Social media is a funny thing. When Twitter first burst onto the scene ten years ago, most people dismissed the microblogging platform as being unimportant and insignificant. Who cares what you had for lunch, right? Today, Twitter is one of the most important marketing platforms for business of all sizes. The same thing happened with Instagram. People thought it was a place for #foodporn and #selfie enthusiasts, but it has also grown into a very important and viable place to market your brand too.
More recently, we’re starting to observe the same trend emerge with Snapchat. It started out as the disposable messaging platform for tweens and teens, somewhere they could send funny pictures between one another with the knowledge that the message would self-destruct (even though it doesn’t really ever completely disappear, of course).
But now, we’re seeing some big brands use Snapchat as part of their marketing mix. The same thing can apply to smaller businesses, Internet brands and bloggers too. Yes, that includes you.
I was a little late to the party, so I wasn’t able to secure “michaelkwan” as my username. Instead, I had to settle for “michaelkwanbtr” as my handle. It’s not ideal, but I suppose it will have to do. I don’t claim to be a Snapchat expert, by any means, but I have noticed at least three big reasons why Snapchat could prove to be positively invaluable to anyone trying to reach a particular audience online.
1. It’s Mobile Only
While this may sound like a hindrance more than an advantage, it is also one of the reasons why Instagram got so popular in the first place too. Because Snapchat is mobile, it means that everyone will always have it close at hand, bringing it along with them no matter where they go. It’s not a website they can ignore and forget about for stretches at a time.
The mobile focus is very much in line with current online trends and it further solidifies the importance of keeping mobile as part of your overall marketing strategy.
2. It’s Temporary
Again, this may also sound like a shortcoming, but the very fleeting nature of Snapchat means that users will feel compelled to check their Snapchat app frequently to make sure they don’t miss out on anything. Any given Snapchat Story is only saved and available for no more than 24 hours at a time.
If someone misses something on Twitter, they can always go back to check it. If someone misses something on Facebook, the algorithm will bubble it back to the top. If someone misses something on Snapchat, they’ll miss it forever. Views and engagement are much more motivated, meaning it’s actually less likely that your followers will miss what you’re Snapping.
A big part of the challenge is that measuring the metrics of Snapchat isn’t easy. Because the content is temporary, it’s harder for you to keep tabs on total unique views or how many people watched your Story clear through the end.
There are third-party solutions, like Snaplytics available and as Snapchat increasingly recognizes the importance of the platform to companies and brands, better native features and support will surely surface.
3. It’s Cool with Millennials
Potentially one of the most lucrative but most difficult to reach demographics today are millennials. They’re tech-savvy and they’re not afraid to use an array of ad blockers on their devices. You need to reach them much more directly and you need to find them where they already are. And they’re already on Snapchat.
If your blog, company or products are geared toward younger people, or if this demographic is a significant part of your customer or user base, you shouldn’t ignore the possibilities of Snapchat as part of your marketing mix. Make yourself interesting and available and you could develop a strong following of lifelong fans… even if they only look at and listen to you a few seconds at a time.