Contact: Andrea Dunn, Director of Social Media
Web References: snapd
Description of how social media is used for business performance
snapd Inc., previously known as SNAP Newspaper Group, is the business behind the over 60 snapd franchises across Canada showcasing community life using newspaper-styled print publications and online platforms. Since 2004, snapd publications have been covering a multitude of celebrations, from sporting events and business openings to festivals, parades and birthday parties.
Social media plays a pretty big role in the business, says Andrea Dunn, and she would know. Dunn is the Director of Social Media for snapd, and has been with the company since 2009. The social media resource for all franchises, including headquarters, Dunn provides training, support and up-to-date information on individual platform changes and news.
A large portion of the content that snapd generates doesn’t fit into the print version, but does go on the individual franchise websites. Each franchise has its own social media profile, which include at least a Facebook page and Twitter profile, with some independent experimentation on additional platforms such as Instagram and Linkedin. Social media is used as an extension of the core purposes of the business, which are to promote and share local events, to engage with organizations, businesses and individuals, and to draw traffic to the individual websites.
Franchisees are responsible for managing their own social media engagement, which results in mixed outcomes that are dependent both on the franchisee and the community. Some franchises use social media more persistently than others, and some communities are more engaged through social media than others. Dunn says that it is very interesting to see what works where. For example, Dunn says that snapd Kitchener/Waterloo is successful with Twitter engagement, adding that she sees that community is particularly receptive to that specific platform.
snapd Windsor has attracted a great deal of attention on social media, with almost 7000 Facebook followers and 2200 Twitter followers in its less than two years of existence. snapd Haldimand-Norfolk is one of the most popular snapd franchises on social media, with over 10,000 Facebook followers from a community made up largely of small towns and villages. snapd Halifax has recently experimented with Instagram and has begun to find success there by using creative photography.
The measure of success in snapd’s use of multiple platforms for social media comes down to engagement and reach, not the number of followers a profile has. Dunn shared the below Facebook post from snapd Windsor showing the total reach of the post (7192 people), versus the notated likes (37), and shares (4).
Dunn believes that having high engagement – community members who interact with social media content in any fashion – is preferred to a high number of stagnant followers, “Having high engagement and reach are more important to us than having the most fans.”
Although the product is literally social media, like many businesses snapd initially had reservations about adopting outside platforms such as Facebook and Twitter into their marketing strategy. Dunn says that snapd signed up for franchise Facebook profiles (pages weren’t yet in existence) about five years ago, with Twitter profiles following shortly after. Social media for business was undefined at that point, and really, really new. The final decision to go ahead quickly proved to be a good one, and snapd hasn’t looked back.
In fact, snapd has taken great strides forward. Aside from requiring a Social Media Director, a direct result from the social engagement that snapd franchises have cultivated, snapd rolled out snapd Tix, an online ticketing agent in December 2014. This service designs and sells event tickets through snapd’s franchise websites, and includes social media promotion. For more information on this service, take a look at the video below.
Lessons for Others
Devise a strategy to measure social media success based on the purpose of your product. Social media platforms offer a variety of metrics, and it is worth the effort to consider all information and relate that back to your product, as snapd did with the development of their event ticketing tool.
The success of your business does not rely on the number of followers that your social media marketing has attained. In the case of snapd, Dunn says, “Since our publications are community based, having 300 engaged fans to whom our local content is relevant to is more valuable than having 1,000,000 disengaged fans.” Therefore you must tailor your social media strategy based on interaction and not just the number of followers and fans.
Submitted By: Catherine Muss, SMBP student, University of Waterloo
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