What Non-Millennials Should Know about Snapchat

It can be challenging for me, a 25 year old, to keep up with the newest social platforms and mobile apps, so I cannot imagine what it is like for non-millennial professionals.

Take Snapchat as an example. Although I was a little late to join the "ephemeral" messaging app's bandwagon, I have since fully embraced the company that reportedly turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook. In recent weeks, I have started using the app more frequently, and data shows that I'm not the only one. In fact, the company's 23-year-old CEO Evan Spiegel revealed that the messaging app processes more than 350 million snaps a day, and you wouldn't be far off to assume the majority of these snaps are being sent by the millennial age group. 

After a few weeks of sending silly "selfies" and pics of my "adorbz" puppy (see images) to my old college pals and high school-aged sister, I was surprised to find out that some brands are also active on Snapchat. At first I was unsure of how this somewhat trivial app could be used as a marketing platform, but then the images started rolling in. While some brands hit the virtual nail on the head, others would be wise to participate in a "Marketing to Millennials" workshop. For those companies and others still unsure of the Snapchat craze, here is a crash course from an '88 baby:

Don't Be Boring

Unless you're Beyonce, most millennials don't care about behind-the-scenes pics of your office. Just like any other type of content, snaps that are not engaging will be easily forgotten if not totally ignored.

Sex Sells (This is Snapchat After All)

A few of the brand snaps I received were pretty racy (I'm looking at you Karmaloop), but they were also among the most memorable. This doesn't mean that your enterprise should compromise its image in the name of millennials, but adding an edge to your snaps - like the video I received of someone "twerking" with a coupon code - will make recipients not only remember your brand, but also tell their friends about it.

Make Snaps Last

Not all snaps are deleted after they are viewed, because in Oct. 2013 Snapchat unveiled a feature called "Stories," which enables users to combine snaps to create a narrative that can be viewed anytime within a 24-hour period. This feature is ideal for retailers launching flash sales or for brands showcasing unique events, as the New Orleans Saints do on game days.

Personalization Wins Cool Points

Sex might sell, but personalization rules. The most memorable brand snap I received was from GrubHub, who directly replied to a message I sent to them that had nothing to do with ordering food whatsoever. But will I order through the company in the future? You can count on it.

Spread the Word

After discovering a few brands on Snapchat, I reached out to friends to see if they were following any companies on the platform, yet none knew what I was talking about - not even my younger sister who uses Snapchat like it's her job. Bottom line, if your enterprise is putting resources into a platform or channel, it is vital that your audience knows about your presence.

All that said, Snapchat is a very young platform that will continue to change almost as fast as its snaps are deleted. Only time will tell if it has real legs to stand on or if it will be thrown to the wayside by its fickle, primarily millennial user base. At the end of the virtual day, professionals who quickly adapt to new technologies are put in a better position to withstand the test of time, regardless of the generation they identify with.

About the Author: Allison Howen is an Associate Editor at Website Magazine