Engaging Young Alumni on Snapchat

Michelle Ammirati by on May 26, 2016


As reported in the April Alumni Monitor Update, Rutgers University now offers an official Snapchat account, @RutgersU, joining a number of institutions promoting themselves with the app that has surpassed Instagram in popularity among teens. This impressive shift in popularity, according to Business Insider, can be attributed to the desire to watch mobile video, which Snapchat uses for live-event coverage.

Rutgers_snapchat_account_announcement.pngRutgers Snapchat Account Announcement

Colleges are already using Snapchat to attract prospective students and now have the opportunity to expand their outreach to engaging young alumni. Considering 71% of users are under 25 years of age, alumni associations have an unprecedented opportunity to catch alumni three years (or less) out of college and to retain graduating seniors by offering official alumni accounts with alumni-targeted media, as the University of Chicago and Purdue University already do. Below are three strategies to grow alumni engagement through this promising social media outlet:

1) Provide live coverage of alumni events

Whether it’s homecoming weekend, gift campaigns or celebrating graduation from afar, the alumni experience would not be complete without a college’s hallmark events. Unfortunately, not all alums will be able to return to campus regularly, but fortunately for universities, Snapchat allows users to harness short mobile videos and display the event as a story for 24 hours. Institutions, for example, could provide short clips of the homecoming football game and include Twitter handles and hashtags using the text feature to promote the use of other social media outlets in conjunction with Snapchat.

2) Promote gift campaigns and thank people for their gifts

Gift campaigns provide many opportunities to use Snapchat in creative ways. Not only can the institution promote the campaign through the account’s story feature, but they can also send personalized snaps back to users who have donated.

3) Make things interactive and exclusive

Alumni associations can make interactive Snapchat contests that require users to submit snaps to win. In addition to driving engagement in general, contests can also feature Geofilters exclusive to a specific time and location. Event-driven coverage in the stories section of the app also makes creating a geofilter a smart move for alumni associations.

While not on an alumni-association-specific account, Boston University engages its users on Snapchat well. During its annual Giving Day on April 6, 2016, the school used Snapchat to promote the event, give updates on the money raised and showcase donation prizes.

BU_giving_day_snaps.pngBoston University Giving Day Snaps

As Snapchat’s popularity grows, it is important for universities to use the application’s strengths creatively. If alumni associations engage users with live coverage, use stories effectively for campaigns and make their accounts interactive and exclusive, they will capture the attention of young alumni.

For more information on Alumni Monitor and our research on alumni outreach and engagement, please contact Dana Peterson at dpeterson@corporateinsight.com or visit us at alumnimonitor.corporateinsight.com.

About The Author

Michelle Ammirati

Michelle is an Analyst for Healthcare Monitor at Corporate Insight. Read more