Snapchat, the ephemeral messaging app whose functionality has been "copied" by Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram, has captured the time and attention of 18-34 year olds in incredible fashion with an average 18 visits to Snapchat each day.
Should your business jump in and take advantage of this opportunity?
While there have been some brands and enterprises leveraging Snapchat to engage business audiences, of course, many others are hesitant to add yet another network to their already long list of social media marketing responsibilities. The good news is that it's a pretty low-commitment network. Let's take a look.
1. No Stale Profiles
Early advice for businesses just getting started with Facebook was to make sure to post to profiles regularly. Failing to post regularly could mean that a person arriving at a profile that hasn't been updated in weeks, months or years (if at all) would likely leave rather than choosing to Like the Page.
With Snapchat, however, there is no profile to review before choosing to become "friends" with a contact or company. Thus, the frequency at which one posts can completely be controlled by the marketer - choosing to post when they have something worthy of sharing versus feeling the need to always post (creating a more authentic experience for both parties).
2. Better Reach
While there is no doubt some ranking system at work, a company's Snaps will get seen by those who choose to follow them or seek them out (Snaps can be public). Organic reach is a true benefit of these "younger" social media networks versus Facebook where business posts get pushed down in the News Feed or not shown at all.
3. An Inner Circle
For many Snapchat users, their friends list is much, much smaller on that app versus other networks. Since the audience base is younger, the people who they interact with on Snapchat are likely close friends and peers versus family members and parents. In other words, they will post pictures and videos to Snapchat that they would not post to other networks - partly because their friends list is more fine-tuned and because Snaps will disappear anyway.
Brands that are able to grow their following on Snapchat can benefit from being in that "inner circle" - with the end result being followers feeling a closer connection to that company. What's more, since Snapchat has a less-formal environment, brands can methodically "let their hair down" and earn the trust of audiences.
4. Our Story
While its parent company, Snap Inc., positions itself as a camera company primarily, Snapchat is becoming more and more of a location-based service. For example, users can add to a community narrative by submitting their Snaps to "Our Story" (grouped together with other Snaps from the same location, event or about the same topic) to appear in Snap Map or in Search. Snap Map shows users' Snaps from across the world (when they enable this feature) and Search allows users to type in something they are interested in.
The benefit of Our Story is that brands do not have to be overly active on Snapchat to be able to add to a community narrative. One well-timed and well-placed photo or short video could do wonders for brand awareness.
5. The Chat Service
SEC filings state that, on average, more than 60 percent of Snapchat's DAUs use its Chat Service every day to send Snaps and talk with friends. Thanks to the chat service, Snapchat indicates that it benefits from the frequency with which its user base communicates with one another "because each message invites a user back to the application when they receive a push notification."
For businesses, this means that audiences have compelling reasons to return to Snapchat multiple times a day - increasing the chance their Snaps will be reviewed.