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Just For Nonprofits: Engagement In A Snap
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Just For Nonprofits: Engagement In A Snap - Executive Leadership Articles

Just For Nonprofits: Engagement In A Snap

Executive Leadership Articles

Just For Nonprofits: Engagement In A Snap

If you heard the early buzz about Snapchat when it launched late in 2011, it’s very likely you were puzzled. What was the appeal of sending photos and video directly to targeted contacts, when those images would be deleted immediately upon their opening? Besides offering the benefit of knowing NSFW content was impermanent (and sex-related content makes up only a tiny percentage of its usage, according to recent a recent university study), the service seemed gimmicky at best. Photo-sharing for individually selected recipients already existed in regular text messaging and in third-party messaging apps. Yet, in another you-never-know-what-young-people-will-grab-onto phenomenon, its popularity among teens and twenty-somethings skyrocketed, and the app responded to its fan base by adding features that boosted the fun factor. There’s a lot more going on with Snapchat today then what you saw a few years ago, and if you asked yourself “Why?” back then, your answer is clear today: Snapchat is fun.

Snapchat allows communicators to send still images or video (up to ten seconds in length) to selected individual contacts, but it also allows you to save your content to something called “My Story.” My Story content is viewable by anyone who has added you as a friend (you don’t necessarily have to add others in return) for 24 hours after it’s been posted. For regular snappers, a glimpse at their stories will appear as a montage of very short images and video (with captions, commentary, animations, “stickers,” emoji, filters, and timing effects), all shot within the past day. Receivers see a list of updated stories, tap the names of the senders, and quickly view the content. They might grab screenshots of content or send comments back in response, viewable only to the senders. Senders see a list of the names of contacts who have viewed the content, receive notifications when something has been screenshot, and view comments with the option to send responses.

Snapchat has yet to release analytics tools, so this is about as far as you get with metrics: specific names of viewers of each snap, comments as feedback, and information about who screenshot your content. It can be a lot of work to compile and record this data, but its value can be enormous, because not only do you know how many people viewed your content, but you know specifically who viewed the content. And because social media for nonprofits is about engagement, you can respond immediately and alter the course of the story.

For example, if your organization has a fundraiser, you might send snaps of some of the celebrities in attendance, followed by a video of yourself asking, “Which celebrity would you like to receive a greeting from? DM and I’ll see what I can do!” Depending on the willingness of the celebrities, you could then ask them to send a quick greeting, via direct message, specifically to followers who request a greeting. This could be posted to your story as well as sent directly to the requestor, upping your engagement with your community. Many Snapchat users are using the “screen shot this snap and I’ll send you a customized hello” or “leave a comment and I’ll take a selfie with ________” in order to boost engagement and to get a sense of exactly who is participating.

Another trending practice is the Snapchat “takeover,” where an organization gives the Snapchat login info to a trusted member of the team, and that person spends the day giving a behind-the-scenes look at the organization’s work, from that team member’s perspective. This can be great for special events, day-to-day outreach, and putting a personal face on the organization’s social media presence. If you’re already using an Instagram account with several contributors, you’re practicing this in a non-communicator-specific way.

Two years ago, the Snapchat team at DoSomething.org, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to get young people involved in community service, sent Valentines around a city, directed by its long list of contacts. The Do Something snapper, dressed as a Cupid, responded to requests from its recipients about where to deliver greetings (at an ice rink or park, for example) and by what means (bicycle or ice skate). This is a lot of work, of course, but consider the rewards: not only do you get direct, attentive, sustained engagement by your supporters, but you involve them in the project and you make it fun and entertaining. Granted, fun is not appropriate for every outreach communication, but video is a flexible medium, and you can create stories to suit your purposes.

With such an attentive, engaged audience, possibilities seem endless, as long as you’re keeping it authentic. As a young people’s medium, Snapchat should be waded into cautiously by those of us who might still not get it, but once you get the hang of its conventions and etiquette, you’ll have another great tool for keeping your community involved.

Nonprofit Hub article on Do Something’s Valentine project: http://www.nonprofithub.org/social-media/dosomething-org-can-teach-snapchat/


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Just For Nonprofits: Engagement In A Snap - Executive Leadership Articles

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