By now you’ve probably heard plenty about the social app Snapchat. With roughly 26 million users in the United States, Snapchat topped the iOS downloads chart in May, beating out Facebook and Apple applications.

So Snapchat is a big deal. But why does it matter for your audience? And why should you care?

It turns out Snapchat appeals largely to young people. Sixty percent of U.S. Snapchat users are between the ages of 13-34. According to one poll, 77 percent of college students use Snapchat daily. The social app is perfect for reaching millennials because it’s tech-savvy, fun and full of easily digestible content.

Bottom line: Snapchat is an excellent platform for engaging with your audience and showing a different side of your business.

Let’s discuss how you can get at college students’ levels and connect with them through Snapchat.

Tap into Their Impulsivity

OK, so maybe this isn’t the best reason to be on Snapchat, but it can work in your favor.

Millennials have been known to be suckers for impulse buys. They can also be impulsive on social media. Snapchat is perfect for that. While other forms of content (i.e., emails, texts) require a person to sit down, consume the material and then decide what to do with it, Snapchat makes messages only available once.

If you send out a Snapchat, a user must reply as soon as they’ve opened the message, otherwise they miss their opportunity. What this means is that people have to make split-second decisions and engage in real-time communication. Since millennials are naturally impulsive, this platform can open up new conversation between your school and its prospects.

Build a Closer Community

Another element of Snapchat is that it can help your college or university build a stronger community. Many schools struggle to build interactive communities, particularly because they have people all over – alumni, students, prospects, faculty, etc. It can be hard to bring everyone together. Snapchat provides an array of features that help you build a closer community.

For instance, the social app utilizes emojis to facilitate quick and easy back-and-forth conversations. There are also badges and rankings that encourage users to interact with friends consistently. This setup really works, too, because people enjoy earning rewards and becoming more influential on the network. In the meantime, you can benefit from the constant communication that takes place.

Give Them an Inside Perspective

Another awesome feature is that Snapchat can give far-away prospects a close-up glimpse of your college or university. Snapchat allows users from all over the globe to share their stories thanks to Story Explorer and live story streams. These features have given people inside looks at what it’s like to be in other cities, states or countries. And for those of us on tight budgets, let me tell you, it’s an awesome privilege.

You can use the same features to bring your school to life for a student that is in a different region. Bring prospects into your school and show them what a day at your college is like. Introduce them to the freshmen dorms or bring them along to the first football game of the season. Not only will prospects enjoy it but also students studying abroad or alums working internationally.

Share the Full Story

Just recently, Snapchat shared that it was introducing a new set of stories called Memories. With Memories, users can save their Snaps and combine them with other photos on their phone to create custom stories. The stories can then be shared with Snapchat friends.

The appeal to Memories is that it allows users to tell a complete story – not just part of it. Rather than uploading a few photos to Facebook or sharing a short Tweet on Twitter, Memories gives people the option to share a complete “social story.” And as we know, storytelling is an amazing marketing tool for brands.

Think about the types of stories your college or university may want to share. Freshman orientation. The first day of move-ins. Homecoming festivities. Graduation weekend. The list goes on. Give prospects the whole story and let them see what it’s like to be a part of your college or university. If a single photo can say a thousand words, imagine what a dozen can!

Be Where They Want You to Be

Millennials are pretty awesome people. And do you know what makes them even more awesome? They are open to brands being on social media, and they aren’t afraid to follow them, interact with them or take them up on special promotions. In other words, your audience expects you to be on Snapchat and are willing to engage with you.

Consider that 73 percent of college students said they would open a Snapchat from a brand they knew. Sixty-nine percent of college students would be more inclined to open a Snapchat from a brand with a picture, and 67 percent agreed that having a discount or promotion is something they would like to receive. Also, 58 percent of college kids said they would be more likely to make a purchase if they were sent a coupon on Snapchat.

Of course, you can’t really send out college tuition coupons, but the fact that millennials are very willing to interact with brands online says a lot. Regular contact with prospects on Snapchat can make the difference between them choosing your program over another.

Final Thoughts

Snapchat is an awesome social app that is here to stay. If you’ve been hesitant to advertise or start building a following on the network, we hope that you feel more confident now. We realize that there are a lot of social networks out there, and it’s hard to know which ones to spend your resources on. Since your audience largely consists of millennials, there’s no doubt that Snapchat is an effective tool to have in your lineup.