SnapChat Early Adopters in #highered: The University of Arizona (@UofA)

March 5th, 2015 Karine Joly 22 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.

That’s the reason for this series of interviews from early adopters of SnapChat in higher education.

kim_davisAfter Nikki Sunstrum from UM, Jason Boucher from UNH, Tyler Thomas from UNL and Tony Dobies from WVU and Beth Brashears from Eastern Kentucky University, Kimberly Davis, Social Media Manager at the University of Arizona has accepted to answer my questions about her experience with SnapChat.

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

I came to the University of Arizona with a lot of higher education social media experience. I helped launch one of the first academic university accounts in January 2014.

We launched the UA account in October of 2014 to better engage with our students and alumni leading up to our 100th Homecoming event.


We were one of the first institutions to host a ‘Campus Story’ through Snapchat during the event in November 2014.


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

Snapchat offered an opportunity for us to communicate with our younger audiences in a more engaging, relaxed, and fun manner.

You can often see the UA using emojis and being lighter on Snapchat and Instagram because our messages there are aimed to our students. We are more formal with our older audiences on Facebook and Linkedin.

With the increasingly lost appeal of Facebook on young people, it was in our best interest to add this highly engaging platform into our content mix.

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

Our students love it and snap us an average of 25 times a day and around 300 times during events we feature on the platform.

SnapChat UASnapchat has proven to be our most engaging platform yet, with an average of 70% of our audience clicking through our stories. We currently have a little under 5000 followers in under sixth months on the platform and we continue to see a steady growth.

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

Our main objective on the platform is to feature both athletic and academic events.

We often will live-snap things to offer an experience to those who are unable to attend and feature snaps from people who are enjoying the event with us.

We have a large student-run fair coming up called ‘Spring Fling,’ and we are already making plans to make a Snapchat an intricate part of the event with custom Geofilters and coverage of the event. We can’t wait!

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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