Intro and Background Information

In this past Thursday’s class our fellow classmate, Bruce, had an interesting presentation/idea on Wright State possibly using SnapChat as a new social media channel. Like him, I had a lot of questions on not only the workings of SnapChat, but how could a small business or university use it in an effective manner? So over the past couple of days I have done some research on how exactly using SnapChat would be beneficial to a smaller business and to universities looking to connect with their students and future students.

 

Using SnapChat for Small Businesses

When researching possible strategies for a small business wanting to use SnapChat, I found a couple different basic ideas to follow; because of his, I found one that more or less summarized all of them and decided to go with it. According to Forbes.com, there are four basic ideals to follow/strive for, which are the following:

– Going Behind the Scenes: This ideal is interesting because it allows your clients/customers to see the inner workings of your business. You can also use this to give them a sneak peek into what your company is doing or planning on doing.

– Empowering Your Employees & Influencers: While making an effective post with SnapChat can take some time, it can be important to delegate the task of using SnapChat to certain employee(s). If the business can get to a point, they can even hire out companies or allow bloggers or professionals within their fields “take-over” their SnapChat account for a period of time.

– Keep It Disney: Basically, you want your posting to be appropriate and not taken out of context. Luckily, as of right now, SnapChat messages are private and there are no tools to effectively re-share the sent messages.

– Keep It Short: SnapChat messages are only 1-10 seconds – and thus you want to keep your messages simple and to the point. Adding complexity will only make your message confusing and hard to understand.

In conclusion, using SnapChat could be very beneficial for a small business to connect with customers/clients. It can be an effective social media channel as long as you following the right strategy.

Using SnapChat for Universities

When researching how using SnapChat could be effective for universities I found a lot of the success stories that were presented by Bruce in class. I also found that when using SnapChat, all universities are reaching three audiences: current students, prospective students and prospective athletes. I also found that as of right now, there aren’t any different audiences that schools are trying to target and I don’t really see the need for them to target anyone else other than possibly alumni. When targeting current students, collegeexpress.com explains that schools are trying to engage the students and keep them informed on what’s going down on campus. This could be anywhere from doing fun little “snap us a picture of blank” to reporting on campus events. I find it interesting that one day students could actually rely on SnapChat as a primary way to get their campus news and events schedule.

When targeting both prospective students and prospective athletes, College Express explains how Tennessee Wesleyan College used SnapChat to create a scavenger hunt for interested students. They pictured their mascot at different spots on campus and asked interested students exactly where on campus he was. College Express also cites the University of Kansas for doing “mock” interviews with their athletes on their SnapChat account and how they showed a lot of the behind the scenes (remember that from the small business section?) of what goes on at sporting events. In a way, it basically shows the fun highlights of being at this University.

Conclusion and Questions

In closing, I found that while using SnapChat could be effective, it really depends on what your target audience is on whether you should use it or not. For small businesses, that could be challenging if you don’t quite have that grasp on the younger generation that primarily uses SnapChat. For universities, if you have a lot of engagement already on social media channels, I don’t see why you shouldn’t use SnapChat as a means to not only connect and engage your current students, but as a way to draw future students to your school. Finally, I found that there are some similar strategies and ideals to follow when using SnapChat. For example, when using SnapChat both for small business and as a university, you want to give your following a behind the scenes look of what you do. You also want to engage and connect with your audience(s). However, with this being said I still have a few questions:

How exactly would a SnapChat account for a small business or University work? 

– In specific, would there have to be a generic phone or tablet that “housed” the account?

Will there be future benefits that would be user-friendly to these small businesses and universities?

– Is SnapChat looking to explore adding a “business account” feature?

Are they looking to expand on the maximum ten second long video?

– Will they give an option (possibly pay-for) to make the video message longer?

What questions do YOU the reader have about SnapChat? 

– Also, anything I missed when doing research that you would like to bring up?

