SnapChat Early Adopters in #highered: West Virginia University (@WestVirginiaU)

March 2nd, 2015 Karine Joly 15 Comments

As I explained in the 1st post of this series, SnapChat is really starting to look like a serious contender in the game of communication platforms with college students.

Is it time to adopt SnapChat for higher ed institutions?

As you know, we can learn a lot from the experience of early adopters of any new technology, channel or platform in higher education.

tony_dobies-150x150That’s the reason for this series of interviews from early adopters of SnapChat in higher education.

After Nikki Sunstrum from UM, Jason Boucher from UNH and Tyler Thomas from UNL, Tony Dobies, Social Media Strategist at West Virginia University who presented about SnapChat at the Higher Ed Social Media Conference, has accepted to answer my questions about his experience with SnapChat.

1) When did you start using SnapChat at WVU and what was your goal?

snapchat_wvuWe started our Snapchat account in August 2014.

Our goal was to speak more directly and personally with our current and prospective students, as that was something we had issues with in the past and had an idea based on the information about Snapchat that this could be our answer.

2) Why did you add Snapchat to your social media toolbox?

This is our best and most engaging form of communication with students, so that’s how we use it.

We get out the crucial deadlines and other pieces of info in our Stories.

But, we also do a great job of talking back and forth with our audience in personal snaps with them. That seemingly offline back-and-forth conversation is something we just can’t accomplish on Facebook or Twitter much of the time. It’s about relationship building for us more so than any other social platform.

3) What results did you get? What was the feedback from students?

snapchat_wvu1We have about 7,000 followers, and the feedback has been amazing.

Students are always surprised when we tell them we’re on Snapchat – it’s still an oddity in higher ed after all. But, the content fits the audience, and so it doesn’t make them uncomfortable.

We aren’t trying to talk in a way students can’t understand; we’re using their language and talking about topics they can relate to, so it feels very organic.

4) How do you plan to use these connections going forward?

We’re always thinking of ways to branch out.

We’ll be allowing students to take over the account for 24 hours at some point this spring. In addition, we’ve already had our president hijack our Snapchat, too.

We’ve began and will continue to speak directly to prospective students who visit or who we’d like to visit, as well.

Stay tuned

In the next post in this SnapChat series, I’ll wrap with some lessons learned from the 6 higher ed professionals using SnapChat with college students I’ve interviewed.

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