The University Daily Kansan: Snapchat Development

After many weeks of research and development, The University Daily Kansan unveiled its newest form of social media: Snapchat.

This was a collaborative effort between Spring 2015 editor in chief, Brian Hillix, digital editor Stephanie Bickel, social media editor Hannah Barling and myself. The response online has been tremendous: 520+ followers in the first three days after its launch. We started this project with humble origins by asking our students what they wanted out of their news experience. Through focus groups, the digital team and I found that our students were pushing back on the traditional media types such as print products and online websites. Many asked for brief, creative and humorous ways to present content. Thus the idea was born.

WHY SNAPCHAT?

First, we’re a student run publication that writes mainly for students. Business Insider reported in 2014 that 82 million people use the app, most of which are between the ages of 13-25. Using Snapchat may allow for us to connect better with our primary audience.

Second, Snapchat is arguably one of the more conversational forms of social media. It allows for creative freedom that can’t be expressed the same way with Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. We will be able to use an even more brief way of presenting the news, promotions, etc. Using emojis, filters, voice audio and videos may allow us to connect with our readers on a more personal level. One of our goals is to give the Kansan a bit more personality.

Third, Snapchat allows its users to track content, like other social media, using basic analytical features. The same report from BI that I mentioned earlier showed that the My Story feature grew by 100% in a two month gap between May and June 2014. Using the My Story feature, we will be able to see who sees our content, when they see it and what works best for this particular medium after it gains momentum.

Lastly, we will be able to give our audience a big scope into the campus, Lawrence and potentially the greater KC area. Snapchat will allow our audience to consume Kansan news in a way like never before in that it allows for a visual curation of news. In case you didn’t know, we can save all Kansan News content and upload it online or put in print, given that it is a good visual.

The Kansan.News Snapchat account posts content such as breaking news, campus happenings, stand-up interviews and promotions.

This expansion of our social media sparked great reader engagement. Our followers sent in snaps regarding stories that they saw online or in print, gave us feedback on promotions and even sent us story tips.

As Director of Art and Brand Culture for the Spring 2015 semester, I truly feel that this was a success for The Kansan in that we were able to reach our readers in a way that is more personable.

Visit Kansan.com, follow @KansanNews on Twitter and add Kansan.News on Snapchat to follow what The University Daily Kansan is doing.

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