Does Snapchat Have a Place in Higher Education Marketing and Recruitment?

Snapchat has over 300 million monthly active users and 100 million daily active users. Of those who use social media, 18% are active on Snapchat and participate in the sharing of 1 million photos and videos everyday.

How many of those spending an average of 30 minutes a day “Snapchatting” are in your target audience of college-aged students? 45% of Snapchat users are aged between 18-24 and a full 77% of college students use Snapchat at least once a day. Suffice it say Snapchat has enormous potential to reach and influence prospective students throughout each stage of the admissions process.

Each day, universities post tweets, Facebook statuses and Instagram pictures about applying to their schools, getting accepted and even general messages and pictures “through the eyes” of current students. We see a few possible areas where Snapchat can offer that extra, yet much needed, communication between Admissions and prospective students.

Getting Started with Snapchat

One of the main obstacles to getting started with Snapchat is not knowing what’s Snap-worthy. Try one — or a few — of these ways that colleges are using the platform to engage prospective students:

  • Cross Promotion – Integrate Snapchat into Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and make it one of your go-to social media marketing tools. Announce your school’s Snapchat username on your existing social media pages to build a following and create excitement.
  • Provide an inside look at campus life – Tour guides could take students on quick tours of the cafeteria, gymnasium or a freshman dorm — all virtually! They could send pictures of themselves at sports events, dance shows and in between classes. This provides students with a feel of what campus life is really like through the eyes of current students. Tour guides can forward their pictures to your marketing/social media coordinator to send out (a good best practice so you retain control of content being posted “from” your university).
  • Q&A Session – Whether it be a Q&A on the admissions process or an informational session about on-campus clubs and events, what better way to interact than to have students send immediate questions and receive immediate responses. Students could even send quick questions about the school at any time and get them answered.
  • Offer Incentives – Users respond positively to promotions. Bookstore discounts, application fee waivers and tickets to sporting events are all great ways to build excitement. The “stories” feature can even be used to offer limited time deals for students who choose to stay in the loop.
  • Invite Participation – Get creative! Invite students to take a picture with themselves and their acceptance packets, and reward the best “snap” with a free school t-shirt or bumper sticker. Have a contest for current students to show a “day in the life” at your university to prospective students. Pro-tip: Make sure all content relates back to a marketing goal.

Take time to understand your students and what differentiates your school so you can provide valuable content. Try out different types of ‘snaps’ and see what works best. And when you’re ready for help scaling your engagement strategy and creating a social network of admitted students, learn more about our Enrollment Marketing Platform (EMP).

P.S. Here are some basics for all you Snapchat rookies:

  • What is Snapchat? Snapchat is a mobile friendly (iPhone or Android) application that is used to interact with friends quickly via photo, video and caption. “Snaps” are the messages sent within the application.
  • What makes it different? Unlike SMS, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, Snapchat has a “self-destructing” feature where the photo or video is instantly deleted seconds after it’s opened by the recipient
  • Other features? Snapchat also has a  “Stories” feature, where users can create a rolling compilation of “snaps” from the last 24 hours for all friends to see. Stories don’t destruct immediately upon opening and can be viewed over and over again throughout the 24 hours.

 

Sources: Omnicore; Mashable