I love Snapchat. In fact, I’m totally that 20-something millennial you see taking photos and videos of the most random things just to populate my all-important Snapchat story. Snapchat is great for connecting with friends and staying in touch with family. It’s also an easy tool to catch up on the daily headlines and even watch stories from every corner of the world. It’s pretty fantastic—just don’t ask me about the most recent update. #StillSalty
From the generation who grew up with an intrinsic need to update their MySpace and Facebook status, the next level of social media was born in the form of Snapchat. A few young college kids had a million dollar idea (try $638 million for the CEO just in 2017) that has completely revolutionized our traditional idea of social channels.
What is Snapchat and how do I use it?
You may be asking, “Okay, what is this Snapchat thing anyway?” That’s perfectly fine—let me bring you up to speed. Forget everything you think you know about this app because Snapchat is completely different than any social platform you may be familiar with, and it’s constantly changing.
In its original form, Snapchat was designed to send photos and short videos that could only be viewed one time before disappearing forever. Today’s Snapchat is much less rigid and more in-depth. Snaps can be edited, saved, replayed, and added to stories similar to Instagram and Facebook. (Snapchat did it first, y’all.) Snaps can even become part of a larger, geographically based community story.
Additionally, users can now send direct messages, chat through live video, exchange currency, create custom filters, and explore the ‘Discovery’ area, which features short-form content from major publishers. You don’t even have to take your photos or images in the app, you can pull from existing media on your device.
What can it do for my company?
As a brand, there are several ways you can leverage this platform to connect with your audience. By nature, Snapchat is a visual application that derives content from photos and videos. Snapchat offers brands a stage to tell authentic and unique stories to their followers in a way that fosters trust and builds strong community relationships.
If you’re considering trying out Snapchat for your brand, here are my top suggestions for content ideas that almost any organization can use.
1. Take followers behind the scenes
Connect with your followers by showing them fun, silly, and real happenings behind the scenes of your organization. Whether you’re a professional service provider, a nonprofit, or a large corporation, revealing an inside-look at your company culture will engage your followers on a personal level.
2. Go live at your events
Similar to behind-the-scenes content, going live at your events creates interest and engagement with your audience. If you have content for Facebook and Instagram Live, Snapchat is also an excellent avenue to share clips of your events. I highly recommend looking into geographical Snapchat filters that you can custom create for your events.
3. Offer coupons, contests, and other exclusive content
Use your creativity to create short promotions and contests. Studies suggest that if brands offered a coupon to users through Snapchat, 60% of college students would be likely to make a purchase. Add your promotions to your story where it will only be viewable for 24 hours. With the latest updates of Snapchat, you can even add direct links to your stories and encourage viewers to “Swipe up” for more content. This is a fun way to share sneak peeks and exclusive, engaging content of all types.
Pro tip: If you’re already using Instagram, recycling content for Snapchat and vice versa is easy.
You can also advertise on Snapchat with Snap Ads and dive into specific audiences and demographics.
Is my target audience on Snapchat?
Snapchat doesn’t offer the daily active user base that Instagram or Facebook does. But its 173 million daily users do send a staggering three BILLION snaps each day. Need some perspective? Twitter users send about 500 million tweets a day. Every 60 seconds on Facebook 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded.
You have probably already surmised that Snapchat is mostly used by young people, and you’d be right. In fact, nearly 80% of all 18- to 24-year-olds use the app, and 71% of those users visit the app multiple times a day. Another fun stat? More than 60% of ALL smartphone users between 13 and 34 in the US are Snapchatters. It’s also important to note, Snapchat’s user base is growing up. New users aged 25 and up are growing at twice the rate of users under 25.
Think young people aren’t your target audience? A better understanding of the vast spending power wielded by Millennials and soon to be Gen Z can help you market today for loyalty tomorrow.
Will it be a good culture fit?
Snapchat is very informal as far as platforms go. It’s part of the appeal, as it encourages a more natural flow of interaction due to its temporary nature. It’s not for sharing your hard-core, informative blogs or for announcing that you’re hiring for an executive-level position. But if you’re looking to connect with your younger audience on a more meaningful level that shows your personality, Snapchat could be a great fit.
Is it complicated?
It’s true, Snapchat’s core functions have changed a lot over the years. If you think your iPhone is difficult to use, you may think Snapchat is confusing as well. Its interface is very intuitive, but there are a few things that are helpful to know before you get started, such as pinching the screen to reach the the world map and tapping on a face to bring up the filters. All in all, your friendly neighborhood pre-teen can show you the ropes in about seven minutes. Or, you can check out an in-depth guide on all things Snapchat here.
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