Snapchat launched more than two years ago and rocketed into the mainstream last year after Facebook tried and failed to kill it, but brands have been slow to embrace the platform.
Snapchat is a mobile-only messaging app that allows users to send a photo or video “snap” that automatically deletes after being viewed. The sender can choose the amount of time the snap can be viewed, from one to ten seconds, and then POOF! The message is gone forever!
Why Snapchat is Different From Other Social Media
What makes Snapchat different from other social media platforms is the ability to form a personal connection with the recipient. Unlike the other social networks where the posts are public, a snap is delivered and comes across as being tailored specifically to the recipient, even though the snap itself could have been sent to an entire group of people!
It gives your company the ability to form a personal connection with someone. Snaps can’t be forwarded or shared to others, so it makes one feel special to receive a snap.
Innovative Ways to Utilize Snapchat in Your Social Media Marketing
I like Snapchat for same reasons we liked Facebook and Twitter when they came onto the scene: they’re cool and possibilities are endless. Snapchat provides marketers and brands a platform for interacting with consumers in humorous and personal way.
Connect with a younger demographic
The 13 to 25-year-old demographic can be hard to reach on other, more established platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Snapchat has a much younger audience that can be used as a platform to encourage younger people to support your cause, so Snapchat provides a way for brands to potentially reach that audience in ways they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Create a narrative
Create a narrative
Snapchat, like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ before it, will likely develop additional features as it grows. One of the most recent additions was the launch of Snapchat Stories, a feature which enables brands to build and string together a narrative over the course of a day. Stories can be viewed as many times before the 24 hours is up and then they disappear. Clips are removed piece by piece as they reach the time limit and newer ones are added to the end of the story cycle.
The ability of Snapchat Stories to build a daylong narrative opens the door for creative uses of Snapchat by brands. Brands can now create a connected and engaging narrative for users, instead of relying on one-off snaps. Much like Vine brought about flipbook-style videos for brands; Snapchat provides a medium for content that tells a connected story that doesn’t get disrupted by the content of other accounts and allows for a narrative thread to be built.
This could be an interesting method to show progress and development over the course of a 24-hour cycle. Especially in organizations that focus on rehabilitation or emergency relief, 24 hours of storytelling could have a significant impact.
Embrace it as ephemeral
If you want to use Snapchat as a platform for your marketing campaign, you need to think of its time-limit feature as an opportunity, not a problem. The reason Snapchat has piqued the interest of so many young phone holders is because the time limit captures their attention, holds it, and then leaves them laughing, scratching their heads or speechless. Nonprofits on this platform need to do the same thing with their marketing campaign.
What I find interesting about self destructing content is how this plays into problems that have emerged around the nature of publishing content on the web. The internet has provided the public with the unique opportunity for people like me to publish freely and thereby providing readers access to information that was otherwise unavailable, but this freedom has created new challenges.
One of those is managing information. Part of the appeal of a platform like Snapchat is that it is ephemeral, and that we don’t have to sort through tons of messages.
Focus on relationship building
Reaching a smaller engaged audience is more important for nonprofits than a massive disengaged audience.
It’s not how many followers you have, it’s how many care. It’s not width, it’s depth. It’s not how many impressions you get, it’s how engaged they are with your cause.
Snapchat is an ephemeral, one-to-one experience which yields high engagement allowing nonprofits to deepen relationships with supporters because of the perceived intimacy of the platform.
Applying this theory to non-profit organizations, sending donor specific Snaps could increase donor involvement with projects as they can see first-hand the impact their support has on a project or sharing behind the scenes images of the programs you are delivering and the work you do. Providing this type of intimate access will make supporters feel closer to your cause.
Just as the 140-character limit of Twitter has become one of its defining features, the “voyeuristic” nature of Snapchat is one of the features that makes it uniquely effective.