 

16 thoughts on “Using SnapChat: Businesses & Universities

  • January 31, 2016 at 3:48 pm
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    You made good points. I agree, snapchat could be a valuable tool to engage target audiences for both small businesses and universities. I think to most effectively run a snapchat account for one of these businesses or schools that the account would have to have a central tablet or phone that it was being run on just to keep things as organized as possible. I work for a small business, who has a snapchat so these questions are all questions I’ve asked as well! I think a business account feature would be a huge breakthrough for the snapchat brand. Introducing features like making the account more accessible to the public, and as we talked about it class, having the ability to post photos from the camera roll (such a graphics, etc.) to their story would make a huge difference in the success of small business and university accounts.

    • February 2, 2016 at 9:41 am
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      And I think some businesses would be willing to pay for a business account if they see others having success when using it!

  • January 31, 2016 at 9:44 pm
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    I don’t know much about snapchat. I think your points for business might work. I don’t know if I’m convinced by the idea to use snapchat for business or universities, I think there are platforms that are better suited. Analytics are important and seem necessary to justify the time and energy for business. That being said, Bruce did make some great points with examples, and I’m sure someone could make it work, at least for universities. I’m just not familiar enough with the platform to say for sure. You certainly made a good case, great job!

  • February 1, 2016 at 1:20 pm
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    I enjoyed reading your post on Snapchat and how beneficial it can really be. I am a huge advocate for Snapchat because I believe that there is great opportunity in this platform. I follow a few accounts on Snapchat that post daily on what they’re doing behind the scenes and also sometimes they provide a little comedy. I’m sure some people in our class have heard about DJ Khaled’s Snapchat and how it has blown up over the past few months. I think this is a great example on how people can get their brand out there and gain a new following base. He advertises his clothing line and website constantly on the platform. While he was already a well known person I’m sure he’s seen a huge increase of business as he kept snapchatting through his daily life.

    Snapchat is constantly evolving and I think the direction that it’s heading is a good one. I don’t think Evan Spiegel turned down a $3B proposal by Facebook without a reason. When I heard he turned down this offer I thought he was crazy and thought to myself what else is there really to do with snapchat? Well they’ve certainly exceeded my expectations with all the additions of the new features on the platform. I also hope they don’t expand the alotted ten seconds you have to make a video because I think ten seconds is perfect to get your message across clearly. I believe that a business account feature is a direction they could definitely be heading towards in the future in order for companies to get their brands out there and have a strong daily following base. I’m really looking forward to how snapchat is going to continue to evolve and what they have in store for us next.

    • February 2, 2016 at 9:35 am
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      Yeah I said in my reply to Eli’s comment, I really do think Spiegel is trying to create that next big web-based company opposite of Google and FaceBook. Its very representative of the whole company, it presents them as ambitious, which I find very interesting.

  • February 1, 2016 at 2:00 pm
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    First of all Dan,this is a lot of really good information. I think by Bruce sharing his presentation with the class it made me think of the possibilities of Snapchat being used by more than just individuals but to be used by companies, groups, and organizations.
    I think it is a brilliant idea! That being said I think it is brilliant if you are targeting the Snapchat demographic. 71 percent of its users are under 34 and 70 percent of its users are women.
    Snapchat and 45 percent of its users are between 18-24. With that being said it is ideal that a university would want to use it to engage with its students.
    As great as Snapchat is, it doesn’t make sense for everyone, but then again nothing makes sense for everyone.
    One last thing, I think with the ability to add snaps to one’s story it will allow users to carry out a message longer than 10 seconds it would just have to be grouped together in a story. There are already companies such as Finishline and Nike that I follow doing this.

    • February 2, 2016 at 9:24 am
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      I am not surprised at all by those demographic numbers associated with SnapChat. With that being said, I also follow a few companies on SnapChat such as FootLocker, CominUpKicks, and the official SnapChat of the Dallas Cowboys. I find it interesting seeing the practices and pre-game/post-game stuff dealing with the Cowboys. CominUpKicks also send SnapChat coupon codes out to its followers that can be used to get free shipping or 10-20% off a purchase; FootLocker’s SnapChat keeps me updated with release dates. All in all, very cool to follow such places on SnapChat.

