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  • Deborah Hayes

Using Snapchat to Appeal to the Student Housing Market

More and more, we are being asked to design Snapchat filters for our student living clients' events. They are fun to design and clients get a TON of exposure for a small cost. Snapchat plays host to over 135 million university students, 78% of whom sign into the application every day. What a huge marketing opportunity for the student housing market! Let’s dive in to how to effectively utilize Snapchat to engage student renters.

Snapchat functions as a visual storytelling platform that encourages users to stay connected and share their daily journey. As a business, you can make an account in the same way a personal user would sign up. After branding your account, you can share and promote your Snapchat username on your other social media platforms to build a following on Snapchat. In order to attract an audience, you need to offer them exclusive content and experiential opportunities that are only available for Snapchat followers. There are three main uses of Snapchat that can be adapted for marketing efforts and that will dramatically engage and excite the student housing market.

The My Story function on Snapchat is used as a journal for users to share snippets of their day with followers. These stories only remain visible for 24 hours, which means users are encouraged to check for new content each day. Marketing to students is made simple with this tool by providing exclusive tours of your property and amenities. Simply use your phone to film apartment floor plan videos or special event updates. Students will be thrilled to see video content that is relevant and provides in-depth access to your facilities and community events.

Another feature that has proven to engage the student audience is the use of custom Geofilters. Geofilters are location geotags that allow users to check-in at certain locations. It is relatively affordable to design a custom geofilter for your complex, and students will love sharing their location with their friends. Geofilters are particularly advantageous for marketers because they are affordable, site-specific, and can boost your market reach with very little effort. By offer the Geofilter option, your residents and visitors will be encouraged to share their own content, providing brand awareness and increase your audience size with no content creation effort on your part!

Finally, the Community Collaborative Story feature is a great way to build brand personality and draw in new students! This feature allows your community to add to a collective story and will bring a sense of community to your units! Residents market for you when they show their experience living and connecting in your building. You can also add to the Community Collaborative Story to answer questions, direct your audience to your website, and engage with your audience in a fun, personal manner.

There is one additional function of Snapchat that may be of interest for marketers looking to advertise on the platform. Snapchat Discover is a function which allows story-style content to be shared by brands, influencers, and publishers. However, this function does not support links nor certain promotional language, and small businesses may be denied access to this feature by Snapchat. Business can instead work with publishers to promote content or get shout-outs in the Discover stories. Snapchat Discover is also valuable in that you can use it to learn how big brands are appealing to the student market and what kind of content you could scale for your own marketing efforts with Facebook and Instagram Stories.

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