Our annual Youth Evangelism Conference (YEC) “Speak” drew in nearly 900 students from the ages of 12 to 18 from across Alabama. It’s a time for them to be recharged and encouraged to share their faith with fellow students.

When I began working at the State Board of Missions in 2012, we started using a hashtag – normally, the initials YEC followed by the year – and would place the students’ tweets on the screen using an integration in ProPresenter to promote usage. After the newest release of ProPresenter, Instagram was added to the mix.

Snapchat, with its younger skewing demographics, was one of those areas that I knew that we needed to be using to communicate. The name of our event itself was changing and extra thought about branding the new name was an added factor.

I had read about other events using a Snapchat geofilter, a way of targeting users in a specific location, to enable a special graphic that could be overlaid on a person’s picture. Using this function would help us accomplish two tasks, introducing the new brand and helping us communicate with our young audience in a social media realm.

Snapchat has made it fairly simple to create a design and submit it via their site: Snapchat.com. For events like ours, the designs are to be submitted as on-demand. You choose the date, times and the location, and Snapchat will tell you the cost. The first area I drew was too large, so I downsized it to just the auditorium and reduced the time available, all with the goal of staying as close as possible to a $20 budget.

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Design Example

One thing to note: You will need to be able to submit a design that does not have a background. Popular methods include using a program like Photoshop which can be costly. Canva is a low-cost alternative that can help churches on a budget accomplish this.

I received approval on my first try, largely in part to following the instructions. Don’t be surprised if your first design is rejected as this is common. You can submit designs many days in advance, so try to allow time in case your first try doesn’t work.

The next task was making sure the students at the event knew it was there. I created a slide to be displayed on the announcement screens promoting the availability of the custom frame. I included the Snapchat logo along with a mockup of what someone would look like taking a selfie and applying our custom filter.

As the event began, it was awesome to watch as the students took advantage of it. Not only were they snapping with it, they were sharing the images on their Twitter and Instagram accounts!

Our total investment was $20.69 for the geofence for 30 hours. Snapchat provided analytics that showed it was used 187 times. Those 187 snaps were viewed 8,800 times. Breaking that down, it was slightly more than 11 cents per use. Even better, it was 2/10 of a cent per person who viewed one of those pictures.

Ultimately, Snapchat doesn’t provide a true clickable call-to-action but the value we found was in adding another level of interactivity, relevance and branding for our event. Quickly, Snapchat geofilters have moved into a must-use tool during our future events![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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