How to Embrace Snapchat as a ChurchBy Angelina Burkholder
Snapchat. What started out as a private photo and video messaging app has recently thrown open its marketing arms to businesses and brands with the addition of Snap Stories. Snapchat is now anybody’s game. And let me tell you, it’s a goldmine, waiting to be harvested.
Most marketers find it difficult to reach pre-teens, teenagers and young adults through traditional marketing methods. And as a church, competing for your youth’s attention in today’s noisy world can seem almost impossible. But with Snapchat, you have the chance to change that.
According to DMR, over one billion snap stories are viewed every day, giving you the PERFECT opportunity to connect with this notoriously unreachable demographic in a new, compelling and personal way.
So let’s get crackin’ on that snappin’.
How to Use Snapchat
We like to think of Snapchat as the “in-between” social media platform. Welcome to every marketer’s dream—an easy-to-use platform that doesn’t require a lot of time to manage and still has the potential to yield incredible results.
To begin, Snapchat users take a photo or record a video and then either share it privately with their friends or add it to their public story. That’s where you come in.
Your videos can last up to 10 seconds and you can set viewing limits on photos ranging from 1 to 10 seconds. You can then add an unlimited amount of these photos and videos to your snap story, which stays available to your audience for 24 hours and then disappears. Utilizing Snapchat never requires as much detail as a Facebook post or campaign, AND there’s no pressure to create a gorgeous, unforgettable photo like Instagram. Snapchat gives you the chance to show your light-hearted side without any of the “appear perfect” pressure.
Through a well-organized and fun snap story, you can quickly grab the attention of your youth group and young adults. The best part? You have that person’s undivided attention for the duration of the snap. When you add a video to Facebook or Instagram, most users will scroll right over the video, only catching the first few seconds. But when your followers view your snap story, it takes up their full screen, demanding their undivided attention. Bingo!
When to Use Snapchat
Snapchat is the perfect avenue to engage your students and young adults who are already invested in your programs while giving your prospect and curious audience the chance to peak behind the curtain without feeling pressure to commit to you first.
For example, let’s say you invite a special guest to speak at a Wednesday night youth group. You take photos and snap short videos of the night, adding them to your story throughout the event. Your students can then relive the entertaining night for 24 hours and remember tidbits of advice or memories that they had missed or forgotten. At the same time, you can also engage students who were unable to attend or were perhaps debating whether or not to attend with a live, personal look into the night.
With Snapchat, you can set up and implement quick little campaigns to advertise upcoming events, new classes, sermon series, etc. Because of the quick turnover of snap stories, your campaigns can and should be much more informal (less stress for you) when compared to the rest of your church marketing. It’s even acceptable for it to feel thrown together! Remember who you’re marketing to—students and young adults. This isn’t the time to break out your major-givers-over-65-years-old strategies. Above all, your snap stories should feel light and fun—they should always provide either an entertainment or inspirational value.
So Why Snapchat?
When it comes to Snapchat, think of it as a relationship platform rather than a broadcast platform. Chances are you already spend a lot of time broadcasting about your church, your events, and your offerings through your social media, website, and email marketing. Use this marketing opportunity to talk WITH your audience rather than TO them.