Social Media Strategist
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Social Media marketing, strategy and professional development blog for Jon-Stephen Stansel, a social media strategist living in Austin, Texas.

Snapchat Doesn’t Care About Your Branding Standards…and That’s Okay.

-by Jon-Stephen Stansel

So, you’ve spent hours creating a Snapchat Geofilter for your school. You’ve made sure it fits all of your branding guidelines, gotten approval from your creative director, maybe even shown it to a few higher-ups at the university who’ve heard that Snapchat is the “in” thing right now. You carefully write up a description, map out your geofence, and holding your breath you submit the filter to Snapchat. A few days later, you get the dreaded rejection email. But no big deal right? Snapchat rejects filters all the time. You’ll make some changes and try again. But then you see it. There’s a new filter on your campus. You didn’t design it…you don’t know who did. The colors are off, the typeface isn’t one of those on your approved list. It’s not a bad filter, it’s just not quite right. How did Snapchat approve this filter but not yours?

This is a common story with Snapchat’s Community Geofilters an college campuses. They can be and often are created by anyone whether they work for the university, are students, or just designers in the community who want to put their work out there. Some amateur designed filters are amazing and others…not so much. So, what do you do when you come across these filters on you campus? You have a few options.

  1. Educate potential designers to create better filters.

A lot of community filters come from students who are studying graphic design at your school. We want to encourage them to learn and develop their skills. Remember, they are designing campus filters because they love the school. Reach out to faculty, ask them to make Geofilter design a class project if possible. Offer to go speak to their classes and talk about your brand standards and give feedback on their designs. Share your knowledge and hopefully futures community filters will be a better match.

2. Accept the fact that Community Geofilters aren’t always going to meet your branding standards.

It’s easy to confuse the location of Snapchat’s Geofilters with your campus’s property. They only work on our campus, therefore they are on our campus, therefore we should control them, right? Wrong. They are on Snapchat’s property. They don’t exist on campus, they exist on one of Snapchat’s servers. Accept it. Embrace it. Community filters are created by community members who love your institution. They want to add to it. Let them. We have several filters on the Texas State University campus, many were created by the team in University Marketing, but the most popular ones were created by the community. Sure, they don’t match our guidelines, but mostly the filters look good and they are embraced by the campus. Let it happen

The filter on the left is community produced. The one on the right came from our marketing office and meets brand guidelines.

3. Step in when needed.

In the event that a Snapchat filter needs to be taken down, Snapchat offers support. At Texas State, we’ve successfully had two filters removed from our campus. One that was promoting a local entertainment promotions company in violation of Snapchat’s terms of service (Community filters are not allowed to promote businesses) and one thatt was just really ugly. (It looked like it was made on MS Paint and used Comic Sans. I just couldn’t allow it.) In both cases, Snapchat removed the offending filters within 24 hours. I recommend only using this option when absolutely necessary. Remember, Snapchat is under no obligation to remove the filters.