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Is Snapchat something your institution needs to start thinking about?

Is Snapchat something your institution needs to start thinking about?

During his recent keynote speech to open this year’s CASE Social Media and Community Conference, blogger and general social media guru Eric Stoller implored us all – again – to get our institutions on Snapchat.

I say again because Eric is a longtime Snapgelist. A lot of the arguments we, as marketers, put forward against joining Snapchat are the same as those being put against hopping on board the Facebook bus a decade ago.

This plea certainly got me thinking why we’re still not on Snapchat at Warwick University. I’ve held out this far because I’m not convinced our audiences would want to engage with us, as an institution, on that channel.

For me, the biggest attraction of Snapchat, from a professional point of view, was always the ‘Stories’ function. Last summer I even went to the extent of spending my August trying to create a new Story a day, just to get my head around the platform and how I might be able to make it work for a university.

And then, as with most things on the internet, Mark Zuckerberg ruined it.

Instagram Stories launched a few days into my experiment last summer and took a mere four months to get the same amount of daily viewers as Snapchat. This year has seen Zuckerberg continue to push them out across his other channels; you can now create 24-hour stories on WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook itself. It really makes me feel sorry for Snapchat.

But fortunately, more institutions are continuing to get involved in Snapchat though – just a few weeks ago, Cambridge joined the party.  So, just how might you go about using Snapchat for your institution? Well, here’s a couple of ideas to get you snapping…

Takeovers

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking; you can do takeovers on any social channel, so why include it in an article about Snapchat?

Well, yes, you can run a takeover on any channel, but if you’re getting a student to be the person doing the takeover, then Snapchat is the best one to go for. Why? Well, chances are your students have already been using Snapchat for a while, so they’ll be totally comfortable with how to approach it.

In fact, scrap that… they will be far better at Snapchat than you are. By giving a student the keys to your Snapchat account you’ll not only get real student voice in one of your corporate channels, but you’ll also get brilliant content that works brilliantly in that space.

My go-to institution when it comes to great Snapchat takeovers is the University of Glasgow. Just look at this graduation day, seen through the eyes of one of their students.

Or this journey from California to Scotland.

Both great stuff and, with the recent arrival of Glasgow’s social media student officers, you can expect them to continue being a source of inspiration.

Create some geofilters

While Instagram is also keen to rip-off this function, the filters on Snapchat are still the best – make sure you’re making the most of them!

There are two ways you can approach geofilters. First, community geofilters. These are the ones that, as the name suggests, are created by the community and, if approved by Snapchat, will be added to your chosen area and will always be available to use.

Chances are someone will have already added one related to your campus, but that shouldn’t stop you creating your own. Just ensure they’re not too corporate or branded. They wouldn’t pass Snapchat’s vetting process and, let’s face it, who is going to use a dull filter?

The second option is on-demand geofilters, that you can use for specific dates and times in specific locations, for a price. These filters are pretty easy to get online and relatively cheap too. Just think what a nice touch it would be to add a special filter for this summer’s graduating class?

If want some great inspiration on Snapchat filters, make sure you check Colorado State University’s guide to building a geofilter strategy.

CSU filters example (1)

Embrace the fun

For all of those things, the logical part of your brain is putting forward – the lack of stats, the lack of discovery and the nagging doubt that people will actually care about your institution being on Snapchat . It’s worth remember that Snapchat is more like a toy than a regular social network.

Embrace that ethos and use it to show that your organisation has a fun side. Don’t think of Snapchat in the same way you think of your organisation’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages. Get to know the platform and you can make it work for you.

If you want to look at what some of the educational institutions already on Snapchat are up to, then check out this directory put together by CASE.

Advertising on the platform is finally here too. If you want to know more about Snapchat, geofilters, upcoming products and how it can help your institution then please feel free to get in touch.

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