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Just For Nonprofits: Making Your Event Snappy
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Just For Nonprofits: Making Your Event Snappy - Executive Leadership Articles

Just For Nonprofits: Making Your Event Snappy

Executive Leadership Articles

Just For Nonprofits: Making Your Event Snappy

When we last examined Snapchat in late February, we took a look at some of its newest features, including “My Story,” and we explored creative uses for the nonprofit looking to engage its younger supporters. Since then, Snapchat has a new feature: on-demand “geofilters” for special events, a simple yet powerful tool for spreading the word of your events as they are taking place.

To review, Snapchat is a mobile video-photo-messaging app that is the darling of the Millennial set, and it is quickly growing in popularity among other (read: older) demographics. Unlike similar apps, when content is sent directly to followers, it is deleted from the device automatically, so it cannot be saved or forwarded (there are workarounds to this safety, so users will be well-served to keep this in mind and exercise due caution). In addition to sending messages directly to followers, users can save content to My Story, a collection of the past day’s videos and photos, viewable multiple times but deleted after 24 hours.

Multiple features keep things fresh and fun for avid users, some of them changing on a daily basis. For example, when shooting a short video message, users can apply sophisticated animations to their subjects, such as dog-ears and muzzles that affix themselves to a person’s face, even moving in the video so they stay with their subject. Less sophisticated (but just as fun) are the ability to add captions, video effects (such as slow motion and reverse video), and geofilters, Snapchat’s name for pre-designed graphics available only when the mobile device is located within certain geographic areas. A University of Your State geofilter can only be applied when the Snapchatter is sending video or photos from the university’s campus, and a Your City geofilter (perhaps with a city insignia or some other civic symbol) can only be applied within the city limits.

Custom geofilters, available to all, have been a feature for about as long as the pre-packaged geofilters, but only a couple of weeks ago did Snapchat introduce “geofilters on demand,” which are not only custom-made and available to users within a carefully defined geographic space, but also for defined periods of time, so that parents throwing a birthday party for their child at the local park can make custom “Happy Birthday Billy” geofilters available to guests at the park between noon and three. The price for this service varies based on the size of the geographical area (20,000 to 5,000,000 square feet) and the length of time it will be available (an hour to a month). It comes to $5 on the extreme low end, and thousands at the upper limit.

The Snapchat website (snapchat.com/geofilters) provides specifications for geofilter submissions. You’ll need a transparent PNG 1080 pixels wide by 1920 pixels high (your graphics people will know what to do) that looks good and doesn’t cover the whole space, and you’ll need about one business day for your custom geofilter to be approved. The Snapchat website offers templates in Illustrator and Photoshop format. Once everything’s worked out, you can publicize ahead of time the availability of the custom geofilter, and encourage attendees to use it, the way you would encourage them to use whatever hashtag you’ve decided upon. For the duration of your fundraiser, service project, fun fair, auction, or awareness event, you can be assured that the younger people in attendance will be Snapping away, spreading word of their involvement. Nobody can resist a cool, unique geotag, and when people receive photos or video with these geotags, they pay close attention.

If all this seems baffling to you, you’re not alone. Seasoned social media veterans over the age of thirty express how old and puzzled they feel when they stumble through their first few attempts to make sense of Snapchat. For this reason, you may want to give an on-demand geofilter a test run, well in advance of your event. Have your graphics people create it, your IT people set it up, and your young people demonstrate it. They’ll be more than happy to dress up their snaps with some unique geofilter bling, and you’ll see how excited they are to send it out to the world.

There’s no denying Snapchat’s enormous popularity, but there’s definitely some escaping it, because of its behind-the-scenes, private nature. You can remain blissfully unaware of this strange over-sharing obsession, or you can jump aboard and harness it. Make continued use of your usual channels, but don’t leave out Snapchat when forming your word-of-mouth strategy. Young people can’t get enough of Snapchat, and the new geofilters on demand are going to be an enormous draw, one you won’t want to miss out on. Snap to it!

 

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Just For Nonprofits: Making Your Event Snappy - Executive Leadership Articles

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