One of the most impactful mediums for engaging with your audience is Instagram – and a compelling way to use that platform is to leverage the power of Instagram Stories.

In this two-part article series, we’re going to talk about the topic of Instagram Stories and show you exactly how to use them effectively as a school marketer.

This week, we’ll cover the following:

  • How widely used Instagram is among your target audience
  • Why your school should be using Instagram Stories as part of their marketing strategy
  • Two examples of schools that are using IG Stories well

Next week, we’ll recap on all the lessons learned and show you exactly what you need to do to start getting the most out of this exciting medium.

If you’re interested in learning more about getting the most out of Instagram Stories, then read on!

Instagram Usage Stats – Just How Widespread Is It?

It’s no secret that Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the world right now… but just how popular is it?

According to Adespresso, the website has:

  • ~1 billion monthly users
  • 500 million daily active users
  • 4.2 billion likes per day

To make things more specific (as it’s unlikely you’re advertising to a global audience), we can look at UK usage statistics. According to Rose McGory:

  • 41% of UK adults aged 18+ use Instagram
  • The website has 23 million active users in the UK
  • 69% of male and 91% of female internet users under the age of 24 have an account on the site
  • 30% of male and 47% of female internet users aged 35-54 use the platform regularly.

As a school marketer, your attention is usually divided between your prospective pupils and their parents. As you can see from the stats above, your potential students are certainly using the platform, and you also have the opportunity to reach their parents too.

Instagram offers several advantages over other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

  • According to Adespresso, Instagram images get 23% more engagement than their Facebook counterparts.
  • Additionally, brands (i.e. businesses and schools) can see up to 4% of their followers regularly engaged on Instagram. This is much higher than the 0.1% organic engagement these same businesses typically report on Facebook and Twitter… so it’s not a stretch to say you could see similar results for your school.

These higher engagement levels could be attributed to a number of different factors, but without making things too complicated, we believe the primary reason is something we’re all familiar with:

Visual content is more engaging than text-based content (Source: Moto CMS).

The case for schools using Instagram is clear. The website offers prime access to your target audience and better engagement levels than many alternatives. But why should you use Instagram Stories over traditional posting methods?

Why Schools Should Use Instagram Stories

In our experience, we’ve seen that most schools don’t get the most out of Instagram. Some of the schools we’ve come across don’t even have an account on the site!

And even those that do often relegate the site to the strategic backburner, throwing up an occasional picture whenever they think of it.

The reality is that few schools are making effective use of the platform. With that in mind, you can easily stand out from your competitors once you start following a few basic strategies (which we’ll go through in next week’s piece).

We’ve already covered the benefits of using Instagram – but why should you use Instagram Stories specifically?

According to SproutSocial, Instagram’s Stories feature has 500 million monthly users. And although we don’t have any hard data on the matter, we can assume that these users are roughly equally distributed around the world. As 500 million is roughly half of Instagram’s active monthly users, we can then say that roughly half of your audience use it too.

Apart from that, there are three main reasons why Stories are an effective medium for engaging with your audience.

  • Attention: When someone is watching your Story, it takes up their entire screen. There’s little scope for something else to distract them during their session, which helps to ensure they engage fully with what they’re watching.
  • Scarcity and FOMO: Stories (unless added permanently to your profile) disappear 24 hours after being posted. This also means that they’re usually of current events – stuff that’s happening right now. People may fear missing out on what’s going on, so will click in to avoid this.
  • Authenticity: Globally recognised brands such as BBC, Nike and National Geographic all leverage the power of Stories to engage authentically with their audience. This content doesn’t have to be as polished or refined as the regular posts you see: they can be more real, which is preferable for many viewers.

Using Stories is a worthwhile practice in promoting your school because it will allow you to enjoy the same benefits businesses experience too. Giving parents, prospective pupils and staff an insight into what things are really like is key – and one great way to do this is by showcasing your school using Instagram Stories.

Of course, one of the fastest ways to get a winning strategy in place is to emulate schools that are performing well in this area. We’ll look at this particular topic in more detail next week, but for now, we’d like to quickly mention two schools that are worth studying.

Look at the Instagram accounts of these two schools

The Maynard School

Exeter School

In particular, look at the variety of permanent Stories (“Highlights” – more on this next week) they’ve added to their profile. Both of these schools are leveraging the power of Instagram Stories to good effect, offering visitors to their profile the chance to engage with them in an authentic way.

When used in conjunction with visually compelling posts and a thorough understanding of your target audience, Stories can be the key to achieving great results with your Instagram use.

That’s all for Part 1 of this series. Now that we’re clear on why you should consider using Instagram Stories for your school, we’ll move on to our second topic next week: exactly how to use this information.

We’ll take a more in-depth look at some schools that are making great use of this feature, give you some quick tips and tricks you can put into practice immediately, then summarise everything we’ve covered in this series. Keep an eye out for our next article!