What is Snapchat and Do I Need One For My Business?

By: D. Cohn Communications Last Updated: May 6, 2016

teaNo doubt you’ve been hearing a lot about Snapchat recently. Snapchat is a social platform that owes more to instant messaging than to more traditional social platforms like Facebook or Twitter. It is completely visual and used heavily by young people. According to Snapchat, “60% of 13-34-year-old smartphone users are Snapchatters.” Like Instagram, it’s managed entirely via smartphone.

The beauty of Snapchat is that it’s hip, young, instant, engaging, and fun. Businesses share their Snaps and 10-second videos via the platform’s Story feature. Filters and crayons let you customize your Snaps for added creativity. The photos and videos are viewable for up to 10 seconds at a time, for 24 hours. After 24 hours, the images disappear, so content is very up-to-the-minute. There’s an integrated chat feature as well, so it’s possible to have one-on-one conversations with your followers. Another bonus is Snapchat tells you exactly how often your Snap has been viewed, so your metrics are instant.

The downside of Snapchat for marketing is that if you’re not used to it, it can be confusing to set-up and learn, and if you’re not adept at creating engaging photos or videos on your phone, you won’t attract much of a following. Snapchat has a storytelling culture, not an ad-centric culture. Because the photos and videos have to be taken with your phone, there’s not much opportunity to create polished ads, and users wouldn’t like them anyway. The strategy for creating content for Snapchat is definitely different from other social media platforms.

Also, building a following can be a bit more complicated than it is on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You’ll want to friend others, as well as download and share your Snapcode regularly on all your other social media platforms until you have a growing Snapchat friend base.

So who should buy into the Snapchat craze? Given its relatively limited demographic, you really only want Snapchat for your business if you have a highly visual product or company culture that will appeal to teens and Millennials. Users who have a good eye for creating behind-the-scenes, visual stories will do well. If that’s you, give it a whirl, but be prepared to put some effort into setting up and promoting your account.

There are some very helpful guides available to help you set up your account and plan out what content you will share. Snapchat’s set-up guidelines are here: https://support.snapchat.com/en-US/ca/getting-started.

And the Social Media Examiner takes you through the process step by step at http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/snapchat-for-business-a-guide-for-marketers

Thanks for reading, and keep submitting your social media marketing questions to us at info@dcohn.com.