Have questions about marketing to students during the COVID crisis? Call (866) 721-1357

Let's Talk!
« Back to Our Blog

How to Use Snapchat For Enrollment Marketing

By collegemktgrp | October 5, 2020 | Universities

Tablets and cell phones are considered controversial in the classroom. The vast majority of students are using their mobile devices in class to send memes in a group chat, check email, and surf the web. 

Although its use can be distracting, many instructors are finding clever ways to incorporate mobile device use in the classroom.

As a university, there’s a lot to consider when using social media to boost your enrollment numbers. We’ve already explored how to win at enrollment marketing on YouTube and what makes a successful university Facebook account. But what about Snapchat? 

Snapchat is leading the pack when it comes to social media. Students are opting for the platform for the ability to absorb more bite-sized content in a short amount of time, something that more and more students are looking for.

As college students shift their focus to Snapchat, let’s dig into how this mobile giant can up your university enrollment numbers.

The Big Picture

Snapchat has over 218 million daily active users and counting. The vast majority — a little over 81% — of its users are between 18 and 24. 

Colleges and universities are no stranger to using Snapchat for enrollment marketing. Two million snaps are sent per minute, giving schools a high chance of students viewing their content and visiting their campus websites.  

Universities are using Snapchat to target college students for many different marketing campaigns. You can create a geofilter to promote your school using your logo, purchase ads to run beside popular content, and promote your own school’s Snapchat account to prospective students.

How to Use Snapchat To Win at Enrollment Marketing

1. Shine a Spotlight on Student Life

The University of Michigan’s Snapchat account is a powerful example of how a university can use Snapchat to reach college students. One week after launching their Snapchat, they gained over 1,100 followers, and received almost 800 snaps, each showcasing a unique part of campus life.

The University of Michigan is the second university in the United States to use Snapchat for marketing and quickly established themselves as pioneers. Pushing out student life content allows for more opportunities for prospective students to see themselves on your campus.

Take a note from their playbook and put your students front and center—it just might pay off.

2. Appoint Your Students as Online Tour Guides

Admissions advisors and university recruiters may know a lot about the history of their campus, but no one understands the campus quite like a student who’s living there.

Universities like Hope College are handing over their social media login credentials and letting students take the lead on introducing students to their campus. 

Letting your students lead campus tours has multiple benefits. Students feel in control and can showcase their knowledge and perspective to prospective students.

On the other end, the prospective student receives a tour from a potential classmate – even someone they might get to know on a personal level. This virtual tour can serve as an in-person alternative, and could be the deciding factor for a student considering your school.

3. When in Doubt, Keep It Simple

At the very least, your university should share campus highlights in the form of photos. But what if you’re not sure what to share?

It’s probably not a good idea to share photos of an out-of-order campus bathroom, or a dining hall menu of the same daily meals. The content you share should be light, informative, and related to key moments or events on campus.

A few examples include photos from a recent campus sporting events, construction photos of a new student center, or a distinguished member of the faculty giving a keynote speech. 

There’s no real right or wrong way to post content, so consider mixing it up and posting content that each type of student can relate to despite their year and major. These activities can serve as realistic expectations for a prospective student who is ready to apply to your school.

4. Consider a Snapchat Takeover

From celebs like Big Freedia to companies like Sephora, big names are dipping into a new social media trend: the takeover. 

The concept is simple—or 24 hours, or a specified amount of time—celebs, politicians, and companies allow an influencer to sit in the driver’s seat. From Q&As to one-on-one interviews, the takeover is filled with never-ending possibilities.  

Investing in a Snapchat takeover can bring a new set of followers you probably haven’t considered. Maybe you have a new academic department that not a lot of people know about. Inviting a student in the major to take over the account can increase traffic and interest and just might place your campus at the top of their list.

Binghamton University is one of the colleges doing great things in this arena. Check out their social media page for more info.

5. Mind Your Ps and Qs

On a more practical note, a lack of attention to detail can come back to haunt you. Nobody knows this better than Penn State University, who released this cringe-worthy filter last year.

A typo may seem like no big deal, but there are potential issues you may face.

If a large potato chip brand released a new product with the name spelled wrong, some people might question what else was overlooked – such as quality control.

Typos can weaken your overall message. This could also force others to question what else you didn’t pay attention to. This could also send a message that you’re not as invested in a student’s prospective education. If you don’t care, why should they?

Basic Best Practices for Snapchat 

Now that you’ve seen how Snapchat can boost your school’s enrollment numbers, it’s important to keep some key best practices in mind when using Snapchat for your  enrollment marketing campaigns:

Make Sure You Know How Snapchat Works

  • Having a personal account puts you at an advantage. Experienced users will just “know” where you fall between novice and expert.

Know Your Audience

  • Marketing on Snapchat is different than marketing on Instagram and Facebook.
  • Users want brief content, so keep your videos short – between 15 and 30 seconds. 

Utilize the Power of Influencers

  • You probably don’t have Drake or Kylie Jenner on speed dial, so tap into key players in your network.
  • Consider partnering with members of your university’s sports team, a popular campus professor, or even the school mascot.

Consistency is Key

  • Your followers want to know what to expect, so make sure you’re releasing content that aligns with your university and in a predictable fashion—like the same time and day of each week.
  • Because users are on Snapchat every day of the week, posting on any day of the week is fine, but aim for posting later in the night for peak interest.

Stick to Your Unique Voice

  • You wouldn’t expect Taco Bell and PlayStation to have the same marketing strategy, right? Like these companies, your university’s brand is unique.
  • Look to see what other schools and companies are doing, but make sure to keep it original. 

Gauging Enrollment Marketing Success Using Snapchat

Measuring the success of a campaign depends on your desired outcome. One of the key indicators to look out for is the total watch time. 

Snapchat provides metrics on the amount of time anyone viewed your snap in increments of 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. If some of your snaps are being watched through the end but some are quickly ended, you’ll want to look at the content and figure out what didn’t work.

You can also look into other factors like an increase in followers, total opens, and average open rates. These can help you determine if your Snapchat efforts are getting the attention from prospective students that you’re looking for.

Next Steps to Consider

While COVID-19 has forced so many of us to socially distance and stay indoors, an unexpected benefit for universities is the uptick in social media use from high school and college students. Engagement is up across all platforms, with Snapchat gaining an additional 11 million daily users. 

The world of social media marketing can appear confusing, but College Marketing Group is here to help.

Looking to grow your followers and boost enrollment numbers? Contact us today for a free consultation to give your University’s enrollment marketing the boost it needs >


Subscribe Today