Snapchat and the next generation of social media for business

Jane Dawkins    November 15, 2014

Organization name: Snapchat, Inc.


Industry: Photo sharing, social networking service

Company Contact: Evan Spiegel, CEO Snapchat

Web references: Snapchat

Description of how social media is used for business performance:

When I started reviewing Snapchat, and how it could play a role in the future of the brands I represent on social media I couldn’t get my head around it.  The idea that the development of social brand identity, consistent messaging, history and continued conversation with community could no longer be important in the way I understood it baffled me.

How could it even be possible to develop a strong sense of brand and social storytelling within a platform that removes content in 10 seconds or less?

According to Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, in his talk at the 2014 Social Media Summit, millennials are proving to be more selective and embracing more temporary, private or anonymous forms of social media such as Snapchat, WhatsApp and Secret. The newest generation of online users are choosing to step out of the limelight and reject the previously believed notion that through the rise of social media ‘everyone can [or should] be a publisher’.

While Snapchat only allows viewers to see images from 1 to 10 seconds and then the image is gone forever, the reality is that temporary social media applications and platforms are proving themselves to be of great value for the future.

Baer also indicates that in a world where there is so much information that is constantly accessible research shows that messages and images that are received through more temporary means are viewed with more intent and focus by users.  This trend allows companies and organizations to benefit from the temporary nature of these platforms to create a stronger connection with their audience.

Other forms of social media such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram collect and archive history as it happens, allowing followers to ‘half-listen’ and the option to ‘come back for information later’ – which all to often does not happen.

Ironically, temporary social media apps may actually be increasing a company’s ability to attain ‘reliable reach‘ as they force audiences to use skills like focused listening rather than channel surfing.

“Snapchat is all about one-on-one interaction, making it much more personal and exclusive than Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.,” said Gayane Margaryan, online communications associate at the African Wildlife Foundation in an interview with Business News Daily.

“Exclusivity and one-on-one interaction is the key to Snapchat,” Margaryan said. “Ensure that you’re able to provide this when you begin engaging on this platform. As with any social media platform, you want to be providing your followers with a unique experience. Take your customers inside your brand, make them feel more connected and valued, and grow their loyalty.”

Facts about Snapchat:

  • Over 400 million photos and videos are sent per day via Snapchat, and it’s estimated that over 20 percent of all iPhones have downloaded the program.
  • Average age on snapchat is 18, the main age demographic of Snapchat users is ages 12-23 years old.  Just 31% are men.
  • Snapchat promotes non-permanence and only maintains 200 pictures at a time on its servers.
  • On Snapchat, you cannot view a photo from 15 seconds ago. This makes the user want to consume the content now.
  • Compared to the general population, Snapchat fans are 86% more likely to say their friends and other contacts on social media influence the products they buy;
  • Fans are 89% more likely to often post comments on Facebook or Twitter while watching a TV show or movie; and
  • Fans are 43% more likely to say they are “addicted” to their digital devices.

Successful uses of Snapchat for business:
World Wildlife Funds’ #lastselfie

Audi Snapchat on Super Bowl Sunday

Lessons for others:

  • Younger people are gravitating towards  1:1 or 1:few networks. Users feel empowered by the personalization, privacy, selectiveness, exclusivity, instant, mobile and safety of  information shared in a more temporary way.
  • Social media is becoming more and more compact.  Businesses need to think about how they plan to use of apps as well as platforms to ensure they are consistent with the  demand to be  simple, easy to digest and mobile.
  • Consider the real value of the app you select for your organization.  Snapchat, for instance could be used by most organizations to run successful mini “billboard” campaigns for coupons, special offers or product previews.  It can also be used to give followers exclusive behind the scenes look at your company or team, increasing interest and loyalty.
  • Snapchat is supposed to be fun and personal – don’t take it so seriously, let you and your brand’s personality shine through.

Other resources:

Speed, Snapshots and Secrecy: How Snapchat Has Changed Communication
Snapchat for Business: How Your Marketing Can Benefit From Photo Messaging
5 Creative Ways Brands Are Using Snapchat
Storytelling in a Snap(chat): How Brands Are Using Snapchat to Connect With Audiences
3 Effective Ways to Use Snapchat for Your Business
Temporary Social Media
Cheat Sheet: Snapchat for Marketing and PR
Who’s Using Snapchat?

Submitted by:
Jane Dawkins, Marketing Communications Officer, University of Guelph

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