Snapchat student content producer guidelines

If you are invited to be a student content-producer for Willamette University’s Snapchat account, you must accept and adhere to these guidelines.

Willamette University’s official Snapchat account tells the university’s story with an emphasis on the College of Liberal Arts. Content should build community among current students and provide prospective students an authentic experience of Bearcat life. Content producers snap diverse, interactive narratives based on their passion for and participation in university organizations, events and academics.

Quick tips — story, audience, showcase (SAS)

Story: Tell a story. Set the scene. Where are you? Who are the characters? Why are you telling this story? How does it tie into the greater Willamette narrative? How does it end? Snapchat is linear. You can’t insert snaps into a published story. Prepare ahead. Outline or storyboard your posts. Follow your “snap skeleton” but on location adjust and improvise. It’s a give and take.

Audience: Typical viewers are interested in Willamette, under 30 and may be prospective students. Keep snaps authentic, fun, upbeat, clean and respectful. Use common sense. Avoid political affiliations, profanity, sexual references and things that would alienate viewers.

Showcase: What do you love about Willamette? What’s unique? Showcase it. Show viewers what you and they know and love, or provide a different, insider’s view. Go behind the scenes; if needed, ask permission to gain access. Interview organizers, club members, faculty, etc. Make sure interviewees understand what you’re doing and are comfortable being featured (see below).

Snapchat Dos

  • Introduce yourself at events and announce that you’re snapping, so those who don’t want to be featured can say, “no.”
  • Be friendly and gracious. Respect people’s boundaries and thank participants.
  • Be positive. Represent the university and its students, faculty, staff and larger community in a positive light.
  • Ask permission. When featuring specific individuals, get their verbal consent before recording them. If the situation demands recording them first, then ask for consent after. When in a public place or not focusing on a specific person or group of people, you don’t need to get consent. When in doubt, ask permission.
  • Have fun and be creative. Use your personal account to experiment. Follow what other universities are doing on Snapchat; improve upon their best ideas.
  • Do over. If a subject stumbles or says something offensive. Ask nicely to reshoot the snap without the profanity, etc. If they resist, thank them for their time and move on.
  • Plan ahead. Storyboard, outline, arrange interviews, etc. Do a preview snap before you cover an event. Prepare some snaps ahead of time; Tom can show you how.
  • Coordinate with other content producers. Only one person can be logged in at a time. When necessary, communicate by text to avoid knocking someone out of the account.
  • Shoot vertically.
  • Use campus filters when appropriate (an athletics filter for a sporting event).
  • Share Willamette’s snapcode when you’re out. Help build an audience.
  • Adhere to the university’s Students Rights & Responsibilities, Standards of Conduct and copyright policies. No alcohol, drugs, profanity, nudity or degradation in posts.
  • End the story properly. Thank your viewers. Use the link feature to give them a call to action about more information pertaining to your department, org or event.
  • Post snaps to the university’s “My Story” and, if you like, also to “Our Story.”  (Do not post to “My story friends only.”)

Snapchat Don’ts

  • When in doubt, don’t. If you feel a snap is questionable in content, don’t post it until you’re able to connect with one of the administrators via phone or text.
  • Don’t log in at the same time. Only one person can be signed in at a time.
  • Don’t change any account settings. Don’t follow accounts, don’t add friends and don’t send individual snaps.
  • Don’t overuse selfies. Think of yourself as a reporter and storyteller, you’re part of the story, but the focus shouldn’t be only you. Selfies must advance the narrative.
  • Don’t take political positions. Your subject might, but you must remain neutral.
  • Don’t snap while driving. This is illegal and extremely dangerous.
  • Don’t be disappointed or upset if an administrator deletes a post. They are the curators. You might not be aware of other issues happening behind the scenes.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the administrators. We’re here to help.
  • Don’t share or change the password. This is a violation of the university’s Responsible Use of Information Technology Resources policy. The password is provided for off-campus takeovers when use of University Communications’ phone is not possible, such as for overseas takeovers.

Roles and contacts

Administrators: University Communications staff members who oversee content, track followers and metrics, and produce snaps.

First contact: Tom Mayhall Rastrelli, director of digital communications

Secondary contact: Elizabeth Borregomanager of digital enrollment marketing

If you are selected for a takeover, the director of digital communications will contact you via email with more details and to set up a meeting to go over the guidelines and plan your takeover.


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