It's All About That Snap...

So, even though I'm still in my 20's, there is nothing that can make me feel older and out of touch like Snapchat can. I understand how to use it, and even have fun sending snaps to my friends once in awhile. But the second I get in front of my teenage cousins and her friends, who are masters at the platform, it becomes pretty clear that I just don't "get it". As someone who prides themselves in being pretty up to date with all things digital (I mean, it is my job, people...) I've decided to take it upon myself to do a little research on this relatively new social platform so we all (because I know you've been wondering too) can finally grasp not only the purpose of the app, but it's business implications as well.

Ok, let's start with the basics. What is Snapchat? Don't know? Don't worry. You're not alone. I get this question almost daily and unless you're in high school, college or immersed in digital culture, you probably have heard of it but may not have any idea what it does.

Snapchat is essentially a messaging app that allows you to send photos and videos that only last for a predetermined period of time. Although recent updates, like Snapchat Memories, allow you to now access your camera roll, the original purpose of the app was to take photos within the app only and share them with friends quickly, before they essentially "self destructed". In the past year alone, Snapchat has seen a 400% growth, officially beating out Twitter in the User game (it now boasts about 150 million registers users and rising). 

Another feature to the app, and one that makes it interesting on a business level, is "Snapchat Stories". Outside of sending pictures and videos directly to friends, this part of the social media platform essentially acts as your newsfeed. You can post content to your account that can be accessed at any time, by anyone that "follows" you, for 24 hours. This is where many businesses can find opportunities to post sale announcements, featured products, behind the scenes tours, etc. However, with a variety of other platforms like Instagram, FB and Twitter, this leaves many business owners scratching their heads and wondering why in the world they have to add yet another platform update to their already overbooked schedules. 

Well, whether or not you choose to add it to your repertoire really depends on your audience. To being with, Snapchat users skew VERY young. In fact, recent studies show that 23% fall within the 13-17 yr. old age group, while 37% are between 18 - 24 yrs. old, and 26% are between 25-34 yrs. old. While there is some disposable income to be had in these groups (not to mention the social buzz they can provide), it isn't necessarily the right target for all businesses. If you know you tend to skew a little older with your demographics, than this platform may not be worth investing in.

The other part of the equation is figuring out if you have the time, energy and resources to develop strong, engaging Snapchat content. Whether you choose to directly message your followers with exclusive content, or post out to your story for all Snapchatters to see, it takes time to create a strategy around content that is not only exclusive, but interesting to Snapchat users as well. Don't forget, these users are young and cool, and don't appreciate anything cheesy, too salesy, or boring. Think about creating content that isn't just to sell a product, but to interact and entertain as well. 

Thinking about diving in (or maybe just testing the waters) to Snapchat for your business? Check out this super cool infographic courtesy of mediakix with some examples of brands that are doing it right and ideas on how you can get started.