Adam Dudley with Diane Zakaria
In 2014, Gary Vaynerchuk predicted that Snapchat would be the next big thing, and that by 2016 it would be more mainstream. A revolutionary app mainly used by millennial’s for sending silly videos and for sexting has now reached the business world. So why are global brands like McDonald’s, institutions like CNN and business moguls like Gary Vaynerchuk using Snapchat? And should you be using Snapchat for your business (and not just sexting :-)?
This article explores what Snapchat is, how it works and how you could use it in your business. It’s become an asset in the world of social media marketing where brands can show a more authentic, human side to themselves which has been seen as a key to getting a more loyal brand following. Read on for five different ways to present your business to the Snapchat community.
What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a photo and video-posting app that was created by Stanford University students Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown back in 2011. Just over a year after it launched on iOS, it had grown rapidly to the point where over 20 million photos were shared daily according to Tech Crunch.
Unlike Instagram, anything you post is temporary. The life of a photo or video is just 24 hours, and then it’s gone forever. Though the concept of this raised a few eyebrows when the young men first pitched it to their college class, it made perfect sense for younger teens. Forbes pointed out that “Today’s teens have finally learned the lesson their older siblings failed to grasp: What you post on social media–the good, the bad, the inappropriate–stays there forever. And so they’ve been signing up for Snapchat”.
In 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook offered $3 billion to buy Snapchat, which the creators turned down. Today, Snapchat has over 150 million users watching 10 billion videos every day.
How does it work?
The idea of Snapchat is to be fun. “Snaps” are photos or 10 second videos that are made to entertain your friends or audience. When you first open the app, you’re faced with a camera view where you can either just start recording or swipe the screen to get to your profile page, followers pages, etc.
Publishing a snap to your followers allows them only to view it once during the following 24 hours and then it disappears. However, if you add it to your story then your followers can view an unlimited amount of times before it vanishes forever after 24 hours. A Snapchat story is a series of snaps edited together.
You can also send snaps to individual followers but these will be private and can only be viewed by them once. This is probably why the app was so popular with sexters!
Photos and videos can be customized with text, drawings, emojis and filters. New filters are being added all the time so there’s lots of ways to add interest to a snap. For a full tutorial with pictures on how to use Snapchat, check out this article on Business Insider.
Snapchat and Social Media Marketing
In 2016, Snapchat’s audience is expanding and diversifying. Though it’s still extremely popular with millennial’s, Media Kix found that “over 50% of new Snapchat users are over the age of 25, and the percentage growth of those aged 35 years and older is actually greater than the penetration rate for 18- to 24-year-olds.” So it’s not surprising then to find that businesses big and small are setting up Snapchat accounts every day to access these users.
Trena Little, a successful blogger, describes the engagement on Snapchat as astonishing. “It’s not like Facebook or Twitter, where someone just scrolls through a feed. In Snapchat people are actively clicking the content they want to watch and you have their undivided attention for your story!”
Australian sleepwear brand Hunter-Rose told The Huffington Post, “Snapchat has just been an extension of our social media strategy” and "In a day you can't put 10 videos on Instagram because it's too much. But in a day we can put 10 x 10-second videos up on Snapchat, which is a story, and then people can easily go through it."
Snapchat is there to show the human behind your business. Get Found With Fuse, an SEO consultancy company, advises to “keep it light and fun”. There are many ways you can engage with your followers but whatever you snap, you have to make sure that it’s authentic. Snapchat is a great way to tell a story about what your brand is really all about.
5 things to snap to your followers
Now you know what Snapchat is, how it works, and why you may or may not want to adopt it into your social media marketing program.
Three big questions to ask yourself before making a decision are: 1. Does Snapchat have the staying power of Twitter and Facebook? 2. Will it be around ten years from now? 3. Is my target market on Snapchat?
Answer these questions for yourself before you snap and you'll be less likely to waste time on something that's not a great fit for your business situation.
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Adam Dudley is an author, coach, mentor, and consultant. He writes. He mentors. He adventures. Explore, learn, grow, repeat.
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