Is 2016 Really the Year of Snaps?

by Bill Nolan

Snapchat, launched in 2011, is a free messaging application for sharing moments. It let’s you take a photo or video, add a caption or doodle, and ‘snap’ it, aka send it, to specific friends. You may also add it to your ‘story’ for sharing with all friends. You ask, does it have the potential to build relationships for your business? This photo and video sharing platform has around 100 million active users. Does this mean you should utilize it? Is this really a logical solution and platform to find your audience on? The ‘snaps’ you send followers only last seconds before vanishing, and the ‘stories’ feature allows videos to be viewable for a whopping 24 hours. It may not be the easiest to work with when developing exposure for your business, but if you’re one of those social gurus who think outside the box this could be a lot of fun. And Snapchat doesn’t seem to be going away… just yet.

Snapchat Growing Up

The average user base is pretty young. Depending on what you’re selling, this could be good or bad. Kids are driving the sales for so many products and services out there. On the other hand, much of the younger crowd base using this snap app are known for having the attention span of a goldfish. Sorry! That’s what Snapchat’s built on. It’s really hit or miss… not so different from marketing on the various other social platforms. At least with Snapchat your reach is around 90% compared to Facebook’s 8%. That should get your attention!

If I’ve piqued your interest, let’s take a look at a few pros, cons and ideas for Snapchat:

Cross Promotion: This is crucial for your business to build audience, drive awareness and promote sales. Unfortunately, bringing fans to your Snapchat account isn’t easy. Unlike other platforms that make recommendations for users to follow certain brands, this feature is virtually nonexistent here. You’ll have to put in the legwork. Yes, that means using your other networks and website to promote your Snapchat account. Just think of the possibilities. In the process you could learn a thing or two about adding followers to your other business pages and really understanding what cross promotion can do to grow ROI.

Letting It All Hang Out: Have fun with this new platform. Tell your story and have a real moment with potential customers. Let followers get to know who you really are. Giving followers a face to go with your business name allows them to connect with you easily one on one. Give a virtual tour of your offices, video while you and colleagues are having a celebratory cocktail (sans the dancing on tables and starting a brawl), and share other business functions where real people are having fun. It can get addicting.

Keep It Clean: Sure I just mentioned getting personal can benefit your business. Now I remind you that it could also hurt your business. It’s all about using common sense. While it’s good to give a glimpse behind the curtains, be aware of what you’re showing. Ask yourself what your audience relates to and not necessarily what you relate to. Do the research on what your audience is interested in on a personal level. Also remember that a high percentage of Snapchat users are teens and even preteens. If you wouldn’t want your 10 year old daughter viewing it then you shouldn’t be posting it. And if you really feel your audience is all adults… still, keep it clean. Your actions do reflect on your business. If you’re unsure, this is where social media managers are worth their weight in gold. Consult with them.

It’s Okay To Be A Tease: It’s better to conceal than to reveal all. It’s also good to release a peek or preview of something to come. So don’t forget to tease your audience a little and leave them wanting more. Are you working on a special event, product, website or new service that’s not quite ready for release? Giving your friends tidbits on what’s coming their way will keep them eagerly awaiting for the full reveal. This is great on all social platforms, and Snapchat is screaming TEASE! Imagine what you could do with a snap in time.

Reward Your Followers: Who does’t like receiving bonuses? Grab the attention of Snapchat followers and entice them to watch for more. Ask fans to send you a snap the next time they are using your product or services and return the favor with a discount, free item, etc… you get the picture. It’s not brain surgery, but the more creative you are, the more attention you will get. This isn’t your standard Facebook audience here. And no Hootsuite may apply. This is an all new cult following.

Even though Snapchat started out with what seemed like a child’s approach, there may be some hope yet for growing and building. It’s come a long way. Just like the other social platforms, it will take work to make Snapchat a worthwhile tool for business. Do your research, build your story, get ideas, release tidbits on other platforms to tease new followers and watch Snapchat grow!