Creativity is one of the most important parts of marketing on any social media platform, but it's integral to marketing on Snapchat. You won't gain many followers, or keep them, if you produce boring snaps or even worse, over share.
Social media is becoming a very important part of society. They're services that allow people to share things on a global platform. You can raise awareness about holidays, catastrophes, social issues, injustices, miracle stories, and political situations. Social media is changing the way news is presented, it's changing politics, and it's changing global relations. When something happens, typically it's reported instantly through social media. On average 9,000 snaps are sent, 6,000 tweets are tweeted, and 810 Instagram photos are published each second. With crazy numbers like that it's understandable that there are so many "celebrities" being created due to these platforms.
As the world becomes more and more orientated around social media, it's understandable that more companies are trying to market through social media. While marketers have started to successfully tap into platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Vine, and YouTube, a new challenge is arising. That challenge is none other than Snapchat.
Re-launched in September 2011 under a new name, Snapchat was a new take on the oversaturated messaging apps and photo sharing platforms. The concept was simple; you take a photo or video, you could then leave it blank or add a caption and/or doodle, and then you could send it to any of your Snapchat friends. However, there was one simple twist to this simple app--your photo disappeared after the allocated amount of seconds. The sender got to decide if they wanted their message viewed anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds. The app even went as far as letting a user know if a screenshot of their snap had been taken, which made it one of the most private messaging apps out there. It started gaining traction mainly among high school and college students, but by Spring 2012 it started to garner its torrid reputation as a sexting tool. It should be noted that not too many people really cared about Snapchat's reputation. Businesses may have, journalists may have, and competition definitely tried to damage their popularity with it, but the app continued to grow. By May 2013 when 150 million snaps were being sent daily, companies like Taco Bell started taking an interest.
As time passed Snapchat continued to grow, which meant they needed to continue to add features and improve the app. Come Fall 2013, Snapchat stories were introduced. Stories allowed you to post a public snap that all of your Snapchat friends could view for 24 hours. After 24 hours that story was gone forever, unless you saved it. More features came in December 2013 with the addition of filters, timestamps, temperature overlays, speed overlays, and the ability to replay a person's snap once a day (while of notifying that person of course). A text based messaging feature was introduced in May 2014 along with live video chat and in July 2015 geofilters were introduced. With more changes in the months following, Snapchat continued to improve their app and add new features, (such as animated filters called lenses) and simultaneously continued to gain popularity. Throughout 2015 Snapchat was always one of the top 13 most downloaded apps in the US, with over 60% of US users ranging from13 to 38.
With over 7 billion mobile video views a day and 100 million daily users it is understandable why companies are attempting to use their platform to their advantage. While so far it appears celebrities, both of the Internet and Hollywood variety, are the ones benefiting the most from Snapchat, brands do have a fighting chance. However, at this moment the market for smaller companies is small.
Big brands have opportunities galore when it comes to Snapchat advertising; usually the biggest companies with already massive followings get the really good advertising opportunities. Things like the option of using a unique geofilter when you're at IHOP, McDonalds, or Starbucks. While other businesses can pay Snapchat for their own geofilter, it is $5 an hour with a max of 30 days. If you wanted one to run at all times it would be $3,600/month. For this reason it's recommended smaller businesses try that function out if they have an event coming up. This allows people who are attending to snap photos of themselves or the event with your geofilter, thus sharing them with friends gaining your business/event more visibility. Larger companies also have the option of limited smart filters, ads on discover, and their own live story occasionally. While small businesses don't get those opportunities there is still basic Snapchat marketing.
If you take away the fancy ways to advertise you're left with the very basic: engaging with consumers through your own Snapchat account. While this method usually works best for companies who already have a large social media following, as you can't discover or stumble across users as you would anywhere else, it's not impossible for small businesses to utilize Snapchat to their advantage. You can promote your Snapchat ID on different social media platforms to gain some followers, no matter how few followers you have it's important to post interesting things to keep them.
Creativity is one of the most important parts of marketing on any social media platform, but it's integral to marketing on Snapchat. You won't gain many followers, or keep them, if you produce boring snaps or even worse, over share. Whether you produce contests prompting users to submit a name for a new burger, show them sneak peaks of new products, show behind the scenes of events or productions, you need to ask yourself "Who cares?" before posting. If the answer is nobody would care, then don't post it. You should only post things that people will care about.
While Snapchat continues to grow, it's important to note that not every business needs a Snapchat, or should have one. If you know you won't be able to produce snaps that engage your client base or attract them, then focus on the other platforms. If anything, attempting to be relatable and not succeeding or trying too hard results in your brand looking unprofessional.
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