Snapchat Too Personal for Business?
“I like the idea of using Snapchat for business, but I believe that there are far more social media sites out there that could be more effective.”
I quote myself from a blog I wrote about Snapchat just about a year and a half ago. I would like to retract this statement, as I disagree with this now. Digital and social media platforms are consistently changing, some for the worse and some for the better. Fortunately, in the last year and a half Snapchat has changed for the better. Not just for the betterment of individuals, but also for organizations. In its beginning days, I was adamant about organizations not using Snapchat. I felt like it was too personal. Not a place for marketing or advertising. However, currently there are many organizations that are doing it very well.
Engaging students with Snapchat
Snapchat, which is used for sending 10 second photos or videos, is used daily by 77% of college students. Individual “snaps” can be sent or “stories” can be created to document anything going on. The University of Michigan and The University of Houston were, among others, the pioneers in using it in efforts to engage with students.
It enables universities and colleges to engage, interact and connect with their audience in a platform that is being used extensively. Coastal Carolina University has many social media accounts, but has found a very high conversion rate with this channel in particular.
A case study
Coastal Carolina University has over 2,000 followers on Snapchat. CCU has an undergrad population of about 9,300 students that could account for over 20% of students (assuming all the followers were students). According to the Social Media Director, Brent Reser, the average snap within a story consistently receives about 1,200 views per 24-hour cycle. That’s over 60%! If I could send out an email, and I knew not only would 60% of people open it, but also read it/see it, I would be overjoyed.
This picture is an example of the snaps posted on a story. You can see on the right how many views and screenshots each snap (individual photo, or video) had. This is a great way to engage students, show transparency, and inform them of campus events. Not only can Snapchat be useful to connect with undergraduates, it can also be used to engage some of the smaller populations like graduate degrees seekers and staff members. The social media channel can also be used in the admissions process to recruit and retain future students.
Higher Education can use this app to meet a variety of different goals. However, it can be hard to effectively measure Snapchat efforts. The platform does not have a lot of third-party statistic providers, nor does it offer an insights page for business. Snapchat doesn’t provide a lot of things like a follower count, number of people who received the snap, demographic information, individual responses or chat counts. You have to manually count each follower, response etc. This can take a lot of time, but it can yield very important information you won’t find elsewhere.
I now think that Snapchat can be used by organizations to meet objectives and goals. I have seen many organizations that are doing it well, from universities to celebrities and events. It can be used in many sectors. What do you think? Are you following organizations on Snapchat that are doing it right?
If you enjoyed this post by Elizabeth, check out some of her other blogs!
Elizabeth Muckensturm – Communication and Media Professor