By Michelle Coull

Using Snapchat to reach prospective students

Social media is a powerful tool for higher education to recruit prospective students.

And any university or college which knows its market will tell you Snapchat advertising is one of the most effective.

Snapchat’s popularity among young people is undeniable. The app has almost 70% reach among 18-24 year olds.

One reason for its meteoric rise may be because visual information can be digested up to 60,000 times faster than written information.

SnapChat lets users send images and videos to followers which disappear after a short amount of time (no longer than 10 seconds). In the past few years, young adults have left Facebook for other social media platforms, SnapChat being just one of them.

Which is why there are now so many university Snapchat accounts popping up, some enlisting students to operate them and offer a glimpse into aspects of campus life.

But universities aren’t the only ones relying on this app to attract young people. Snapchat for business is proving popular too, with companies using the app to hire interns through Snapchat geofilters.

Geofilters are special graphic overlays based on location. They are like a check-in or a passport stamp which allows users to mark a moment.

New York University experimented with geofilters last year, when Snapchat was trying out branded geofilters with a few partners, holding a competition among students to shortlist a design that it then employed.

NYU was also able to reach students through Snapchat using the on-demand filter feature for its Admitted Student Day earlier this year, giving those visiting its campus a fun tool – and it was viewed over 11,000 times.

Geofilters can serve as a branding tool. Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, had two geofilters tied to a one-day high school journalism conference it hosted. When attendees opened their Snapchat accounts, they could choose to embed their snaps within two geofilters running in the building hosting the conference. One said, “I heart Journalism” while the other carried the caption “Picture yourself here” — both with accompanying school logos.

The filters ran for seven hours and were viewed more than a 1,000 times each.

Tennessee Wesleyan College used the app to create a scavenger hunt for prospective students attending an orientation day, showing followers images of its mascot at various spots on campus.

It's also easy to reach students with Snapchat to deliver campus news or reminders of important deadlines. So this app is a great source of engagement, as well as serving universities with Snapchat marketing campaigns.

Higher education needs to use Snapchat for student recruitment – otherwise institutions are seriously missing a trick.


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