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Engaging Students through Snapchat
Posted on April 19th 2014
So you’re out and about, eating at a new café, strolling along on the beach. You want to show your friends all the cool things you’re up to, but it’s not interesting enough to tweet or to check-in on Facebook, and it’s not pretty enough to post on Instagram. What can you do to satisfy your need to share your adventures with the online world? This is where Snapchat comes in. Using a time limit you can set yourself, with captions and doodles you can add yourself, Snapchat allows you to send pictures of anything to your mates and have it disappear from all records in seconds.
Naturally, the features of this smart phone app appeal most to the 13-25 age demographic. This makes it very useful to High Schools, Universities, TAFEs in marketing to this specific audience (whose attention span is notoriously short).
But what’s the point of sending a picture that would disappear so quickly? There are actually quite a number of reasons for its popularity:
- It’s an easy way to share images that don’t need to take up space in the recipient’s phone. You can have a whole conversation made entirely of snaps without filling up your device with a tonne of pictures.
- It can hide indiscretions. We all know what it’s like to be in our primitive years, making silly, regrettable choices. It’s all a part of growing up. Snapchat has created a way to instantly erase every trace of images or videos that have been sent, lessening the chance of a scandalous image coming back to bite you in the future.
- Tweets and Facebook posts may be flooded with backlash when you say the wrong thing. In addition, an embarrassing Facebook tag in full view of the public can be seen by parents, teachers and even employers. With Snapchat, not only can you control who gets to see your snaps, but any incriminating photos taken with Snapchat can self-destruct in a literal snap!
- The “My Story” feature is particularly interesting in that it allows users to combine a series of snaps and videos to tell a story. These stories have an expiration time of 24 hours. This feature can be especially useful for schools in promoting different activities while also generating school spirit among its students.
Rather than using Facebook or Twitter to reach out to students within the campus, schools can use Snapchat to give them glimpses of what’s going on in the school. This can include anything from promoting sporting events, to hosting giveaways, to circulating information about new policies. It provides the school with a “hip” voice to reach out to a younger crowd. Here are a few more ways schools can use Snapchat to keep their followers engaged:
- Everyone likes to feel like they’re part of something special and selective. Students who have added your school on Snapchat can receive exclusive sneak peeks into things like newly renovated areas, or the unique architecture of a new building.
- An inside glimpse into the events at the campus can keep students informed of activities they may not have noticed in bulletins boards. For instance, you can target the students who don’t attend sporting events with a funny snap and a clever caption might entice them to watch the next footy game.
- It can encourage creativity by asking students to send in some interesting snaps. A great way to really help promote this is by holding a micro-contest. For instance, you can ask for the first 25 snaps of history-related doodles or the first five snaps of the best interview responses. Not only does this encourage engagement, but it also keeps the students alert for the latest contest.
- Schools can keep students aware of the latest campus announcements. By offering a snap at a certain time, the students stay on their toes for the next big announcement. Whether it’s about changes in the curriculum or the exact date of an annual event, it’s a great way to build up the anticipation.
Gone are the days when schools only rely on bulletin posts and public announcements through the school’s speakers. Snapchat has provided schools with a way to interact with their students in the medium students are most likely to pay attention to. By reaching students the way they want to be reached, schools that utilise Snapchat can help foster school spirit and active participation in school activities.