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.
Thatâ€™s the reason for this series of interviews from early adopters of SnapChat in higher education.
After Nikki Sunstrum from UM and Jason Boucher from UNH, Tyler Thomas, Social Media Specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who presented 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 UNL and what was your goal?
We started using SnapChat in April 2014.
We launched it during our Spring Football Game asking users to share a â€œSpring Game Selfieâ€ and be entered to win some Husker swag. Initially the goal was to enter the arena of SnapChat through a popular action on the app (a selfie) and see what kind of following we could get.
On day one we had 50 connections and had 35+ submissions into our contest. The goal of our account initially was to tread lightly and figure out how we could enter the conversation of current and prospective students.
Since the launch we have evolved our goals into three main focuses: follower growth, provide another channel to inform, one-on-one engagement.
2) Why did you add Snapchat to your social media toolbox?
We use SnapChat to promote events and encourage attendance at said events. We take photos of event posters or create graphics and share those in our Story and also for more specific events we will snap the images to individual users.
Weâ€™ve also used it to run contests to win free stuff. For us, it is a tool that allows for a pretty good reach and in some cases a fun one-on-one conversation with current and prospective students.
Our hope is to provide a fun way to interrupt the day and provide some character and fun content for students to watch and/or interact with.
We have also found that SnapChat gets a lot of impressions or views, so weâ€™ve started using it more and more often and making it a priority within our social media toolbox.
3) What results did you get? What was the feedback from students?
So far we have had great results. Each of posts to our story have 300+ views and in many cases (where prizes are available) we will get between 25-45 people to enter our contests.
But the real goal is for students to see our content and join us on the platform.
Each day we get between a half-dozen and a dozen new followers. Snapchat is definitely one of our fastest growing platforms for our student audience and we are constantly finding new ways to leverage it.
4) How do you plan to use these connections going forward?
Weâ€™re using these connections to deepen our relationships with our followers, show our true character and human side and also promote events and activities happening on and around campus. We hope to continue to leverage the platform and increase our follower numbers and engagement numbers.
In the next post in this SnapChat series, Iâ€™ll share another of the 6 interviews I conducted with higher ed professionals using SnapChat with college students.