Whether seasoned seniors or incoming freshmen, most students experience a combination of excitement and nerves as they move back to campus for the start of the new school year. For our August #UMichChat, we asked a group of students to share their experience-based advice about student life at U-M and in Ann Arbor.


These topics are relevant primarily to U-M students, and we didn’t think Facebook Live or a Twitter were the best platforms to reach that audience segment. For the first time in #UMichChat history, we decided to use Snapchat, where U-M students make up the majority of our followers.


Our panelists included: David Nguyen, a senior in the School of Information and member of Kappa Theta Pi; Sophie Cucci, a sophomore psychology major on the synchronized skating team; and Pratik Joshi, a senior economics major and member of the Michigan Marketing and Advertising student org.

Snapchat norms limited the number of questions we could ask and the length of the responses from our panelists, but we were still able to cover a diverse array of topics. From their best dining hall hack to their advice about the dreaded search for off-campus housing, each student contributed different information based on their personal experiences at U-M and in Ann Arbor.

At its peak, this chat had more than 4.9K views and 110 screenshots. Approximately 2.7K viewers watched the entire story. Because Snapchat doesn’t show how many seconds remain in a story, some of our original viewers likely stopped watching after clicking through a few snaps and determining that the story was too long or not engaging enough for them to continue watching.


Although this platform is ideal for targeting the U-M student demographic, our followers weren’t able to interact directly with our panelists in the same way that they could via a Facebook Live comment or a reply to a tweet. When we utilize Snapchat for these chats in the future, we hope to set clearer expectations that followers can send us snaps or reply to our story while the chat is happening to make it less one-sided.


If you missed this #UMichChat, you can watch the entire story on YouTube. We look forward to utilizing Snapchat to facilitate more conversations in the months to come!


This post was written by Mackenzie Francisco, UMSocial Intern. #StaySocial with her on Twitter @mackenzie_fran