Orlagh O'Rourke

March 26, 2018

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While it may still seem like a relatively new platform, Snapchat has been dominating the social media world since September of 2011. The mobile-based messaging app was developed by Stanford students Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy, who got inspiration for their idea by wishing that certain photos could just “vanish.” Since it’s release, Snapchat has skyrocketed; boasting over 158 million active users a day on global scale. Since it’s become so massively popular, it’s important for you and your business to decide if Snapchat is the right app for your social media marketing strategy. Like all popular social media apps, Snapchat comes with both positive and negative qualities. Each business has its own unique needs and goals, and Snapchat can be more helpful to one company than another. The purpose of this article is not to convince you to use Snapchat, but to provide a quick and insightful summary to help you make the right decision for your business.

If you’re not quite sure what Snapchat is (unlikely, but not unusual) here’s a brief synopsis to get you up to speed: Snapchat is a quick and easy way to send pictures and videos on a micro-platform basis. Users are able to add captions, draw doodles and use filters to customize their content before sending it to the intended receiver. These pictures/videos can last from 1 to 10 seconds depending on your preference. Snapchat is unique because you can either add to your story, where all users can see your content, or just send it to a private audience. You can add as much content to your story as you want, but it always disappears after 24 hours. Snapchat is one of the closest things to real life communication, where users can essentially get the play-by-play of a person’s activities as they are happening. Snapchat also recently added a Discover feature to its platform in 2015, which is were users can access news headlines, celebrity gossip, and magazine articles with a swipe across the screen. In a sense, Snapchat is the micro platform for all things social, news and entertainment.

Snapchat may be a very useful tool for your business because it’s appeal to the millennial population. According to Omnicore, 71% of Snapchat users are under 34 years old and 45% of users are between the ages of 18 to 24. What exactly does this mean for your business? If your company is trying to attract the attention of teenagers or if your product or services are catered towards young people, Snapchat may be your best bet in getting your message to millennials. While it may be common sense to think that Facebook is the easiest way to reach this audience, a EMarketer study showed that the number of Facebook users aged 12-17 has actually declined 3.4% from 2017. We are now in an age where Facebook isn’t considered the go-to site anymore. More and more millennials are moving to micro social apps, such as instagram and Snapchat because of the engaging content and easy accessibility. It’s also an added bonus that parents and elders don’t typically use Snapchat, so millennials don’t have to worry about mom or dad commenting on their story or snapping them when their with friends. The lack of an older demographic on this app is what makes Snapchat so popular with teenagers. It’s a platform specially designed and targeted towards millennials. There’s definitely a sense of freedom and expression that these users can use to their advantage, without worry that mom and dad would be looking at their story. Essentially, if your business is struggling to attract the younger crowd, strongly consider Snapchat for your next marketing strategy.

Another positive of Snapchat is the extra features that can help promote your business or company event. You can offer users unique behind the scenes footage that only followers can access. Have a meeting with a high-profile client? You can have them live on your story. Have a fun company event at a glamorous venue? Users can see your snaps throughout the evening. Just want to show users how your employees celebrate a fun Friday afternoon? Post those videos. Through this, you can show users your unique company culture and how it differs from others. Snapchatting these events can also encourage users to engage more in your content, and gain access to more private footage. Another interesting feature is the ability to you to make your own personal filter that anyone can use at a special event. Users can create the filter, select the area where the filter goes live, and how long it can be accessed. The Current Agency has worked with past clients to create the perfect filter, whether it be at a fundraiser or a company party. This filter can not only create lasting memories and fun content, but it can also continue to promote your company brand and set your company apart from the rest of the competition. Your business can also offer promotions and sales codes that aren’t accessible to the general public, and encourages users to engage in your snapchat account. People love to be in the know about everything these days, and Snapchat is able to offer that and more to users and your potential customers.

While Snapchat has many strengths, there are some potential weaknesses that your company needs to be aware of. First of all, the content isn’t permanent. It disappears after 24 hours unless you save it to your camera roll. While this is one feature to snapchat that makes it so unique, it can be frustrating to have to post over and over again for customers to retain information. Unlike Facebook or Instagram, there’s no scrolling back to see what you missed. If customers miss your snap message or story, there’s no way they can go back and retrieve the message. It’s also hard to determine how your consumers react to your content. Sure, they can screenshot or send you a snapback, but Snapchat doesn’t have the ‘Like’ or ‘Love’ feature on its platform like Facebook and Instagram do. Sometimes Snapchat makes it difficult to tell what consumers are really thinking, which could be a dealbreaker for some businesses. Snapchat is also only made for mobile devices, so you may be potentially be missing out on a large chunk of prospective customers who don’t have access to a iPhone or an Android.

Fan of Snapchat or not, there’s no denying the power and the usefulness of this social media platform. With millions of fans across the globe, Snapchat is certainly leading the charge in a social media transformation. Whether you believe that this app is right for your business is completely up to your discretion, but it’s important to research and make an educated decision when it comes to which social media is right for your marketing campaign. Take time, download Snapchat and try it out for yourself. There’s definitely no waste in trying! At the end of the day, each business has its own personal agenda, and Snapchat may just be the solution to help your company achieve your marketing and branding goals.