many reasons people may have adapted to Instagram Stories faster than Facebook. For one, Instagram has a user-friendly interface and is more simplistic than Facebook. Instagram also has different features for Stories, including the option to post GIFs. Accounts with more than 10,000 followers can add links to their stories. Instagram also has Story Highlights.

"Unlike Facebook, Instagram has implemented the Story Highlights feature, giving users the opportunity to make their Stories permanent, rather than disappearing after 24 hours," said Lacamp.

Story highlights allow you to group related stories today into a highlight reel, which is featured on your profile under your bio.

Deciding between Facebook and Instagram Stories

You can decide which platform to use by identifying your target audience and finding out which platform they use. "Small businesses should pick platforms through which they can reach their target audience effectively," said Verlaney.

"It's all about understanding your audience and meeting them in their moment. Stories [should be] built to connect with fans, so don't overthink it," he said.

In general, Instagram is better for younger generations while Facebook is better for the older crowd. According to Statista, more than 60 percent of Instagram users are between 18 and 34. While the most popular age group on Facebook is between 25 and 44.

Don't post the same content on Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories

While these features are similar in many ways, small businesses shouldn't post the same content to both platforms for a couple reasons.

"One (reason) is that Instagram Stories are an interactive part of the Instagram platform," said Verlaney. "Users expect to see updates and fresh content every day. Meanwhile, Facebook Stories are relatively new to the platform and don't inspire the same action."

Some of your audience is following you on both platforms, and they don't want to see the same content twice. It's also important to remember the demographic of both sites and cater your content to them.

"You should not post the same content on both platforms, because different platforms serve different audiences," said Philtrina Farquharson, account executive at KMR Communications. "You should cater your content based on the features and amenities of the platform."   

Going live

Both Instagram and Facebook have a live video function. However, there are key differences between the two platforms. The most obvious difference is where the videos live. Facebook Live appears in the newsfeed, and Instagram Live appears within the stories features, Lacamp points out.

"Both platforms send users a notification when a page they follow goes live," she said. "Facebook allows companies to share their live video as a post that lives on their profile, while Instagram Live footage can only be saved as a story."

Also, Facebook Live videos can stay on the platform forever, while Instagram Live videos are only available for 24 hours but are given priority in the stories section.

"This can help expand your reach and capture more people in your post, because your story will appear right at the beginning," said Farquharson.

To learn more about how to market your business with livestream videos, check out this Business News Daily guide.

Image Credit: tanuha2001/Shutterstock
Saige Driver
Saige Driver
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Saige received her bachelor's degree in journalism and telecommunications from Ball State University. She is the social media coordinator for Aptera and also writes for business.com and Business News Daily. She loves reading and her beagle mix, Millie.