Snapchat Pro Tip: Let Students Tell Your Story

Communicating to a diverse follower base is not always easy. Especially on Snapchat. But I think we may be onto something here at Colorado State University.

We communicate differently with our audiences based on who they are and which platforms they’re following us on. But knowing who your audience is and utilizing the best platform to reach them is just the first step. Actually speaking their language is the real trick.

Part of my job here at CSU is to plan, create, and manage content for our institutional Snapchat account (follow us @ColoradoStateU). Managing a platform preferred by teenagers sometimes makes me feel like an out-of-place, fly-on-the-wall who accidentally flew inside a party I wasn’t invited to while trying to blend in with trendy teens and clever kids who speak a language foreign to most adults. That language is called, “cool” and I’m pretty sure I stopped speaking it when I turned 30.

Because these socially-savvy Gen Z’ers can sniff out an imposter a mile away, there are two main “dont’s” CSU tries to avoid while communicating on Snapchat:

1. Don’t come across as overbearing mom – a nagging voice constantly reminding students about important campus messages and events.

2. Don’t come across as too starchy, stuffy and institutional, causing students to unfollow us.

How can we avoid these two big pitfalls? I think we may have found the secret sauce to a new and improved Snapchat communication strategy: work with campus partners to let students tell the story for you. After all, who can relate to your students better than other students? We call these Special Edition Takeovers.

Developing, growing, and nurturing campus partnerships has been a critical piece to making our Snapchat puzzle successful. When a campus partner contacts #CSUSocial to request a Special Edition Takeover, my first question to them is, “Do you have a student-intern or another student in your office who is adept with Snapchat who could takeover CSU’s account for the day?” Giving campus partners the power to tell their own story, through students, does a few things:

1. Campus partners know more about their events than we do, and their student interns can tell the story better than we can.

2. Working with campus partners helps fill gaps in our content planning.

3. Using students to relay important institutional messages makes Snapchat stories more relevant and relatable to our followers.

Want to see a few examples of how we work with campus partners to share important info on Snapchat? Take a look at these three Special Edition Takeovers.


Interested in learning more about how we manage takeovers? There’s more!

5 Ways to Build a Snapchat GeoFilter Strategy

Two Ways to Make the Most of Snapchat: Takeover Tuesday and Snapchat Squad 

Secret Snapchat Trick: Post an Entire Story at Once

Snap This, Not That

How to Add Music to Snapchat Stories