Snapchat U: A Guide to Reaching College Students


It’s no secret that college students are addicted to technology, some even going so far as to sleep with their smartphones. Photo sharing app Snapchat continues to prove this love for all things tech. A recent study revealed that 77% of college students surveyed use the app at least once per day.

Snap What? A Brief Summary

This app was launched in July of 2013 and allows users to message their friends with a photo or video that will appear on their screens for up to 10 seconds after opening. Users can add text or use drawing applications on their photos prior to sending to enhance the message or add comedic elements. Once the designated time has elapsed, the photo or video disappears and is not saved to the recipient’s phone unless they take a screenshot (in which case the sender is notified).

Though this app has been in use for over six months, we’ve held off on discussing its merit as a marketing tool, due to the fact that apps like this are often fads (anyone remember DrawSomething or Dice with Buddies?). They are widely adopted and then shortly after widely uninstalled. However, Snapchat seems to be standing the test of time with finicky millennials, meaning it’s time to consider this platform to target them.

Why Are They Snapchatting?

Though Snapchat has garnered a reputation for inappropriate use, only a small minority of students surveyed claimed to use it for this purpose. The main reasons students claim to use the app are as follows:

  • Creativity: 37%
  • Keeping In Touch: 27%
  • Easier Than Texting: 23%
  • Other: 11%
  • Intimate Photo Messages: 2%

What Does This Mean for Businesses?

Students aren’t just accepting Snaps from friends; the vast majority are open to receceiving photos from brands on this platform, even those with which they were not familiar. Just under 50% of those surveyed claimed they would open a photo from a brand they hadn’t even heard of, while 73% would accept one from a brand they knew. Even more promising: almost 70% stated that they would add a brand as a friend on Snapchat if they also followed them on another social platform.
Snapchat offers a unique chance to show off your brand’s personality and creativity. Try sending photos such as:

  • Images of your products in comical situations. For instance, if you own a bakery, you could print a photo of the Cookie Monster and place a cookie with a bite taken out of it next to the picture and send a snap with the caption “Someone’s looking guilty.”
  • Photos of your team with fun drawing added.
  • Short, stop motion videos. This works well for service based businesses because you can show the process easier in video than in a photo.
  • Selfies. Selfies, particularly quirky and silly selfies, work particularly well on this platform. Send one of yourself or ask your customers if they’d like to take a selfie to send out to your Snapchat friends.
  • Sneak Peaks. If you’re unrolling a new product or introducing a new team member, send out an exclusive sneak peak.
  • Special Offers: Use this platform to share coupon codes for flash sales. The value in this tactic is two prong: you’re giving your customers a reason to friend you and your adding an element of trackability, meaning that you’ll be able to measure the effectiveness of this platform with greater accuracy.

Once you’ve created your account, leverage your current social presence to gain friends. Post your username and ask your followers to add you. Take a screen shot of one of your snaps prior to sending and share that on your other social platforms so that people know what to expect.

Need help incorporating Snapchat into your social strategy?

Reach out to us. We’ll help you develop branded snaps, determine a sending schedule, promote your use of Snapchat and more!

Snapchat U: A Guide to Reaching College Students
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Snapchat U: A Guide to Reaching College Students
77% of college students use this photo messaging app on a daily basis. Learn how to leverage this platform for your business.

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