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Snap This, Not That

Snap-this-Not-That

16 Simple Snapchat Dos and Don’ts for Higher Ed

College students communicate on Snapchat. Universities want to communicate with their students. See where I’m going here? Ok, great! Now that we’ve decided that it’s a good idea for you to have an institutional Snapchat account, here are 16 simple Dos and Don’ts to get you started.

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1. Create a Snapchat account if you’re trying to reach current and prospective students. 77% of college students use Snapchat daily, so what are you waiting for?

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2. Post long stories. Keep your stories interesting, short and informative. Students use Snapchat as a vehicle for entertainment, so remember, keep it simple and fun.

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3. Use emojis to help express yourself and enhance your story. Snapchat makes this very simple with its “sticker” button. You can add unlimited emoji stickers to each snap, move them, and resize them.

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4. Get caught off guard when opening snaps from followers. Snap messages disappear once viewed, so be prepared. Turn on/up your volume, and get your hands ready to screenshot before opening.

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5. Go behind the scenes. Give your viewers an inside glimpse of things they may not typically get to see. This may be anything from inside your football locker room to inside your president’s office.

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6. Switch back and forth from vertical to horizontal when telling one story. Make it easy on your followers. Tell your story one way. We typically always go vertical, unless we want to show clips from a video, then we turn it sideways.

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7. Remember to be mindful of sound when recording videos. It’s nice to include ambient sound when relevant, but forgetting to mute can also be embarrassing.

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8. Cut your message short. You can trick Snapchat into posting more text at once by entering text into an app like Notes on an iPhone. Then copy and paste the text into the Snapchat text box.

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9. Use any color you want when doodling or changing the color of your text – don’t limit yourself to the technicolor rainbow options in the color bar. Touch the color bar and drag your finger to the left, then up or down for more color options.

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10. Get caught saying, “GO” when prompting someone to speak in a video. Practice your timing. It will make you look more professional.

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11. Add music to your videos. Here’s how.

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12. Make it all about you. Ask followers to snap back, then add your favorites to your story. Unfortunately there’s no automatic or easy way to add snaps. We screenshot almost every photo message we receive, then save them to an iPad. Then we take a photo of the photo, and add it to our story.

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13. Create GeoFilters for your University. The submission/approval process can be a bit of a bear, but go for it! This is a great marketing opportunity considering kids often screenshot their snaps and post to other social platforms.

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14. Think you have to do it alone. Recruit trusted students and campus partners to help tell your story. CSU partners with athletics, admissions, housing, students, and even the folks who manage our mascot, CAM the Ram.

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15. Remember to look at your views/screenshot stats before your story expires so you can measure your snap reach. Set a reminder on your phone. That way you won’t forget.

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16. Avoid creating a Snapchat account for fear of the unknown. It’s easy to learn, and with a little practice it won’t take long until you find your groove. Remember, there are over 100 million active daily Snapchatters… and that number is growing… so get going!

Jen Smith
Assistant Director of Social and Digital Media | Division of External Relations
Third-generation Fort Collins native. Former Husker and pro softball player. Loves avocados, flip flops, cowboy boots, ice cream, playing the guitar, traveling, live music, dogs and DIY projects. Hates snakes. That's it – just snakes. Well, snakes and math. Proudest social moment: CSU's post for #LoveWins.