A Taxonomy for Higher Education Institutions To Tell Micro-Stories With Content Marketing





content marketing, grounded theory, higher education institutions, micro-stories, micro-storytelling, social media


The study explored a relatively new area, namely telling micro-stories with content marketing in the context of higher education institutions (HEIs). Although long-form content remains popular, the concept of creating concise content for social media while focusing on what matters to the target audience has gained traction. The study focused on HEIs because they operate in a multifaceted environment where they must maintain a high level of authenticity with current and prospective students. Additionally, many HEIs face increased competition from education service providers operating in various sectors and a reduction in public funding. Although HEIs have embraced digital marketing, effective marketing on social media requires some careful planning. HEIs need to connect and communicate with them emotionally to resonate with the target audience, using micro-stories.

To date, no study has examined which micro-stories HEIs can tell as part of their social media content marketing efforts to capture the attention of their target audience in a cluttered online environment. To take a fresh look at this phenomenon, the social media posts of five HEIs involved in content marketing were analysed and triangulated across four social media networking sites, following a grounded theory approach. The findings indicate that to connect with current and prospective students, HEIs tell micro-stories in an online brand community that are authentic, depicted as a visual experience and meet the long-term needs of the target audience. The proposed taxonomy can stimulate further academic debate and future studies.