These Higher Ed Snapchat strategies for boosting enrollment are part of an ongoing series we have called Higher Ed best practices. Included in this series: TikTok Higher Ed Best Practices.
For universities and institutions within the higher-ed space looking to reach their target demographic, Snapchat might be the answer. This social media platform boasts 319 million active daily users, with 75% of millennials and Gen Z Americans saying they use Snapchat. Those on the app are highly engaged, spending an average of 30 minutes a day on it.
After crunching the numbers, it’s safe to say that Snapchat has the ability to reach prospective students at all stages in the admissions process and even influence their final decision.
Whether your team wants to take the plunge and create a dedicated strategy to engage organically with students on Snapchat, or you’re looking to experiment with the platform’s paid advertising, we’ll cover what you need to know to get started.
Current audience demographics as of 2021.
- 65% are 18-29
- 24% are 30-49
- 14% are 50+
- 54% female
- 46% male
Snaps: The most basic form of communication on the app, snaps are photos or videos sent between accounts or to a group of users, which disappear after viewing.
Chats: Users can communicate with other users and brands via instant messages. These messages are only visible for a temporary period.
Story: Similar to Instagram Stories, your Snapchat account’s Story allows you to share vertical photos or videos that expire within 24 hours. These can be one-off posts but are more often a series of slides telling a longer narrative.
Live Stories: When users are at the same event or in a specific location, they can choose to share their Stories with the community hub. These are then visible to anyone watching that community story.
AR Filters: Considering more than 800 million users engage with AR filters, creating artificial reality filters that alter a user’s face or surroundings is a great way to engage your audience.
Geofilters: These filters are available to users within a specific area for a specific amount of time, and serve as a way to get your brand or campaign in front of more people.
Tips for Universities on Snapchat
Set up your account: Create a personal account on the app and convert it to a Snapchat Business account.
Get your name out there: Share your university’s username on your website or include your “Snapcode” (QR code) on printed materials.
Work smarter, not harder: If your university already has an Instagram account, you can easily reshare the content that’s posted to your Instagram Stories as a Snap Story. Save any photos or videos from Instagram and reupload them directly to Snapchat to repost.
Use the right format: All videos and photos on Snapchat are vertical, with a 9:16 aspect ratio.
Use your resources: Current and prospective students are a great source of content when it comes to Snapchat. Reshare content that the university has been tagged in on Instagram or TikTok to your Snapchat, or feature students, events, or faculty on your Snap Story.
Stay consistent: For accounts looking to grow, we recommend posting 4-5 times a day to Snapchat, or at least a minimum of once a day.
Keep it real: Photos and videos shared to a higher-ed account on Snapchat should be real, authentic, and raw. They disappear within 24 hours, so consider this platform a great place to experiment with content ideas and get feedback.
Pass the mic: Ask students to do a “takeover”, where they access the university account and share moments of their day to your Snap Story.
Provide an incentive: To encourage students to follow your account, offer free tickets to events, gift cards to popular on-campus food spots, school merchandise, or a discount to the campus bookstore, exclusively in your Story.
Snap Ads: The most common ad on Snapchat, Snap Ads are 10-second, full-screen, vertical videos that include a call to action of visiting a specific link. These should include audio (music or a voiceover) and play automatically with the sound on.
Sponsored Geofilters: Just like the organic geofilters, users can play with these filters in specific locations and share them with friends or post to their story. For specific campaigns or events, geofilters are also a great option.
Sponsored Lens: Snapchat users can take a Snap with your unique lens and share it, getting your brand in front of a larger audience. These tend to be cheaper than the Discover ads, which are primarily used for big brands.
Story Ads (Discover Ads): These high-ticket ads allow advertisers to reach their audiences with a sponsored tile in the Discover feed and start at $50,000 daily.
Collection ads: These ads are formatted like product catalogs and allow you to display products in a virtual storefront. Engagement rates with these ads are 4.1 to 17 times higher engagement rates than standard Snap Ads.
Post Ideas for Universities
- Share virtual tours of the campus or school buildings. Guides could send photos or videos of themselves on campus, at events, or in dorms, in order to show prospective students what it’s like to attend your college.
- Ask students to send in videos giving tips for orientation, making it through finals, how to avoid being homesick, and more.
- Interview faculty or admissions counselors in a Q&A. Collect questions ahead of time from other social platforms and answer them on your Snap Story in video form.
- Film videos of big events like graduation, orientation, or sporting events. Send out student reporters who can capture the event from their own perspective.
- Do a “Day in the life” takeover with a student. Have a student take photos or videos of a typical day for them, making note of classes, extracurricular activities, mealtime, and social interactions.
- Showcase successful alumni and tie it into the university’s career development services or any stats about post-grad employment and salary.