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Schools can be on Snapchat, even without being ON Snapchat

Did you know you can be on Snapchat without actually being on Snapchat? School districts looking for new ways to engage with their students, parents and staff on social media might consider dipping their toes in the water with the ephemeral storytelling app, even if they aren’t ready to commit to managing an account of their own.


Snapchat recently rolled out the ability to turn any web links into snapcodes, which are those yellow-and-black ghost QR codes you see everywhere. When someone scans the code using the Snapchat app, it opens the web link within the app, providing a new way for brands, including schools and districts, to reach their audiences.

Snapcodes are recognizable, eye-catching and can evoke curiosity. By creating snapcodes for information they want to share with students – surveys, announcements, news, schedules, etc. – schools can reach them on a medium they enjoy and understand. Give a kid a URL, and it might get clicked. Give a kid a snapcode, and opening that same link becomes an engaging activity.

TRY IT NOW: If you have the Snapchat app on your phone, there are two ways you can use these codes.

1) Point the in-app camera at the code below if you are viewing this blog on a different device. Either press and hold the screen to scan the code, or take a quick photo of it. When you do either, it will give you the option to "open link" and take you, within the Snapchat app, to the website assigned to this code.

2) Take a photo or screenshot of the code below and then open the Snapchat app. Swipe down to get to your settings screen, and then click "Add Friends," followed by "Snapcode." Click the photo containing the below code, and Snapchat will scan it, prompting you to open the link within the app. (NOTE: This option was added more recently. Blog updated to reflect this change on 3/6/17.)


Another way schools and districts can engage with audiences via Snapchat (without launching an account) is through the use of on-demand geofilters.

Filters are overlays placed on top of a photo or video snap, and geofilters are tethered to a specific location. On-demand geofilters are purchased by brands and individuals from Snapchat and allow the buyer to set a geo-fence. Pricing is based on the size of the geofence and the amount of time the geofilter is active. In that set amount of time, anyone on Snapchat who is within that geofence can see and use the geofilter.

The creation process is simple, and they can be built on PhotoShop, Illustrator or using templates provided on the Snapchat website. Snapchat must review and approve all on-demand geofilters before they go live, so plan ahead in case changes are required ahead of an event.

On-demand geofilters can be created and used for:

  • Individual campuses

  • Clubs within schools

  • Sports games

  • School events

  • Holidays

  • Campus events, like Red Ribbon Week

  • Homecoming

  • First day of school

  • Picture day

  • Last day of school

  • Graduation

  • …and more

Drive West Communications works with school districts with all levels of social media prowess. We recognize that school communications teams are often short on people and short on time. Snapchat snapcodes and geofilters are two simple ways to take your social media game to the next level while also improving engagement and relationships with students, parents and staff.


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