Even if you don’t have the deep pockets to afford a listing in the discovery section of Snapchat, there is still an opportunity to participate in the fastest growing social network on the web. As with all things social media, it will require some creativity as well as an investment of time for engagement. Here are a few lessons that may prove useful to those considering the use of this medium:
Lesson #1: Leverage Other Social Media Channels
For those who don’t have the budget for a listing in the discovery section, this is the alternative. Snapchat doesn’t make it easy to connect with people. Unlike Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, there is no capability to search and discover other users.
Forget searching by keywords, hashtags, locations, workplace, etc. That capability doesn’t exist. However, Kelsey Jones has made it a bit easier to find other users by compiling a list of Snapchat User Directories.
Lesson #2: Let an Influencer Jumpstart Your Campaign
There are legions of YouTube, Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat “Stars” with tens of thousands or even millions of followers. A Snapchat “takeover” occurs when a brand contracts with an influencer to create a story that fits their unique persona, thus appealing to their followers. A takeover may last a few hours or an entire day.
The key is in finding the right influencer who will “fit” the brand. You can do this yourself or you can hire an agency that specializes in the realm. When done correctly, the opportunity exists to grow Snapchat followers exponentially in a very short time frame.
Lesson #3: Competition is Limited and Now is the Time to Jump In
According to mediakix, 22% of ad execs plan to advertise on Snapchat in 2016. This mirrors a recent SEJ survey, where 21% of the respondents said they were planning on doing so. Only 5% of the SEJ respondents are currently on Snapchat. For a platform with 150 million daily users, this represents a huge opportunity for advertisers.
With the introduction of Snapchat Partners , the company is making it easier and more cost-effective for prospective advertisers. Inventory will be sold using an auction-based system. Currently, ads sell in the range of $40-60 per thousand impressions.
Lesson #4: Snapchat Memories is the Beginning of the End
At least that’s the way that William Turton sees it. A new feature, Memories, now allows you to save pictures to the app, as well as upload old pictures to your story. Turton theorizes that by providing users with the ability to upload more content to stories, Snapchat will then have more opportunities to show more ads. The nearly simultaneous rollout of Snapchat partners and Memories leads me to believe that he’s on to something.
I have to part ways with Turton in his assessment this will ruin Snapchat. Narcissism is far more powerful than “raw and real”. Look no further than the regular stories of people dying in pursuit of the ultimate selfie. Having the opportunity to edit and publish the “best of” oneself on Snapchat could actually strengthen the platform and broaden the appeal and user base.
Lesson #5: Snapchat Demographics are Shifting—Take Advantage of It
Imran Khan, Snapchat’s Chief Strategy Officer, claims the app reaches 41% of all consumers 18-34 in the U.S on any given day. It’s also worth noting that over 50% of new users are 26 and older. An estimated 14% of U.S. Smartphone users aged 35 or older are now on Snapchat.
Like Facebook and Instagram before it, Snapchat’s demographics are now beginning to skew older. This is the natural result of the app assimilating into the mainstream and users getting accustomed to the app’s functionality and features. Regardless of user age, Snapchat has an incredibly high engagement rate, with over 50% of users on the platform daily. Thanks to memories, and the massive amounts of new content it is expected to generate, Snapchat audiences are likely to increase the number of hours spent on the app every day.
Lesson #6: Snapchat isn’t for Direct Sales
Snapchat is a medium best used for building brands and relationships. There is no good way to monetize the platform. That may change in the future, should they decide to follow Facebook & Twitters lead by mixing sponsored stories in with followers.
Because there is no capability for adding a clickable link, one must rely upon users to take a screenshot, then manually navigate their way to a landing page. This is the ultimate conversion killer. If you are expecting to use Snapchat for direct sales, you can stop reading this post right now.
Lesson #7: Snapchat is a Great Place to Repurpose Tips and Tutorials
A number of brands are having success by filling their stories with tips and tutorials. Creating how-to guides and FAQs that dovetail with your products or services should already be a core component of your content marketing program. This is the kind of content that Google rewards with rankings and social media promotes with shares.
For inspiration, check out Sephora and BirchBox. Both are doing a nice job of filling their stories with make-up tips and Lifestyle how-tos. Repurposing YouTube and Facebook content as quick tip videos on Snapchat is a no brainer.
Snapchat isn’t for everybody. There is a fairly steep learning curve and a higher cost involved in building an audience. The payoff comes from the high level of engagement—which is unmatched by other social media channels.