Summer Orientation is here and we’ve got a lot on our hands with 175 new students in each 3-day session with each session overlapping with another 1 or 2, for the next 2 months! Plenty of fresh faces to engage and make a connection with via social media. This spring we launched our Snapchat and we now boast over 1,750 followers. With this platform we are able to connect with our followers using snaps, chats, and stories. With disappearing photos (snaps) and messages (chats), Snapchat allows a connection between two users to exist for up to 10 seconds- that is unless they manage to take a screenshot. In addition, a user can add photos to their story which can be viewed for 24 hours by all of the user’s followers. On the platform we’ve experimented with t-shirt giveaways, crowdsourcing to create a fun story , and #selfie contests with much success. By taking a look at our followers’ snaps and stories we have gathered that the majority consists of current Umich students and high school students. We wanted to utilize Snapchat in a creative way that made a lasting impression on our new students that keep them as loyal fans throughout their four years here and after graduation.
The problem with brands using social media is that sometimes it feels more impersonal than engaging with a real person. Yes, it’s cool and exciting to get a retweet from your favorite brand or university, but it can still feel anonymous and detached. As far as social media platforms go, Snapchat is definitely the most intimate and we didn’t want the importance of a personal connection lost through anonymity. In order to to solve this problem and humanize a brand on a platform that operates under the importance of personalization I, Alex, will be taking over the University Snapchat account. I will be the “face” of the university as I answer questions and concerns and offer a casual fun way to engage with incoming students via social media. I will be using the uofmichigan Snapchat in a similar way that I would use my personal account- sending snaps of campus, sending the occasional selfie, and showing everyone a “snap” inside my world — more specifically, my life as a University of Michigan student. With Snapchat’s new “chat” feature I will be able to quickly answer questions and provide advice. This will be an extension of our pre existing #askumich campaign where orientation students can ask questions using the hashtag on Twitter. In addition to having a student Snapchatter, we will utilize snapchat, Instagram and Twitter to host scavenger hunts and t-shirt giveaways. Student orientation starts today, so follow uofmichigan and be on the lookout for my snaps!