March 31, 2014 debbie.m

Share Your Best Face

Today, we’re talking Instagram and Snapchat. Photo sharing sites are incredibly popular with young social media users, and a picture can convey so much more than any text-based message. These 12 to 24 year old web users are the prospective students higher ed marketers are trying to reach.  So don’t just tell them about your school — show them!

Young adults 18 to 24 years old are the most avid Instagram users, with 12.2 million of Instagram’s 50 million users falling into that age group. Instagram counts another 6 million users among teens 12 to 17 years old, according to new data from eMarketer.com. These 18 million Instagram users are the very prospective college and graduate students that your higher ed institutions wants to reach on social media.

Snapchat is the third most popular social media site with young users, trailing only Facebook and Instagram, according to a recent survey by Edison Research and Triton Digital. Snapchat doesn’t release specific data, but 46% of US teens and young adults ages 12 to 24 have used Snapchat, according to the Edison/Triton report. But the very nature of Snapchat presents marketing challenges.  On Snapchat, photos or short videos (up to 10 seconds) are posted and then disappear once a user views the content.

So how can a university or college harness all this potential reach?

Experiment and have some fun!  Some schools turn their Instagram accounts over to students for a day or a week, to give a personal touch to the network. Contests are a great way to get students engaged. Call on your students to get involved, like asking them to share photos of their acceptance letters or graduation celebrations. Show your students faces. Photos of people are more likely to receive comments, likes and shares and likes than pictures of places or things, according to a study by Georgia Tech.

Also, study what what your fellow higher ed social media mavens are doing. A recent Time magazine story surveys how six schools are using Snapchat. Tennessee Wesleyan College, for example, debuted its Snapchat presence with a scavenger hunt for new students during an orientation day.  a private, small liberal arts college in Athens, Tenn., is planning a Snapchat scavenger hunt for students at an upcoming April orientation day. Others used Snapchat to promote athletic competitions and campus events.

How is your school using Instagram and Snapchat? Need assistance with your social media strategy? Sanmita is here to help. Contact us for more information on our social media and content management services.

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