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Expert Advice

By Whitney Anderson, Internet Communications Manager at Roanoke College


Snap To It: How to Use Snapchat to Tell Your Event’s Story

We call it our “reality show in real time.” About a year and a half ago, our team at Roanoke College decided to start using Snapchat as a way to communicate with our audience—both to attract prospective new students and also showcase some of our biggest events held on campus, like speaking engagements with Chelsea Clinton and Senator Marco Rubio. It’s one of the largest and fastest growing social media platforms used daily by our target demographic, so we knew we’d be crazy if we weren’t participating in this medium—although we learned a lot of these best practices along the way.

Know you’re going into this with a raw story. The essential thing that separates Snapchat from other platforms like Instagram and Facebook is that there is no planning out the content, and there is no ability to make it perfect. While some might have hesitancy about this unscripted nature, what you get in return is an authentic way to connect with your followers in the moment. You can give an insider look through photos and video that are pieced together to become your story.

Use your audience to your advantage. Occasionally, we like to pass the Snapchat duties off to one of our audience members so they can give us a “day in the life” story. This not only engages them, but also provides a different perspective from that of the institution. The key to finding the right collaborators is to hone in on your target audience and pick varied people with different interests so the content they produce will have more views.

Timing is everything. While you might plan out some more promotional items in the days leading up to the event, it’s really the day of that’s important. Many Snapchat devotees are looking for the most current content so hitting them in the moment can be more impactful. Plan some Snaps earlier in the day to entice people to come out; and always provide Snaps during the event to let your audience see what they are missing out on so they register next time.

Have a good mix of content. You’ll want to vary up the types of Snaps you publish; if you have all the same kinds of videos and photos, your audience will become bored and think you have nothing new to show. Also, we have found, the more personal the videos, the better. Talk directly at the camera, and then perhaps pan to what is going on around you to give viewers a full look at all the activity.

Get more followers. Think of your social media platforms as an extension of your brand, and include logos and handles everywhere—like on websites, printed materials, and e-mail signatures. Also, create your own Snap Code (which acts like a QR Code) and custom geofilters for even more branding opportunities that will get you noticed.

Get Connected
Roanoke College
Salem, VA
(540) 375.2323

Whitney Anderson is the Internet communications manager for Roanoke College. She manages the college’s web content as well as all of the main social media accounts. Prior to Roanoke, Anderson did web design, graphic design, and SEO initiatives. When not at work, she can be found wrangling her twin three-year-olds.