Using Snapchat and Social Media to Connect with Students


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The latest statistics show that the attention span of students is decreasing from 12 seconds for Millennials to 8 seconds for Generation Z and will likely continue to decrease. Digital media is one of the main reasons why. The use of social media, especially Snapchat, is causing this shift. RecruitingTrends ran an article (“Making it Snappy”) on the topic of how to use Snapchat for recruiting. It gave examples of how companies like Goldman Sachs and Cisco are using Snapchat to recruit college students.

The social media platforms students are using is shifting and will likely continue to shift. Five years ago, Facebook was THE social media platform for reaching college students. Today, it’s hardly on the radar of the top social media platforms used by college students. They’ve moved to Snapchat as the primary platform, because it allows them to have greater privacy … that and the fact that their parents aren’t completely familiar with how to use Snapchat yet. Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest were popular but are already starting to lose ground to Snapchat. Snapchat is rolling out a self-serve platform this summer that will likely make advertising more prevalent and, thus, start the trend for Snapchat to become THE platform. The beginning of the end for social media and youth has been parents’ familiarity with it and the self-serve ad platforms. Snapchat isn’t going away anytime soon, but the release of a self-serve platform will likely be the beginning of the shift.

Now, back to the attention span of Gen Z. If you haven’t seen Snapchat, ask a student to give you a tour of how they use it. They’ll likely show you “stories” of their friends and potentially a couple of companies or celebs they follow. During the demonstration they give, they will likely bounce from one image/video to another in the blink of an eye. Take note of how quickly they judge which videos and images to view, engage with, and respond to. That is where we are heading for attention spans.

What does all of this mean for employers and recruiters? Do two things:

  1. Get to the point. Your brand and messaging cannot wait 15 or 30 seconds before having a call to action. Great imagery will help, but remember the Snapchat demonstration. It’ll give you a newfound appreciation and immediacy for making sure your message is upfront and clear.
  2. Remember that social media platforms are evolving. If you are going to engage students on Snapchat and other platforms, understand how they are using those platforms. Then, build a content strategy that integrates into their habits and generational norms. If you don’t, you’ll likely be skipped, not followed, and ignored.

What do you do with this information now? If you have not invested in Snapchat yet, it is time to look at what you can do now. If you are investing heavily in Facebook and other platforms, it may be time to lighten up those investments and increase your efforts in Snapchat. Content can be simple and short, with 15- to 60-second interviews, announcements of your campus visit schedule, and community/environmental engagement efforts. Start testing. You’ll learn fast what works and what doesn’t work for you. Follow other employers that are currently on Snapchat to learn from them. There’s still an opportunity, but like the attention span of Gen Z, you’re window is closing fast.

If you are unsure of how Snapchat can work for you, please feel free to reach out to us. We’d be happy to discuss what this platform can look like for you and how you can take advantage of it while it’s still a current option for students engagement.

Click here to get our Snapchat Advertising Guide for Campus