The multimedia messaging app known as Snapchat, recognizable by its iconic outline of a ghost on a bright yellow background, takes the top spot for the most popular social media platform among U.S. teenagers and young adult internet users, beating out Instagram, Facebook, and others.
Snapchat boasted an impressive 191 million daily active users at the close of the first quarter of 2018. In response to Snapchat’s dominance within the social media space, businesses, celebrities, and musicians have turned to Snapchat to reach wider audiences and especially younger populations.
Rich opportunities also exist for nonprofits looking to use Snapchat to boost their fundraising efforts. However, if you have never used the app before or if this is your first venture into using it for a purpose other than taking pictures of yourself or your pets with cute filters, some of the most powerful features with the largest potential impact are easy to miss.
This article covers some of the most effective strategies for using Snapchat as a fundraising tool.
Reach a Wider Audience
Snapchat has several features that can help you expand your reach to new potential supporters. As discussed, it is one of the best ways to connect with younger audiences, who use Snapchat more than any other social media platform.
Snapchat also offers unique ways to connect with those around you, such as the use of Geofilters. A Geofilter is a graphic overlay that can only be accessed within a specified location.
The geographical boundary around the area in which the Geofilter is accessible is called the Geofence.
Here are some examples of Geofilters in action:
You must have location services turned on to allow the app to see your location for Geofilters to become available. To see which ones are available in your location, swipe left a few times on the “Edit” screen of a photo and you’ll be able to scroll horizontally to choose the one you like.
You can also create your own custom Geofilter. This can be a fantastic promotional tool if you are hosting an event, as others using Snapchat near you will be able to see and use your Geofilter.
It is free to create a personal Geofilter (such as for a special event) that does not contain any branding or logos and does not promote a business or brand. You can also purchase one with branding, such as your organization’s name or logo, for $5 per 20,000 square feet.
Snapcodes are another way to make it easy for people to connect with you. A Snapcode is a code generated by Snapchat that people can scan to instantly follow your account instead of searching for your username.
This works in two ways: Open up your Snapcode in the app and have your prospective follower point their Snapchat camera at it, or: Screenshot your code and send it to your prospective follower, who can then follow you by selecting “Add by Snapcode” in the app and uploading the screenshot.
The black dots around the ghost icon in this photo make up this user’s Snapcode:
Develop Your Organization’s Voice
One reason that social media has become so important for organizations of all kinds is that it provides a way for your audience to connect not only with your goals and mission but with the people behind your organization.
Snapchat is ideal for sharing snippets of your day-to-day processes. Providing a look behind the scenes is a great way to increase intimacy with your supporters.
Snapchat also provides many ways to share humorous or creative posts, which help foster positive connections with your supporters. With the use of Snapchat filters and the ability to add emojis, text, and drawings to your photos, you can quickly take a fun selfie with a donor, board member, or volunteer and share it with your followers.
Nonprofits may also choose to use Snapchat to share important facts about their mission, and the app makes it easy to present this information in an eye-catching way.
Show What’s Happening in Real Time
The immediate nature of Snapchat is great for showing off what’s happening at your organization right now, in real time. Snapchat is the perfect medium for posting live updates and videos of events, and for showing the everyday work you are doing and what your donors’ gifts are going towards right now in this moment.
The key to maintaining followers’ interest on Snapchat is to snap consistently and often – and to mix up the content of your snaps so that you are not always posting a call to action (i.e., asking for donations).
Your calls to action will be more effective when interspersed with material that helps your supporters relate to you and feel a personal connection with you and your organization’s mission.
Snapchat Tip: Try a live interview! Pull aside one of your volunteers during an event and share a snap video of the two of you talking about why the work you’re doing is important and how followers’ continued support will help.
Use Visual Storytelling to Increase Engagement
A Snapchat Story is a collection of posts visible to all your Snapchat followers for 24 hours. Snapchat stories are a popular way to update followers on what’s been going on with your organization. You can post a story of just photos, just videos, or a mix of both.
Easily monitor how many people have viewed your story, shown by the eye icon next to the preview of your story. Tap the icon to see who your viewers are.
Snapchat is one of the most popular social media channels right now for good reason – it encourages sharing of quick updates, live videos, and the most current information available, with a plethora of options for visual enhancements, and it makes sense to use these features to your advantage for promoting your nonprofit.
New features are coming out all the time, so be sure to stay up to date and make use of everything that you have at your fingertips!