The White House is there. Departments of health have accounts. Even departments of wildlife and interior have created Snapchat accounts. But state DOTs are still not embracing the fast-growing social medium popular with teens and young adults.
The exception is Mississippi DOT, which in April partnered with a local Mississippi-based creative firm Godwin Group to engage youth and their parents at a safety fair in Jackson.
According to MDOT’s Rob Pettit, the DOT used custom geofilters to create a unique experience for safety fair attendees.
“Attendance figures for the event were around 1,200, but the figures for our experiment on Snapchat exceeded our goals for testing,” Pettit said. “We found that a Snapchat geofilter is an affordable opportunity to brand a location-based event when trying to reach youth.”
Pettit said MDOT also used a photo prop to help people to find MDOT’s Snapchat account, “mississippidot.”
In all, MDOT said it earned 1,048 views and 30 “snaps.”
According to the 2015 AASHTO State DOT Social Media Survey, 90 percent of state DOTs are using Facebook and even more are using Twitter. Social media have been a tool for many state DOTs for nearly a decade. But just this month, Snapchat surpassed more than 150 million daily users. Twitter, with more than 310 million monthly users is estimated to have 140 million daily active users.
There is clearly a difference between Twitter and Snapchat users. Twitter has proven useful in communicating brief, high-impact messages to broad audiences. Most importantly to DOTs is the ability to share traveler information quickly and efficiently.
Snapchat is completely different, with fewer opportunities for broadcast style information delivery. Even as major brands move to the space to attract the interest of younger consumers, Snapchat remains a unique and challenging place for transportation information.
That’s probably why, for now, Mississippi DOT is among only a few transportation organizations embracing Snapchat.
According to Jarrod Ravencraft, MDOT communication director: “We’ve found Snapchat to be a great engagement tool for Mississippi DOT, especially with our younger audiences at awareness events.”
Check out more details on MDOT’s Snapchat case study at the Godwin Group blog and feel free to “snap” me on Snapchat at “lloyddeanbrown.”