  • February 1, 2016 at 2:26 pm
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    Dan, excellent blog post about using Snapchat for business and university purposes. I have always been fascinated with Snapchat’s platform since launch in 2011 as an iOS-only app under the name of “Pictaboo” (http://tcrn.ch/1PasGgJ). Snapchat is now estimated to have over 100 million monthly active users (http://on.recode.net/1Otx3HQ) spanning across many demographics, businesses, and organizations alike. In my opinion, Snapchat is a major player in the social media game right now — evident from their refusal of Facebook’s massive $3 Billion dollar offer to buy the company a few years ago (http://on.wsj.com/1iqvjyS). The designers of the Snapchat created something unique that set the application apart from the overall style of most major social media platforms. Between the growth in the amount of users and creative social/visual interface, businesses and universities could capitalize by using intuitively using Snapchat.

    As we discussed in class, the primary obstacle of using Snapchat for business is the lacking ability of collecting user generated analytics which is critical in using any online platform. I predict that Snapchat will eventually support some sort of business analytics feature at some point. Despite not being able to analyze platform data, there are many businesses that are using Snapchat as a major part of their digital marketing strategy. One of my favorite companies currently using Snapchat avidly is Red Bull. Red Bull uses their sponsored athletes as digital influencers to do ‘Snapchat takeovers’, showcasing behind-the-scenes content stories to users who follow Red Bull. I do not know this for certain, but I believe someone changes the password every time someone does a Snapchat takeover on their own device. I would imagine that is the best strategy for sharing the account with multiple employees in a small business setting also.

    Overall, I am excited to see how Snapchat expands their platform to be more receptive to businesses. Here is the link to a Snapchat analytics company I found during class called Snaplytics >> http://snaplytics.io. They appear to offer some incredibly helpful data collection features, however, they require you to contact them to access their pricing strategy which is likely overly expensive. We will have to stay tuned and see the direction Snapchat takes in the next few years.

    • February 2, 2016 at 9:27 am
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      Yeah I am interested in seeing what direction they take as well. I remember in the first Social Media class with Ike & Russ we touched briefly on SnapChat and talked about how the CEO declined the $3 Billion buyout by FaceBook. It is always hard to turn down that kind of money, but that’s reflective on how ambitious Evan Spiegel is and possibly is retrospective on how big his plans are for SnapChat. It seems like everyone else’s goals are to be bought out by a FaceBook or a Google but Spiegel seems to maybe want SnapChat become the next FaceBook or Google.

  • February 1, 2016 at 4:44 pm
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    WOW. You all have provided a great deal of insight into SnapChat and how Wright State can utilize it as one of our main SoMe platforms. I want to thank you all for the brilliant thoughts and ideas you have developed through the presentation in class and through this blog post. As I have dug into more and more research on Snapchat, it has definitely raised many questions in my own mind. There are so many unanswered questions and I think as a class you all have really good thoughts as to how Snapchat can improve.

    Dan, you have provided some excellent information and I appreciate that. Good job on the research and coming up with practical ways for a university to potentially use SnapChat. I’m sure this whole discussion will continue to carry on throughout the rest of the semester!

  • February 2, 2016 at 1:20 am
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    This was a pretty cool article it was very detailed. you definitely hit the points, I would imagine that businesses would either have a company tablet or phone for social media purposes. Personally I can definitely see Snapchat being more friendly to colleges since most colleges use snapchat heavy during move in day and special events like sporting events. Maybe down the line or sooner than later Snapchat will be more friendly. I don’t see snapchat expanding their secs, it would be the same scenario with the twitter expanding characters. I don’t think you miss anything. I know last year I had problems trying to convince Ike and Russ how Snapchat could have been beneficial to a brand during the digital hub trial.

