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Come on – who doesn’t want pics of themselves looking like this?

I’ve been on Snapchat for about two years now.  I will admit, it was my nieces that lured me into the world of snaps.  It was cute to watch them send photos of the world through their eyes and it got even better when Snapchat added the daily filters so I could see them vomit rainbows and morph into a panda.  I’ve even enjoyed watching their heads explode a few times.

As time progressed, more and more of my friends joined me on Snapchat and then I started to notice the brands that are not only getting on board but being pretty darn creative in their snaps.

I will also confess that at the start, I thought Snapchat was a passing phase and I also wondered how strong of a marketing tool it could be since by it’s very nature, the content is designed to disappear.  Typically marketers don’t spend their time on marketing strategies that are gone in a snap (now you get the name, right?!).
But think about it for a minute.

Fear of loss is a greater motivator than desire to gain.  People don’t want to miss out.  So what better what to get a captive audience than to give them content that they have to make an effort to make sure they don’t miss?  It stands out more, it’s anticipated more and it lends itself to going viral in a different way.  Rather than just sharing a tweet or FB post, they have to actually tell their friends and family to follow your account.  So you don’t get a lot of hype on one post, you get a new follower.  Pretty cool.  Assuming you know what to do with your followers!

My nephew looking pretty cool!

My nephew looking pretty cool!

Snapchat is also thought to deliver higher quality followers, primarily because the audience needs to seek you out intentionally via username or QR code.  There is no way to discover accounts by searching profiles right now.  So it stands to reason that if someone actively seeks you out, there are already more engaged and interested in your brand.  You can then take it to the next level and engage them with unique experiences, contests, sneak peeks and other “behind the curtains” content.

If you are marketing to millennials, Snapchat has to be part of your strategy.  Millennials don’t respond to content that feels fake and they are way less receptive to traditional advertising.  Snapchat is a great forum for unique and authentic content.

And while the onset of mainstream advertising will also create opportunity, for now because people aren’t bombarded with ads, brands have an opportunity to capture their full attention and not compete with ads.

So how much is Snapchat being used?

In January 2016, Bloomberg News reports that Snapchat delivers 7 billion videos to users daily. That number alone is pretty significant but what’s most impressive about it is that it represents nearly 50% growth in just four months.

Less than 35% of Facebook’s active users upload photos to FB on a daily basis, however 65% of Snapchat users upload photos daily.

No time wasted - my niece snaps on car rides to pass time.

No time wasted – my niece snaps on car rides to pass time.

In a world where public exposure is available to anyone, at any age, we see kids and teens all the way up through to young adults using social media to develop their own “brand” – their own unique style and vibe – something they can be known and recognized for.  They work hard to develop their brand and they are loyal to it once they create it.

Why does that matter for you?

An extension of who they are, is the companies and brands they follow.  It’s a point of pride.  So if your target audience is from 13 – 34, you want to be on Snapchat and become part of their daily experience.  While a 13 year old girl may not be heading to the mall to buy her own clothes, she certainly is going to speak loudly – and often – to her Mom and friends about what she wants.  This is an opportunity to reach a younger audience and become part of their conversation.

Here is the breakdown of active daily Snapchat users:

26 million are 13 to 17

37 million are 18 to 24

23 million are 25 to 34

12 million are 35 to 54

Right now one of the hottest trends is “streaks” – Snapchat tracks who you interact with daily and will keep track with little emojis and a number count.  Kids and millennials are working hard to build their streaks and they get pretty darn hard core about it.  Many will find a streak sitter to maintain their streak while they are away or unable to use Snapchat themselves.  Imagine the exposure you could get with your audience if you are able to engage them in a streak?

So How Do You Use Snapchat?

Take advantage of the Live Stories feature, and it’s a great way to create a story for your audience to follow and supplement the individual snaps you send.

Use it as a way to show your audience product launch teasers, celeb support, events, how to’s on product use and so much more.

Get to know your audience and don’t just promote the hell out of your product/service – focus on lifestyle marketing.  Give them what they are looking for.  Is your audience crazy about Percy Jackson?  Or Divergent?  Or are they loving Doctor Who?  Come up with some content that shows your audience you know them and want to join in the fun.  Not every post has to relate to your offerings and you’ll get a better response to the ones that are promotional if you’ve recently entertained your audience.

As with all social networks, connect with influencers and get them on board. Have them promote your content to their audience.

I’m not gonna lie, Snapchat is going to take some creativity and effort – but it’s going to be worth it if you do it right.

As my niece said “Snapchat is bae” – first person to comment and tell me what that means without googling it wins!

Me, at my finest.

Me, at my finest.