Student Engagement through Instagram Stories

College success advising used to take place over in-person meetings and by phone. But between video chats and texting, more informal ways of communicating have become mainstays of advising in recent years. These channels are often less intimidating for students, not to mention more convenient, making it easier than ever for students to share feedback or reach out when they need support.  

Social media takes that to the next level. You might think of Instagram as a place for beauty tutorials, fitness tips, and travel photos. But before you dismiss the channel altogether, consider that according to Pew Research, 76% of 18- to 24-year-olds say they use Instagram, many of them every day or multiple times per day. The work of a college success advisor is all about meeting students where they are, making Instagram an obvious choice. 

Even better, Instagram isn’t just a place for broadcasting content. Direct Messenger and the Q&A feature in Instagram Stories also allow for two-way communication, making Instagram a great platform for fostering engagement, doing a pulse check on timely topics, or sourcing student questions – all of which will help guide your advising approach. The Dell Scholars program, a scholarship and college completion program of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, uses the Q&A feature to receive practically real-time feedback from students on topics like verification, financial aid displacement, and college life.  

Here is an example of a recent campaign ahead of the fall semester. 

Example of an advising team asking for student feedback in Instagram Stories.
Example of student responses to an advising team in Instagram Stories.

Beyond Q&As, the Dell Scholars program leverages Instagram Stories for unique content and events. For example, the program’s “Scholar Pro” series features live interviews with alumni on career readiness topics like how to build a professional network, ace a job interview, or negotiate salary. Scholar reflections and photo submissions are also threaded throughout the program’s Instagram feed to nurture a sense of community and pass along words of wisdom from fellow students. 

Looking for new ways to connect with your students? Click here to download our free e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Student Engagement for College Success Advisors