Using Snapchat and Social Media to Connect With Students

by Tom Borgerding

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

The shift in social media platforms being used by students is shifting and will likely continue to shift. Five years ago Facebook was THE social media platform to reach college students. Today, it’s hardly on the radar of the top social media platforms engaged by college-aged users. 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 comfortable with Snapchat yet. Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest were popular, but are already starting to lose ground with Snapchat. 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 it, ask a student to give you a tour of how they use Snapchat. You’ll likely see them show you “stories” of their friends and potentially a couple companies or celebs they follow. During the demonstration they will likely bounce from one image/video to another in the blink of an eye. Take notice in how fast their judgement is on which videos and images they engage, view and respond. That is where we are heading for attention spans.

What does all this mean for employers and recruiters? There’s a need to 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 demonstration of Snapchat. It’ll give you a new found appreciation and immediacy for your message to be up-front and clear.
  2. Social media platforms are evolving. If you are going to engage students on Snapchat and other platforms, understand how they are using it. Then build a content strategy that integrates into their habits and generational norms. If you don’t, you’ll likely be skipped, not followed, or 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 quickly what works and doesn’t work for you. Follow other employers who 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 me directly. I’d be happy to discuss what it can look like for you and how you can take advantage of it while it’s still an option where students are engaged.

Look for part four of Tom Borgerding’s blog series, Using Digital Marketing to Build Your Employer Brand, on Thursday, August 10.

Tom BorgerdingTom Borgerding, President/CEO, Campus Media Group, Inc.
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/borgerding
Twitter: @mytasca, @Campus_Media