Snapchat and Your Bar

Hannah Kiddoo

The Missouri Bar Association


We're not a regular bar.  We're a cool bar. 
When you work with social media on a daily basis, it’s hard not to get caught up in the latest trends (let’s take a moment of silence to remember all those past Vine and Google+ accounts…) Today, there’s a lot of chatter about Snapchat. But is it right for your bar’s brand? As with many platforms, it depends.

When deciding whether you should get an account, keep in mind who your audience would be, what your ROI goals are and how much time you have to devote to your content.

The Missouri Bar has been using Snapchat for just over a year. Here are a few reasons why we think it is a great way to connect with our members.

It’s a way to share with young lawyers.
Snapchat is the most-used social media platform among 12 to 24-year-olds. This, like most social media platforms, is changing as older generations download and embrace the app, but younger users still dominate the platform. Members of this group include law students, those fresh out of law school, as well as future law students who will one day be Missouri Bar members.

By paying attention to how younger lawyers were using their phones at events, it was soon obvious that they were interested in Snapchat. So we decided to be there, too, and many are pleasantly surprised by our presence. I’ll never forget an interaction I had with a young lawyer taking photos on her phone at an Enrollment Ceremony. I mentioned to her that we had a Snapchat geofilter enabled if she wanted to use it. She quickly told me that she had already found it and used it – and that she thought it was cool that we had an account.

We’re forming genuine connections.
Since the launch of our account, we’ve gained around 45 followers and friends. While that might seem like a small number, most of those connections have formed organically – and the interactions we’ve garnered from them have been well-worth the time and effort we put into the content.

Examples include:

  • A lawyer snapping us a photo of the newly acquired deskbooks collection in his office.
  • A member using the chat function to say thanks when we congratulated new lawyers during enrollment ceremonies.
  • A user taking a screenshot of information shared in our story.
  • A lawyer snapping us a photo of the Pokemon in his office after we snapped a photo of those found at our bar center.

We understand that not everyone wants to mix personal social media with professional affairs, and the same is true on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, but being in the digital spaces where our members are allows them to if they want.

It’s fast, fun and personal.
The content we share on Snapchat is similar to what we are already sharing on other outlets, but we can be more creative in our approach. For example, we use geofilters to help users get a better understanding of where we’re posting from, sketch on images to drive home a point and incorporate relevant emoji. If your bar president or executive director is game, you could even consider creating a bitmoji designed in their image.

In the case of The Missouri Bar, our team members were already using Snapchat on a personal level. That meant less time learning its ins and outs (though, admittedly, they change often!) and a better understanding of what users are looking for from brands. Sharing content via Snapchat felt like a natural step, and its intuitive design makes the process that much easier.

On the fence about getting an account? Test the waters with these strategies:
Instagram trial
If your brand already has Instagram, consider using the platform’s story feature, which is similar to Snapchat. If you have several views on your stories, you can infer that your members are excited about the type of content you are sharing – and would likely watch your content on Snapchat.
Set up a personal account
Do a pressure-free test run with an account in your own name. This can help you get a good feel for the functions and allows you to follow similar brands to see how they’re using the platform.
Create a geofilter and see what use it receives
Snapchat makes it easy to track who uses custom geofilters. You can create one for around $5 and see what kind of use it gets at an event. The Missouri Bar’s most successful geofilter ran during a New Lawyer Enrollment Ceremony. It lasted five hours, cost around $43 and had 4,276 views. If you have positive results, you know you have members who are already using the platform. Connect with them there!

The bottom line is that Snapchat is sticking around – at least for now. Brands are quickly buying into Snapchat, creating everything from ads and sponsored lenses to featured stories. As this type of content continues to grow, users will come to expect and even embrace it. While your bar might not be able to drop $750,000 for “big brand” advertising, it can certainly create similar content on its own account. And as Snapchat continues to grow and improve regional-based pushes, opportunities for adopting these options could be more feasible.

Snapchat is not for every association, but if your members are already there we suggest giving it some consideration.

P.S. Follow The Missouri Bar’s account, mobarnews!