It’s no secret how popular Snapchat has become among college students. In just three years, Snapchat has grown from being used by 25% of smartphone users ages 18-24 to a nearly 70% reach among this demographic, according to comScore. With so many college students using Snapchat on a daily basis, it makes sense that many colleges and universities have implemented Snapchat into their social media lineups. However, few schools have yet to master the art of creating consistently good content for what is now the country’s second most popular social media platform. To offer some inspiration and tips to get your snap stories rolling, we’ve listed these examples of 6 schools that are currently killing it on the Snapchat scene.
Recognizing the platform’s potential early on, the University of Michigan has been telling stories through Snapchat since 2014. Utilizing Snapchat to support university-wide initiatives and communication plans, UM understands that it is one of the best ways to reach students today. By reimagining content that could have simply been tweeted or emailed to students, UM uses Snapchat to present messages in a way that is more visually appealing. In the past, the university has used snap stories to communicate a wide array of messages, from opening up a dialogue about depression, introducing a new athletic director, and celebrating International Women’s Day. And there is proof in the numbers that this strategy is working for them. A story reminding students to tailgate safely before a big football game and featuring campus influencers garnered more than 90,000 views.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill takes student takeovers to a whole new level
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill understands that an authentic Snapchat strategy is one made for and by the students. After all, who can capture the essence of student life on campus better than the students themselves? UNC regularly enlists highly involved students who embody the UNC spirit and values to take over their Snapchat account for the day. Acting as social media ambassadors for the school, these students cover big events on campus such as sporting events, orientation, and graduation. Before a takeover, students are provided a list of guidelines based on what makes a good Snapchat takeover story and what to avoid to ensure their day runs smoothly. To maximize the publicity of takeovers, UNC cross promotes their Snapchat stories on Twitter using #TarHeelTakeover and their code graphic, which allows students to easily find them on Snapchat.
New York University experiments with geofilters
New York University recognizes the power of tapping into Snapchat features such as geofilters, which are special graphic overlays that are made available based on location. Experimenting with geofilters since last year, when Snapchat was still testing branded geofilters among only a few partners, NYU held a contest among students to see who could design the best filter. Now that Snapchat has made the on-demand filter feature more widely accessible, NYU has used the tool to create a filter for its Admitted Students Day, giving students a fun way to let people know they were at NYU. “Snapchat is a way for prospective students to connect with current students on a common platform, and geofilters are kind of like a check-in or a passport stamp that allows users to mark a moment,” said Erin Potter, executive director of communications at NYU’s Stern Schools of Business, in an interview with Digiday.
Bentley University showcases post-grad life with alumni takeovers
Going one step further than the traditional student takeover, Bentley University hosts alumni takeovers on their Snapchat account each month. During these takeovers, alumni are chosen to take over Bentley’s account and show students what their typical work day looks like. A brilliant way to give students a preview of post-grad life, these takeovers provide students a behind-the-scenes look at companies they may someday want to work for. They’re also a great way to get recent alumni involved, and demonstrate how the alumni network has benefited them with finding jobs. Not to mention, showing alumni in cities all over the country, working for cool companies and making their dreams a reality sends a pretty powerful message to current and prospective students. It lets them know that this could be them. These alumni were in their position not long ago and look where they are now, thanks in part to Bentley.
Princeton University encourages user-generated content with contests
Noticing that Snapchat had become teenagers’ social network of choice, Princeton University jumped at the chance to bolster their student-generated content by hosting a contest called Snap as You Pack. To promote the contest, Princeton put out a call on Twitter and Snapchat a week before move-in day for students to snap them photos while they prepared to move to campus. Chosen from among entries snapped in from all around the world, students with the best snaps received a Princeton prize pack and had their entries featured on Princeton’s social media accounts. To claim their prizes, winners had to visit the Princeton Social Media table at the fall student activities affairs, which was set up with giveaways and internship applications. Not only did this genius campaign get new students more involved with Princeton on social media, it also led to real-world connections between students and the social media team. And if that wasn’t enough, Princeton’s social team now has access to a wealth of authentic and creative user-generated content to share in the future. Major props to Princeton!
Rowan University cultivates a well-rounded presence
From student takeovers to campus event shout outs, Rowan University knows how to fully leverage Snapchat to keep students involved, engaged, and having fun. By advertising for on-campus events, Rowan takes perfect advantage of the ephemeral nature of Snapchat by promoting these events during the days leading up to them and as they are happening. Conscious not to overload students with promotional material, Rowan also frequently hosts student takeovers to give students a behind the scenes look at what’s going on all over campus. They recently turned over their Snapchat account to student ambassadors who hosted takeovers all through summer freshman orientations. These upperclassman were able to give freshman a unique orientation experience by showing them the campus through the eyes of a current student. Careful not to cater only to current students, Rowan is smart about audience segmentation on Snapchat. They use separate accounts for different groups such as current students and alumni. They also know how to get the word out about their stellar Snapchat content by expertly cross-promoting their account on Twitter.
Creating content for Snapchat is no easy task. The ephemeral natural of Snapchat is what makes it so engaging, creative, and fun for students, but it’s also what makes it tricky for colleges and universities to stay on top of. If there’s one thing we hope you’ve learned from these examples, it’s that you don’t have to do it alone. After all, the beauty of Snapchat is that it’s built to connect people. So start connecting with your students – prospective and current – and don’t forget about your alumni. Recent data suggests that teenagers aren’t the only ones using Snapchat anymore. So whether it’s in the form of a takeover, contest, or custom geofilter, make sure that you are creating engaging ways for students and alumni to interact with your school on Snapchat. It’s the key to having a story that is worth a watch, and a screenshot!