Published on July 25, 2014

It’s OK that only 3% of schools use Snapchat, In My Opinion

The E-Expectations Research Series is essential if you work in communications or recruitment in post-secondary education. It comes out each year with data you can count on to help you adjust your strategies & put the right digital tactics into place for great results. This is US data but until we have Canadian data to work from, it’s one of the best quantitative digital trend reports for our industry.

The 2014 E-Expectations Report is out and the interpretations are starting to fly.  Among the popular online & email reply-all comments are that higher education recruiters are sticking to familiar social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter & Instagram but they aren’t adopting platforms that are being used by high school seniors such as Snapchat.

…people are saying this because while almost 40% of high school seniors use Snapchat, only 3% of four-year private post-secondary institutions are putting Snapchat to use for recruitment purposes.

…people are saying this because even though only 39% of high school seniors use Twitter, 83% of our-year private post-secondary institutions are putting Twitter to use for recruitment purposes.

#IMO (In My Opinion)

If 39% of your audience is consuming content through a site (Twitter), my issue with 83% of schools adopting Twitter is that it should be higher. If you are in the 17% not using Twitter for recruitment, please share as to why you don’t think it’s worth your time to share content in the brand-friendly, software-supported, measurable, public mass-conversation that almost half of one of your most important audiences is using. Seriously, I would love to know.

I will gladly read every case study that the 3% of Snapchat schools is willing to share. Let me know when you’re free, let’s go out for coffee and chat. I absolutely believe in and advocate for considering new platforms as they emerge, and keeping an eye on them as they change and pivot and grow. Just because there is a new “Web 2.0” experience out there that young people are using does not mean that it is brand-friendly, brand-manageable or accountable. It also may not be a place where people want to engage with corporate voices.

If you work in a department or team that has a goal of daily small-reach back and forth engagement, Snapchat is a great fit for you. If you can build a following so large that it doesn’t matter than only a small percentage of Snapchat users consume stories and most only read the messages that are addressed them, Snapchat is a great fit for you. If you have time to collect thousands of followers and then sit there and individually tick off each one, each time you want to send a message to them all … Snapchat is a great fit for you!

If the above examples don’t sound like your situation: reserve your brand’s preferred username, keep using the platform as an individual, keep taking the 3%ers out to coffee, and keep up to date on the new features that Snapchat is rolling out – you will literally see it change before your eyes and very likely turn into a powerful opportunity for brands if things keep going at the pace they have over the last six months.

Snapchat is a beautiful, powerful fit for any team that wants to write back and forth with its audience. Back & forth is not the norm in post-secondary education communications. We read and sometimes answer the smattering of replies and comments that we receive on our constant push-posts on official social media presences. We send our representatives out on the road to answer your questions for brief periods of time, and we answer emails and phone calls –  sometimes on the same day and sometimes after a week or so. An innovative handful offer to chat via instant message or run live-chats online once a year or once week. A platform meant for chitter chatter and live, candid replies is not something that the average university or college recruitment team has been interested in, and it’s not something that they’ve been asking for. The question isn’t why aren’t recruitment teams using Snapchat, it’s why aren’t recruitment teams asking for ways to chitchat with prospective students.

If these sweeping industry statements don’t sound like you, then you are the 3%. You are the awesome. You are putting in effort and time and heart that is far beyond that of your peers, and you are extraordinary because of it. Thank you for being you and I do hope you will share and continue being a leader in our field.  Do I believe that every school should be doing what you do? No, I don’t. It doesn’t make sense yet. We can’t all buy every new idea before it is proven and before we know how to do it. Early adopters pave the way and we’d be lost without you, but we also save ourselves many skinned knees by letting you go ahead of us.