When Snapchat first arrived on the scene, there were many concerns for the safety of children using these apps. Many schools and districts sent warnings home to parents of the dangers of the mobile platform as it allows teens a way to send photos and videos to their peers, or even worse strangers. The images would disappear immediately unless the person on the other end took a screenshot. The dangers were real and for schools across the country, Snapchat quickly earned negative reputation.
When you give it perspective, you realize that in the beginning stages all social media platforms were a cause for concern when it comes to the safety of children. Most of them still are. Now schools across the country are not only using Facebook and Twitter to engage with key stakeholders outside of the school building, but they are using them in the classroom as well. Just like these other social media channels Snapchat can be a great way to engage with your most important stakeholders, your students. Just like with any social media or technology, it is important that children are taught how to avoid potential dangers by being responsible digital citizens. Many schools have adapted social media and technology policies for their schools to follow. It should be considered to not only teach them to be responsible when using social media, but actually engaging with them on a regular basis by reaching them where they are.
Snapchat as a tool for marketing has evolved and brands are taking advantage of this social channel to reach younger audiences, mostly tweens and teens. According to Business Insider (BI) Intelligence, the majority of Snapchat users are between the ages of 13-25. Engagement on Snapchat is high, with 40% of 18-year-olds using it multiple times daily. Since Snapchat added the Snapchat Stories feature, sharing has increased 100%. BI Intelligence, says that “Brands stand to gain a lasting advantage from adopting emerging social media early.” If brands around the globe can use Snapchat to gain a lasting advantage by reaching middle and high school students, why aren’t you?
Snapchat gives you an opportunity to not only showcase the true culture of your school, but build an even stronger culture by engaging with your students outside of the classroom. With storytelling, behind the scenes, candid moments, contests and more, snapchat is a great way to talk to students in “their language.” 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 behind the scenes of school events and happenings.
Here are 3 great ways to use snapchat to engage with students.
1. Be Candid-Remember that everything with Snapchat is immediate and then goes away. You are having real time conversations. Get creative, have fun and share behind the scenes footage of back to school events, awards Ceremonies, celebrations, student performances, athletic events and more. Cool footage can be of students warming up or prepping before an event, hanging out on the sidelines, etc. You can also use it as an opportunity to show your school community working together. Smiling faces of students, parents, teachers and community members volunteering at your open house event is an amazingly nice picture to paint!
2. Share Your Story- The stories feature allows you to stitch together snaps to make a longer experience. For example, during the 2015 graduation season, some schools and districts used it to share and engage with students during the commencement ceremonies. Storytelling is a great advantage of using Snapchat to reach your desired audience. You can host campus tours, make important announcements or run specific campaigns, for things like anti-bullying or back to school. A back to school campaign can include a campus tour that showcases school renovation and décor updates happening throughout the summer. The key to these stories is they disappear after 24 hours, so you want to be sure to promote themselves across multiple channels to create a sense of urgency or exclusivity.
3. Have Snap Contests- This is great for many different school observances. During the homecoming season most high schools celebrate with Spirit Day. See Snapchat contest examples below.
– Selfie Spirit! During homecoming season, most high schools celebrate with Spirit Day.
EXAMPLE: Snap us a selfie in your Falcon’s best. The selfie that exemplifies the most Falcon pride wins _______________. Bring in a community partner to sponsor the contest and giveaway the prize.
– Have a Snapenger Hunt: You can focus this around a more educational topic like Earth Day.
EXAMPLE: First student to find and snap all of these items wins____________. Make a list of items related to earth day and protecting the environment. You can even have students define what the object is with a caption. Leveraging community resources works here as well.
Snapchat provides a cool opportunity to involve and communicate with students. From scavenger hunts to behind the scenes moments, you can engage students in fun ways by “speaking their language” via Snapchat. The social media channel is proving itself much more powerful with the younger demographic as Facebook and Twitter seems to be growing among more mature audiences.
Have you explored using Snapchat to engage with students in your school or district? If you have any other ideas that you would like to share with readers, send them our way (email email@example.com) and we would be happy to add them to this post!