The VPM Blog

Snapchat and Your Higher Ed Social Media Strategy

Posted by Rachael Gamlin on Sep 23, 2014 9:16:00 AM

As a Higher Education institution, you may be plugged in with students via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you’re successful thus far in your social media endeavors, go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back, but don’t get too comfortable, because it’s time to take the next step.

Snapchat. Yep, you read that right - Snapchat has rapidly become one of the most popular social media apps for the college generation. When this social media tool first came out, many people were worried that certain *ahem* risque behaviour would take place at a much higher rate. However, since its launch in late 2011, it’s became pretty clear that college kids mainly use Snapchat for selfies, pictures of their pets and photos/videos of the events they attend. And seeing as a new study by Mashable reveals 77 percent of college students check their Snapchats daily, it’s definitely an outlet not to be overlooked when planning your higher ed social media strategy.

So what are the benefits of creating a Snapchat account for the university you work for?

  • Similar to an email, a Snapchat goes directly to a person’s account. Unlike an email, students will actually open a snapchat, if not because they’re interested, then at least to get rid of the notification.

  • Snaps communicate info just how college students like it: quickly and efficiently.

  • Snapchats, if done correctly, can create a sense of a bond between two parties, whether they be an individual, a group or a business. By pairing a picture with drawing and text, these creative images allow universities to show off their fun side, taking away a lot of the awkward formalities that other forms of communication can present.

Screen_Shot_2014-09-23_at_9.14.00_AMThe few colleges that are using Snapchat have mostly worked to advertise sporting events and their mascots so far. With a little fine tuning, Snapchats could also be used to boost support for campus events or for important school notices. Also, it may be beneficial for universities to encourage particular schools or colleges, such as the School of Nursing or the College of Liberal Arts, to have their own snapchat accounts to send out tailored information to their particular students.

One of the best tools within Snapchat is the Story. But beware of Story overloading. Every Snapchat user has that friend who constantly posts Stories, which gets real old, real fast (if you can’t think of that friend, then you may want to look at your own Story-posting frequency #awkward). That being said, universities should definitely look into posting to their Stories things like pics/vids of tailgates and student-centered events on campus.

A few colleges have begun to take advantage of this tool, but the field is still wide open and there aren’t many players so far. Snapchats may not have the best reputation with the older generation, but it certainly does with the young. It can definitely prove to be a useful social media tool for higher education schools.



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