By now you have heard of Snapchat, one of the fastest growing social media platforms. It has taken the social market by storm, becoming increasingly important for businesses and brands adopting into their marketing and communication strategies. If you haven’t started already, there are a few very compelling reasons why your brand or company should have a social footprint on Snapchat. Instagram’s parent company Facebook tried to buy SnapChat a few times, only to be turned down each time. Facebook knows its loosing users to Snapchat and tried to wage battle until it realized it couldn’t. Then just a few days ago, it released “stories” on Instagram, small videos whom disappear within a 24hr time span. If that’s the best of worst ideas a company that size had to combat Snapchat, then this is yet another reason Snapchat is the next big platform and a good place to build your brand or company.
Snapchat is meant to be raw. This is a great characteristic for Snapchat. Users don’t care about you making your snaps perfect, they just want to hear your message. Instantly, unedited, in the moment, intractable. There are tons of examples of people building businesses and personal brands by being early to a platform. When you arrive on a platform early the culture is a lot different. Which gives you a first adapter advantage. People talk about early Twitter with the #FollowBack culture, It made many people huge. The same thing is brewing on Snapchat and while it’s been around since 2011, it is still in it’s infancy. Users engage so much more then most other platforms and people are looking for people to follow. I first got on Snapchat about three years ago. I never used it, none of my friends where there, in fact it was just college kids at the time. Now I revisited Snapchat to find 30% of my network uses the platform. And just like Facebook, it’s when parents are thinking about joining that the company is about to explode, it’s awesome the opportunities still ahead! If you are serious about building your brand or company for the long run then your present or future customer is on Snapchat and you need to be in their face.
Once you join, get to know your target audience, the majority of users on Snapchat are between the ages of 18-25. The app was initially popular among high school students closely followed by college-aged students. But that’s changing the 25-40 year old’s are joining by the masses. Even though Snapchat keeps their number of users secret, it is estimated that the number is over 150 million active users. With recent numbers suggesting that over 400 million messages are received on Snapchat every day. For brands who appeal to exactly this target audience, it is a no–brainer, taking advantage of this social media channel. Snapchat turns your product or service into a sexy product or service because is still relatively new to the social media scene. However, this is also what makes it unique. Using Snapchat shows that your brand is “in the know” and that your product or service is ‘cool’.
The number of Snapchat users continues to grow, and it does not look like these numbers will decline any time soon. It is important to stay on top of the game early on, and the way marketers will use Snapchat is still being defined. It is an exciting time to get on top of the game and see how one can use this innovative social platform to promote it’ business. Community brands, in some cases, have large followings on Facebook or Twitter. Snapchat offers you a new way to interest your followers by engaging and teasing them onto the platform for an impromptu behind the scenes of a company or brand event for example. Snapchat truly is the new age of advertising, and you will realize that in social media, it is not only about how many followers you have, but the level of engagement that comes with it. Since Snapchat allows you to swipe through all stories and updates, it allows the community to interact with the brand even more so than Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Snapchat is also special because after 24 hours of posting on their ‘My Story’ feature, the update is gone, which means engaged users will often check for updates over the course of the day. It is exactly this feature Instagram just blatantly copied. But Instagram is not Snapchat and judgment is still out on how users of both platforms will react.
In closing here is less pressure for brands or companies to be perfect compared to other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest. Snapchat has a unique way of humanizing businesses and brands, Snaps disappear over a few seconds, and you are encouraged to add drawings or captions to the photos or videos you record. Snapchat allows you to show off the personalized side of the brand that relates to your followers. You can build stories that help you feel like a friend to your audience, providing a personal insight of your brand directly to your stakeholders, avoiding a lot of ‘noise’ associated to other social media channels. Snapchat truly is the new approach to marketing and advertising. While Facebook and Twitter are still sticking to more traditional advertisement styles, Snapchat forces brands to be creative and learn how to engage their audience in new ways. From posting competitions or custom geofilters to inside stories, the Snapchat user feels like they are part of the brand and not an outsider. This brings brand loyalty can help brands grow and establish a valuable relationship with their customers, that in the long term indirect influences sales and ROI. As Snapchat continues to grow, so will it’s ad and filter revenue, stealing advertising dollars and active users time away from Google and Facebook alike.