Oh, Snapchat… the most polarizing popular social platform out right now. “You have a University Snapchat account?” they say. “Isn’t that just for sending inappropriate pictures?” Not for us. It’s a way for #teamsocial to establish relationships with our audience and to tap into an unsaturated market comprised of one of our most valuable demographics—students.
Frankly, a lot of people don’t get Snapchat, and that’s okay. It’s the new kid on the block that happens to be taking the social world by storm. For us, Snapchat was something we simply could not ignore, especially due to statistics like these (Mashable):
- 77% of college students use Snapchat at least once per day
- 73% said they would open a Snapchat message from a brand they knew
- 70% said they’d add a brand as a friend if they also followed them on other platforms
With numbers like those, we’d be doing a major disservice to our audience by not exploring the platform. So we dove right in. In fact, #teamsocial members Kimberly and Ashley launched a Snapchat for our mascot, CAM The Ram, a year ago. They were way ahead of the game. But let me give you a quick rundown of why we decided it was time for an official University account.
Ephemerality. It’s all the rage
Did you see the shirtless Geraldo Rivera selfie? We did. And apparently so did a lot of other people, because suddenly having pictures disappear upon receipt is very “in” right now. Being able to determine the length of time that your picture can be seen gives you control over your own content, and that control results in highly animated, rich interactions. In other words, people are less worried about seeming goofy and awkward in photos if they aren’t afraid that the proof will live on forever.
Communication through conversation
Evan Spiegal, cofounder of Snapchat, said “We are trying to get rid of these weird boxes that we put media into and get to the essence of conversation.” Individuals have reported that they enjoy using Snapchat because it is faster than texting and is like using your face as an emoticon. Our relationship with our Snapchat friends is symbiotic. We ask them to share content with us, and we engage with them in return. The result? We establish relationships, trust, and “brand loyalty” with our audience.
A passive mobile experience
With Snapchat being a strictly mobile service, we have access to our followers during all times of day. Messages are delivered very passively, and this is one of the major reasons we think Snapchat will end up being a successful means of communication for us. Unlike a text message, a Snapchat story is available for a user to view at a time that is most convenient for the recipient, or the message can be ignored altogether. The choice is theirs.
Our launch strategy
We teamed up with our friends in Admissions to incorporate the Snapchat username into the material for CSU Explore, an event where high school students come visit campus. We made Snapchat an integral part of their experience and began growing our audience that day. But it wouldn’t have made sense to flood current students’ feeds with information that was intended for prospective students. With that said, we established a base audience and later began cross-promoting Snapchat to current students. We posted on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to let people know we had launched and hinted that we would be sharing exclusive information as an extra incentive to add us.
What’s next for ColoradoStateU Snapchat
We’ve been having a blast experimenting with fun ways to reach our fans. On Squirrel Appreciation Day, we asked people to add a costume to our squirrel picture and received some hilarious, creative responses. Next up, we’re going to tackle custom geofilters for an even more personal experience on an already personal platform.
Learn about the launch of our CAM the Ram Snapchat account.
Add us! “ColoradoStateU”