  • February 3, 2016 at 4:42 pm
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    It seems the SnapChat is becoming a great tool to show a business’ customers how relaxed their unbusiness-side is as well as going behind the scenes as you mentioned. There are many layers to SnapChat and before a business decides to tack that onto their social media, they should get all of the information they can about the overlay option (vector images), text, simplicity, etc.

    Personally, I do not have SnapChat. This is due in part to having a Windows Phone which does not have a compatible app (and all third party version have been deactivated) but I also don’t understand the conversations that people have on them. For a business or university to let everyone know there are free doughnuts in the lobby, that makes sense; for my sister (and others) to send selfie after selfie with a short message attached seems odd. It’s like texting but way more complicated in my mind.

    Again, as a business tactic, it seems smart and I could see myself playing around with the app with that as an end-goal.

  • February 3, 2016 at 5:08 pm
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    I always thought that small businesses would have to use a generic phone or tablet that “housed” their snapchat account but I’m pretty sure that they would just have to login in every time or they might have a feature where you can select where you want to post the snap at. For example when snaps give you the option to post on your wall or a private message.

    It will also be very smart for snapchat to add a “business account” feature because it will give businesses especially small businesses the opportunity to show their clients behind the scene work footage and to give clients more call to action opportunities.

    I don’t think snapchat should expand the maximum 10 second long video because you can just go to Instagram or another channel to watch the video. 10 seconds is a perfect limit for snaps because people tend to make multiple snaps so if the limit were to expand then people’s story will get to lengthy.

    Lastly my only question is like everyone else, how business and universities will be able to track engagement and reach without having to pay so much money. Other than that I think snapchat is a great channel for universities especially hearing about all the success stories from other schools.

  • February 3, 2016 at 11:26 pm
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    I have been curious about snapchat for business ever since I saw more and more companies and boutiques I follow on social media adverrtsing to follow them on snapchat. I never quite understood the point, or ROI this could have. But now I see it’s a way for them to be more personable with their customers, allowing sneak peeks and behind-the-scenes info (which I myself am unintersted in, but for some people or certain companies, could be really effective).

    I also think Snapchat can be a great tool for universities to utilize to show great snippets of what they have to offer to prospective or new students, and even current ones. I also agree that there are still many grey areas about successfully utilizing such a tool…especially the issue with a devoted device, because one cannot log out and log back in with a different account. Maybe by adding a business account feature, this could work.

  • February 3, 2016 at 11:28 pm
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    After reading through all the information above, I feel a lot more confident in Snapchat’s ability to serve as a useful tool for universities and small/large businesses. I have a Snapchat that I rarely use, but I understand the idea of it, have used it before, know how it works, etc. But up until this point I couldn’t see a potential use for a business or college to utilize it. Now its becoming a lot more clear and I feel like I have been missing out on some key details when analyzing it in the past. I now believe Snapchat is a wonderful tool to “advertise” simple things that are low on the importance list but still relevant (ex: free coffee and doughnuts down the hall) and even give viewers the potential to witness behind the scenes looks at some of their favorite companies that they follow. In addition, it serves as another form of information sharing that might not be relevant enough for an email or a SoMe post, but still relevant and worthy of sharing if done using the right medium. (like the doughnuts thing Olivia mentioned earlier).

    In a sense, Snapchat is a phenomenal tool that could be used by businesses (small and large) and universities alike, assuming its used the correct way. And also I’m not sure exactly how Snapchat could be run by multiple people? Maybe it shouldn’t be, but the option should definitely be available. While I don’t know a whole lot about Snapchats founder Evan Spiegel , it sounds like he either doesn’t know what he’s doing or he’s been too busy living the high-life over his one and a million creation. There are a lot of opportunities for businesses to utilize this tool, and those options should be available to those who wish to use it in this manner. The fact that they are not very flexible with their user options is perplexing to me, and like I said, I think the founder may be getting more distracted with daily life than the much needed business decisions he needs to make to keep his company profitable.

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