You heard it here first. Despite a reputation as a platform used for conducting questionable messaging practices with others, in actuality, Snapchat is much more than that. I didn’t learn this until I tested out the platform firsthand – it’s a force to be reckoned with and could prove to be a viable marketing tool for brands.
Straight from the horse’s mouth, Snapchat is “a totally new way to share today. Snap a photo or a video, add a caption, and send it to a friend (or maybe a few). They’ll view it, laugh, and then the snap disappears from the screen – unless they take a screenshot! If you want to share a Snap with all of your friends, add it to your Snapchat Story, a living narrative where each Snap lives for 24 hours until it disappears, making room for the new. The images might be a little grainy, and you may not look your best, but that’s the point. It’s about the moment, a connection between friends in the present, and not just a pretty picture. The allure of fleeting messages reminds us about the beauty of friendship – we don’t need a reason to stay in touch.”
Essentially, it is a photo messaging application that allows users to send Snaps to a controlled list of recipients. Users set a time limit for how long recipients can view their Snaps, after which they will be hidden from the recipient’s device and deleted from the Snapchat server.
Contrary to what most think, there are more than five million active users who are using Snapchat to send “nice-list” images to each other. The app, however, tends to attract a younger age demographic, but this doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for brand engagement.
With Snapchat, brands have a new, creative channel to reach the attention-span-shorter-than-a-fly millennial audience. Millennial don’t fancy banner ads. Oh, and email really tends to annoy them as well. While most marketers typically want to create a lasting impression with consumers, Snapchat’s popularity with teenagers and young adults, who are the most spontaneous, make this app essential if a younger audience is the targeted demographic.
Simply put, there’s more to the app than the number of people using it. Snapchat offers a true “capture the moment” feel, which is very appealing for most users who enjoy the thrill of that type of connection with both friends and their favorite brands..
In 2013, early adopter brands of the platform, such as Taco Bell, embraced Snapchat and incorporated it into their content marketing strategy. Last May, the brand used Snapchat to inform fans of the return of the Beefy Crunch Burrito. To push consumers to connect with them, it tweeted to its followers that it would be making a secret announcement on Snapchat. This move gave fans a sneak peak and first knowledge of the return of the Beefy Crunch Burrito, developed Taco Bell’s presence with fans on Snapchat for future fun announcements and made users feel like a VIP since only they got an exclusive snap.
Recently, it appears as though the introduction of Snapchat Stories is encouraging more brands to come on board as well like NPRNews and the News Orleans Saints. (Two of my FAVORITES!)
I also read on Business Insider that 18.6 percent of iPhone users today use Shapchat from their mobile devices. Trust, Android users are going nuts over it, too. Use it here, there, everywhere…
How should brands use Snapchat, you ask? I think the folks over at Search Engine Journal hit the nail on the head with the endless possibilities for this emerging social media platform:
- Announce contests
- Give a sneak peek of a new product
- Send a coupon/discount code
- Offer behind-the-scenes looks
- Introduce new team members
- Unveil targeted Vine-style videos
- Send appreciation to fans
I think I’ve said this a million times, but I’ll go ahead and throw it out there for 1,000,001 time – there’s no more powerful connection between two people than a personal, face-to-face relationship. Social media allows brands to easily become personal again. That being said – if you’re looking for impressions or reach for statistics for your content marketing strategy – Snapchat may not be for you. Snapchat is not designed to be socially shared or accessible to all. A platform such as Snapchat lets brands not only get personal, but have that real face-to-face contact. But it’s not designed to keep a lasting record of it. It’s the memory and feeling of a fleeting moment in time. Interested to know how truly engaged your brand’s fans really are? Then Snapchat’s for you, my friend.
Only a year after the app was introduced, there more than 50 million images and videos transmitted through Snapchat – every.single.day. For comparison, Instagram only has 5 million photos uploaded to it daily.
Most of all, I think I like Snapchat for the same reasons I liked Instagram when it came onto the scene – it’s cool and possibilities are endless. Snapchat provides marketers and brands a platform for interacting with consumers in a humorous and personal way. Imagine if you got a custom Snapchat from an Apple specialist updating you about new Apple products or snaps from Mr. Clean with quick organization tips? Sign me up, please.
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