How Brands Can Use Snapchat

By Andi Barton Business Insider reported in July that 18.6% of iPhoners today use Snapchat, a picture sharing app that automatically deletes the photos you send seconds after the receiver opens them. Globally, it was the most downloaded, non-game app in May of 2013.

Snapchat saw a rise in popularity because it's an alternative to paying for each photo you send by text message. That, in addition to the popularity of taking a mobile-camera self portrait (known as a "selfie"), has skyrocketed Snapchat's popularity its launch in September of 2011. The selfie phenomenal even resulted in Oxford adding the term  to the dictionary as of last week. So I pose this question: what are you waiting for?

Looking to dive into the world of Snapchat as a brand? You can consider yourself an early adopter. Brands are still testing the waters with how, when and why they should take the plunge. Be sure to consider the following when building our your strategy:

  • How: Know where your audience lives and spread the word there. Cross promoting your new platforms is a fool proof way to ensure you are reaching your existing fan base. Currently the process of adding fans on Snapchat is organic and manual. However, with the quick growth and overwhelming popularity, it's safe to assume the functionality of the app from a brand perspective is bound to change (you heard it here first!).
  • When: Snapchat users exchange 200 millions "snaps" per day. With the life expectancy of 10 seconds (max), it's easy to share content at a quicker pace. And with the short attention span of social media users today, 10 seconds is just the right amount of time to grab attention, without truly intruding on their browsing. The question becomes: when do you blast out your content? It will vary:
    • Be timely: if you are pushing a secret offer or an announcement, it is important to be time sensitive in your post strategy.
    • Be sparse: Similar to any social networking content strategy, you do not want to overwhelm your fans with excessive posting. Be strategic in your allocation; remember it is not always necessary to post every day. The surprise factor will allure fans more if they cannot predict when you will be jumping into their "snap" inbox.
  • Why: With social media, no two networks are the same. If your brand is experimenting with Snapchat, it should be in order to activate a different type of user. Sure, there will be overlap. However, be sure that you understand the reason you are taking on a new network approach.

In the world of social networking, it is essential to maintain degrees of innovation. Surprise your fans by showing them that you understand their behaviors, that you understand where they appreciate that innovation in social! Snapchat has an immense of opportunity for brands to leverage a new world of users. The world of selfies and quick media are the way of the future, and it's time for your brand to experiment!

Where do you see Snapchat evolving for brands? Share your thoughts in the comments below!