How to Create a Snapchat Contest


In the beginning of January I started hearing a lot of buzz about the privacy chat app Snapchat. From NPR to Mashable, everyone was discussing this new app. One fortuidious morning, during my daily Feedly perusal, I saw articles by both TechCrunch and Mashable reporting on a study that found that over 77% of college students use Snapchat every day. This started my wheels turning and I decided to launch a Snapchat contest for my library. Listed below are the steps I took to create the contest.

Step 1: Design 

In keeping with the National Library Week theme, “Lives Change at Your Library,” I created a contest that required participants to create  a video, in 10 seconds or less, explaining what book changed their world outlook and why. To enter, contestants had to:

  1. Add our library as a friend
  2. Snap the video
  3. Send us the video snap

Step 2: Promote

I created a Libguide with the contest instructions. I also created a terms and conditions section. I made it clear that we would be saving the videos and sharing them on our social media accounts. Because Snapchat is chat app with a focus on private sharing, it was important to inform students that the videos were going to be used publicly. We promoted the contest by:

  1. Email: I sent both an email to the student body and a separate one to the faculty. Faculty support is huge for the success of our contests.
  2. Social Media: We promoted the contest on our Twitter and Pinterest accounts. Our public services team made an awesome animated GIF that we used on Pinterest.
  3. Flyers: I worked with our public services librarian to have flyers made and distributed across campus and in the library

Step 3: View Submissions

If you’ve ever used Snapchat you know that once you view a snap, it self destructs in a matter of seconds. To avoid this, I used the free iOS app SnapSave (there is also a version for Andriod called Snap’N’Save). Snap Save allows you to view and save all the snaps directly to your device. The way you do this is by opening the snaps in Snap Save and not Snapchat. If you open it in Snapchat the snap will self destruct. Once contestants sent me their snaps I saved them using Snap Save and also sent them a reply snap thanking them for their entry.

Step 4: Post Submissions

I posted all video submissions on my YouTube channel and the Libguide.

Step 5: Judge

I asked faculty and staff members from the marketing, computer science, and education departments to serve as judges. I created a rubric using Google Drive and all submissions were sent electronically. Once the winners were chosen I sent them a snap letting them know they won. Below is one of the snaps I sent. You’re limited on text characters so you’ll have to get artistically creative (please don’t judge my wretched art work!). The first place winner won a $50 Visa gift card, and 2nd and 3rd place winners were awarded a $25 Starbucks gift card.


All in all the contest was fun to create and the students who entered had a lot of fun creating the videos. One of the faculty members offered her students extra credit for entering, which was  a big help for encouraging contest participation. I wish there had been more entries, but plan on doing a similar contest next semester with more promotion.

Has your organization used Snapchat? If so please comment below!

Want to read more? Check out:

23 Mobile Things: Snapchat

Promote Your Library With Snapchat Stories

Snapchat for Your Library

4 thoughts on “How to Create a Snapchat Contest

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