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Snapchat Geofilters for Your Public Library

snapchat-mobile-app-1024x682Snapchat is tremendously popular among members of the Millennial generation, an important audience for public library marketers. This group makes up the largest share of the workforce, and they are the largest living generation. Their influence will affect us for decades.

As public library marketers, we need to continually innovate new ways to reach this demographic. That’s why I’ve started to explore all the opportunities Snapchat has to offer marketing professionals.

Which brings me to the recent launch of the New Jersey State Library’s Snapchat Geofilter. We’re really excited about this, and I not only want to share this news, but also inspire you to create a Snapchat Geofilter for your library.

So, what is a geofilter? It is a location-based piece of graphical overlay that users can apply to their Snaps. The artwork enhances the user’s photo with information about their current location. For example, a local university can use this feature to create an overlay of the school’s name and mascot.

Users then can add the overlay to a selfie taken on campus, and then share the image with friends. It’s a fantastic way to promote the university by building awareness.

Creating an geofilter for your public library requires some design skill and tech know-how. If you’re adept at Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, you can design the overlay yourself. Other options are to hire a graphic designer or to find a student volunteer to help you create the artwork. Be sure to follow Snapchat’s guidelines carefully, however, otherwise your design could be rejected.

From the guidelines, here are the artwork requirements:

  • All graphics used must be 100% original.
  • No logos or trademarks. The only exception is that Snapchat will accept college and university logos submitted by authorized officials from those schools.
  • No photographs.
  • No hashtags.
  • Be creative and make it visually compelling.
  • Don’t cover up too much of the screen.
  • Make sure it’s relevant to the location and something that people will want to use.

In addition, the web-optimized, transparent PNG files should be 1080 pixels wide and 1920 pixels high, and sized at no more than 300 KB.

When you submit your geofilter to Snapchat, have a good description ready. As an example, here’s the one we used for the state library:

The New Jersey State Library provides services for all New Jersey libraries. The non-profit statewide library acts as a resource for patrons with a variety of books, electronic resources, activities/events/meetings and more. The library helps patrons to achieve their personal, educational and professional goals. The New Jersey State Library is a great place for our community!

During the submission process, Snapchat will ask you to define your geofence. Note that it can only cover the relevant area. For public libraries, you will probably need to limit the geofence to your building. Snapchat prohibits geofences from covering an entire country, state or province.

If Snapchat approves your geofilter, any user who enters your building or the parameters of your geofence will be able to snap a photo, overlay it with your artwork, and then share it with a friend.

Fun and creative filters are likely to capture the attention of your visitors, and it’s easy to see how geofilters can get Millennials excited to share their enthusiasm for the library. I encourage you to test this feature out and let me know how well it works for you.

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The next time you visit the New Jersey State Library, we invite you to take a Snap and add our overlay. Take a selfie, post it, and tag us!
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