Mobile only messaging apps like Snapchat have grown in a big manner. In the time of overwhelmingly “social” internet, they are bringing back a certain respect for privacy and intimate interactions that has seemingly been lost to corporate social media dominance. Snapchat, Jelly, Whisper… these services are even more specialized within the already specialized arena ruled by the likes of Whatsapp, LINE and WeChat. They have millions of users and are becoming a threat to bigger social networks as they are evolving themselves to become more personal and secure social networks.

So, what is there for the marketers here? How do we use these new platforms for brand building? Well, as a matter of fact it is such a new field that we will have to wait a bit for stable trends to emerge. But still, we can have a look at a few success stories and see how major brands are using them to accomplish various tasks. These are the brands that have the talent and resources at their disposal to come up with winning campaigns and surely new and small businesses can learn a thing or two from them.

Interacting Directly With Potential Consumers

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

The very idea of Snapchat and other such apps involve direct and personal interactions. McDonald’s shared images and behind the scene videos from its commercials starring NBA and NFL stars and invited fans to have one-to-one conversations. They have realized the potential of personal conversation and are looking to have more such interactions in the future as they have the potential to build more personal relationships and breed loyal customers.

Using Video To Its Fullest

Taco Bell once made a film exclusively for Snapchat. It consisted of scenes from MTV movie awards and was used to promote a new item on its menu. Celebrities and powerful brands were both at work here, and the scenes were posted almost on real time, thus creating a sense of urgency alongside the exclusivity. As a result, people poured in to catch a glimpse and made the video viral along with the new item that was being launched. It showed how video is now an important component of the mobile ecosystem instead of being a secondary, resource consuming obstacle.

Engaging Users With Interesting Content

GE celebrated the anniversary of moon landing by involving Buzz Aldrin in its Snapchat campaign. Why did it choose this event? Well, it had played a major part in the original mission. So, it used the opportunity to remind the world about its legacy and stature. It posted interesting trivia and ran small themed contests on the network. It used the ephemeral nature of content on Snapchat to encourage repeated usage among the users.

Selling Directly

After all, it is eventually about sales. The Chinese mobile giant Xiaomi decided to stop beating around the bushes and get down to business. It is generally known to sell its handsets not through brick and mortar retailers but online through flash sales on a pre-decided and well-publicized date and time. So, it used WeChat to do the same last year and sold 150,000 units in a matter of a few minutes. The users of such sites are surely heavy users of smartphones and hence they were ideal for selling phones. Xiaomi understood it and used it to its fullest.

Respond To Customer Queries

Various brands have been using social networks for customer service. Apps like Spanchat can add an extra dimension to it. Unlike tweets or Facebook posts on the walls of your brand page, these interactions are completely private and so you do not have to bother about others peeking at you. Travelocity is already answering to travel queries through Jelly, a new player on the horizon. This is a way for brands to pose as accessible individuals so that people open up to them with their needs.

Offer Sponsored Content

While some like Whatsapp are sticking to the no adverts policy, some new players are beginning to explore the world of making fast revenues through advertisement. Tango is now offering sponsored content on its newsfeed. Whisper has a potential for using anonymous chatter as clever brand endorsements.

Conclusion

Snapchat and its ilk are designed to reverse the flow of social evolution on the internet. They are helping people maintain their privacy and dignity in the world of increasingly exhibitionist and narcissistic social networks. Certain possibilities, such as easily-generated QR codes, are beginning to be utilized by new apps like Facebook’s Rooms. However, the state of messaging apps is so volatile, it’s hard to know whether or not this will be par for the course, or just another raindrop in the pond. This is a unique trend and a powerful one because certain studies are showing that people are gradually getting tired of spam filled social media. These will take time to evolve, but their potential is unmistakable.