Why We Need to Talk About Snapchat



Please note that this post is not titled “Your Brand Needs to Be on Snapchat ASAP” or “Why Aren’t You on Snapchat Yet?”
I do not think your brand needs to join the platform immediately, and I do not think it is a good fit for everyone (most brands, even). Even the name itself still holds some weird connotations for marketers; particularly those who are not trying to reach strictly millennials. Snapchat is a really bizarre distillation of some exciting and questionable social media tropes of our era, like instant gratification, theoretical privacy and unprecedented access to people and brands.
I do think, though, that it is worth a conversation with your social media team about whether or not it could be a good fit. As Medium points out, Snapchat is one of the only platforms that is actually growing these days, as opposed to seeing their user numbers level out. Nearly 40% of 18-34 year-olds in the United States actively use Snapchat, and it is second only to Facebook in how much time people spend using it.
The creators of Snapchat recognized users’ increasing desire for ephemerality and privacy during a moment in technology where it can sometimes feel as if advertising invades the entire world (Facebook ads that pop up after visiting a website, for example). “The ephemeral nature of the app has been highlighted as a key attraction by thousands of experts now. However, the desire for greater privacy, less public content and a reduced data trail continues to grow. In that regard, Snapchat is uniquely positioned to provide this. It’s also established a reputation as the leading network for privacy and any new or existing social channel would struggle to uncrown it,” says research columnist Gareth Price.
Now, brands can even purchase advertising geofilters for as low as $5, which can be extraordinary marketing tools. On-demand geofilters are fairly new, and allow brands to upload a design, pick a time and establish a geofence. Users within the geofence can send Snapchats with the uploaded filter. This is something only big brands have been able to do in the past, because purchasing sponsored filters has been reported to be $750,000 per filter for holidays, with weekday filters estimated to cost $500,000. This makes sense for Gatorade sponsoring a filter for the SuperBowl, but not much else if you’re anything less than a billion-dollar brand.
So, how do you know if Snapchat could be a good fit for your brand?

You target millennials specifically. Yep, the time is now. More millennials are on Snapchat than on Twitter, and they spend more time there, too. 58% of college kids said they would be likely to buy products or services from a brand that sent them a coupon on Snapchat, according to Business Insider. The platform is the most steadily rising in engagement and numbers for the younger demographic, so if you want to reach your target audience, that is where you’ll find them.

Your social media engagement has leveled off. Are your likes stagnant? Are you struggling to invigorate your social media with a little creativity? Social media coordinator Cesar Gomez says that Snapchat is where you can reinvest in your content: “Snapchat is made for content. It’s what initially made it stand out among its competitors and what keeps its user base active. Snapchat is for creativity, used as a lens into the lives of other. It’s a steady stream of engaging videos and images, where likes and comments do not matter.” The new challenges presented by limited time and image-based marketing could provide a spark for different ways of thinking about your brand and audience.

Current social media platforms are crowded for you. As of now, advertisers on Snapchat are still essentially early adopters: Branding on Snapchat has been a home for big brands like Gatorade, Target, and Taco Bell. If you are struggling to compete with other brands in existing spaces or feeling overwhelmed by your comparative likes, chances are that you may be close to the only one of your competitors using Snapchat in a significant way. This won’t last long, though, so the time is now.

These are all good reasons, but I’m still not convinced that Snapchat is for everybody (for example, the percentage of older demographics using Snapchat is quite low). Take a close look at your strategy before beginning to use Snapchat, just like you would for any other social media channel.



Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC AdamPrzezdziek

About the author: Maggie Happe

Maggie Happe is a recent graduate of Creighton University and a contributor to Social Media Contractors.

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