Snapchat: How YOU Can Make the Most of the Popular Platform

Follow WKUHilltoppers on Snapchat!
Follow WKUHilltoppers on Snapchat!

As social media marketers, we love trying the latest and greatest social media trends. Then right after we finally master them, the masses have moved on to something else. A year ago, Snapchat was on the list of apps that had questionable staying power. However, current research is showing us that Snapchat is here to stay…and it can be a great way to engage with students!

President Ransdell got a lesson in the Snapchat Face-Swap from some WKU Cheerleaders recently!
President Ransdell got a lesson in the Snapchat Face-Swap from some WKU Cheerleaders recently!

Over 60 percent of Americans the ages of 13 and 38 are Snapchat users,” according to Forbes.  Social Media Examiner found that Snapchat has nearly 100 million users each day, and that number is growing. In fact, nearly 70% of all high school juniors and seniors said they use the platform daily, making it the third most popular social medium, behind only YouTube and Facebook, according to the 2016 College-Bound E-Expectations Survey from Ruffalo Noel Levitz.

All those stats show us one thing: college-aged Americans love Snapchat. But what is it? In short, Snapchat is an app where users can send photos and short videos to other users and create “stories” from those photos/video in real-time. The content expires quickly (a few seconds in person-to-person interactions, and after 24 hours in Stories), which lends itself to a more informal, conversational nature. This makes Snapchat a great platform for departments and organizations with small social media teams. WKU has had a presence on the platform for a while, and this fall we are ramping up our Snapchat initiatives with cross-campus collaborations, event coverage, and one-on-one interactions.

If you’re interested in learning the platform or starting an account for your department or organization, we recommend starting out by experimenting with the app in a personal account.

After you download the app, make your first snap! Below, we have a visual for how the app looks before and after you create a snap. (Yes, that is an exploding TARDIS poster.) You can tap the circle in the bottom middle of the screen to take a photo, or hold down to create a video.

snapchathowto1

Snapchat is known for giving the user options for creativity. Press and hold on your face before making a snap to access a slew of fun face-changing filters that can be used alone or with multiple people in the photo.

 

Press and hold on a face to access several silly face filters on Snapchat
Press and hold on a face to access several silly face filters on Snapchat

Draw on your snaps, add stickers or emojis, and swipe left or right after creating a snap to access photo filters…including geofilters! Geofilters are location-based filters that can to added on top of a snap. At WKU, we currently have a few geofilters available across campus.

Here are some of the geofilters we've had at WKU in the past.
Here are some of the geofilters we’ve had at WKU in the past.

Now that you have an idea of what Snapchat can do, how can you use it? We find that the best way to reach all of your audience is by creating a Story, rather than sending snaps to users individually. Topics for Stories could include…

  • Tour of your building or offices
  • Videos and photos of students at your event
  • Quick “How-To” video, relevant to your department or organization
  • Short interviews with faculty or students about your program

Other ideas include encouraging followers to send snaps to your account that you can then screenshot and add to your Story through the “Memories” option and using the platform to engage one-on-one with students who have questions about your department or organization.

There are many ways you can use Snapchat to your advantage, but our #1 piece of advice is to have a plan. Since Stories only last 24 hours, building and engaging with an audience will take effort. Do you have a savvy student interested in running an account for your department or organization? Enlist them to help! Afterall, students offer users the most authentic perspective on what being part of your department or organization is like. If you’d rather collaborate with Creative Web Services to bring your event, class, or idea to life on the WKUHilltoppers Snapchat, let us know!

Snapchat is here to stay, and Creative Web Services is here to help you figure out how it can fit in your social media strategy. Have questions or a great idea? We’d love to hear from you! Send an email to webservices@wku.edu, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more Snapchat info in the future!

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