The buzz surrounding Snapchat for brands is definitely at a high decibel level. And just like other new social apps, there are lots of tutorials and how-to articles being created on a daily basis to show you how to get the most out of the platform. But what happens after the shiny new toy syndrome wears off? Is the millennial audience going to get disenchanted and be looking around for the next new thing? Perhaps not, if you play your cards right.
Storytelling is the Secret Sauce
Over 7 billion (yes, billion) stories are viewed daily among Snapchats hundred-million-and-climbing global users. But as with any social platform, being able to tell a good story is the key to driving engagement. Snapchats visual, short-lived content platform is uniquely suited to todays busy, mobile-centric consumers with short attention spans.
Brands are using Snapchats story feature using photos (enhanced with text, drawings and overlays) and intriguing, short video clips to tease followers with footage from events and peek at upcoming product lines. However, I think it pays more to think about telling stories that show the human side of your company, such as people experiencing your brand, or an inside look.
For instance, on SnapChats Discovery channel I took a look at what the Winter X Games was publishingpeople enjoying the event! Screenshots below:
Some are video clips and some are images, but they definitely pull you into the excitement of the games. What ways can you think of to share your brands customer experience or inner-workings by changing up your Snapchat story?
Build Audience with Cross-Channel Exposure
Building audience can feel like a chicken or the egg issue with a new channel, and theres no getting around the fact that youll have to share your Snapchat profile around to get your stories seen. From customizing and using your Snapcode on packaging graphics and other offline collateral to spreading it across the web and social, it takes a significant push to get noticed. However, the results can be well worth it, especially if youre consistent about frequently sharing your Snapchat presence on social channels. Be creative!
Sharing your Snapcode is just one way to build audience. A feature I love about Snapchats disappearing content is that when youre publishing fun, interesting content, people on Snapchat naturally want to share it with friends, and theyre compelled to do so quickly before it disappears! However, you can still save your content before it goes away and repurpose it in other places. Use it on your blog, syndicate it on Tumblr, create a tab for it on Facebook, upload it to YouTubethe skys the limit on the many ways your Snapchat content can be recirculated to external audiences, which grows your visibility.
Co-Create with Influencers/Customers
A technique thats getting lots of play these days is having Snap-savvy influencers and customer advocates take over a brands Snapchat channel for a period. When we see people like ourselves snapping on behalf of a brand, thats pretty powerful. Takeovers are like reviews or testimonials on steroids. Youve got to partner with the right people (and have guidelines and contracts in place), but handled correctly, they can be a way to scale your reach in a fun, engaging waybuilding trust with other peoples audiences.
Pure Social at its Core
To me, Snapchat is the ultimate in pure social media, because its built for in-the-moment, one-on-one engagement. However, it takes resources for a brand to sustain the kind of presence thats required to keep audience attention and interaction. If youre not consistently storytelling, communicating and engaging, you might as well not be there. Its definitely a commitment of people, time and effort, but I think every brand needs to encourage their employees and brand managers to experience it so they can build an understanding of what “social” really is.
Snapchat isnt like Facebook, Twitter or visual mediums like Periscope and Instagram, either. With other platforms you can fool yourself into thinking youre properly leveraged by simply “posting” and ignoring engagement. Also, its paid advertising is a bit rich for most ($100k for an ad on its 3V platformdown from $700k last year).
But for pure social engagement, I think it deserves close consideration, especially for retail brands who cater to its 13-34 age demographic. If you have the resources to build audience and are willing to stick it out for the long haul by communicating and creating new stories consistently, Snapchat can be a powerful, sustainable brand builder with younger audiences.