Museology Master of Arts Program

November 13, 2019

Feature this: understanding Instagram story’s role in museum marketing

Thesis by Belle Dunne (2019)

Studies show that social media is an effective way to reach potential audiences to cultural organizations, and while museums understand the value of social media, there is still a lack of understanding of which platforms to use and how to use them effectively. The purpose of this study was to understand the unique value of new social media engagement features, such as the Instagram Story feature, add to a museum’s overall marketing strategy to engage audiences. Through document analysis of over three hundred Story Slides and interviews with five museum professionals, this study creates a holistic understanding of museums’ use of Instagram Stories in social media marketing. The findings of this study suggest that museums use Instagram Stories in alignment with the feature’s intended purposes, but they are not utilizing the additional overlays and interactive elements to the full extent of their capabilities to engage audiences. Engagement requires that museums make an effort to not only use the feature but to use it with more intentionality. Additionally, the museums in this study are in the initial, experimental phases of using the Instagram Story feature with plans around layering other strategies in the coming years.

Keywords: Instagram story, Instagram stories, museum marketing, nonprofit marketing, social media, museum studies, marketing, museology, class of 2019


Dunne, I., & Selvakumar, Meena. (2019). Feature this : Understanding Instagram story’s role in museum marketing. Seattle]: University of Washington.