Should Your Brand Be On Snapchat or Give Up the Ghost?

photo-1429637119272-20043840c013 snapchat Should Your Brand Be On Snapchat or Give Up the Ghost? photo 1429637119272 20043840c013

A few months ago we brought Sierra on to our team as a community manager intern. During the first few weeks of her internship, we were hurling so much information at her about using social media platforms as mediums to connect and engage with Millennials on behalf of our clients. We were her teachers and she was getting a crash course in social media marketing.

Our team is made up of a group of super passionate professionals who are all in our early to mid 20s; but as a young Millennial herself, Sierra was able to give my team insights into what it meant to be a late high school / early college aged Millennial. To sum it up, Sierra taught us that Generation Y lives by the motto- if you didn’t Snapchat it, it didn’t happen.

Generation Y lives by the motto- if you didn’t Snapchat it, it didn’t happen. Click To Tweet

I’m going to be honest, I thought Snapchat was just an alternative medium for high school kids to send sexts because content on Snapchat disappears in 24 hours. As a marketer I didn’t see viability in Snapchat as a medium to market to that target audience- it seemed too closed, too personal.

I became intrigued by the platform on a personal level when my friends started calling and asking me if I saw their Snapchat story of the weekend they spent in Vegas and when my younger cousins were standing around their phones giggling after snapping a video of my dad dancing at our family BBQ. FOMO (fear of missing out) kicked in and I eventually downloaded the app and tried to figure out how to use it.

At first, I had no idea how to snap. I was so confused. How were people getting all those cool illustrated location tags on their snaps?! I had so many questions. A few days later our intern, Sierra, became my teacher. She gave me a crash course on all the secrets on how to become a Snapchat gawd.

After my crash course and a few trial snaps later, the platform had me hooked. Before long I was logging in multiple times throughout the day to view snaps. Getting a snap on Snapchat is like getting an insiders look into someone else’s day – a slice of their life. But, as a marketer, I wanted to know, beyond the brands on the Discover screen, were marketers and brands capitalizing on the uninterrupted attention of the 13-25 user demographic on Snapchat?

As I used the platform more frequently I began questioning whether brands should even bother trying to connect with Millennials on Snapchat or not.  Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that in my opinion most brands had best leave Snapchat to Generation Y… and here’s why:

1. You have limited resources

If your brand’s resources are limited and you aren’t able to share stories on Snapchat regularly, don’t make the commitment. Snapchat requires a lot of time and attention that can’t be half-assed

2. You lack personality

Snapchat’s closed community is far from Facebook, so not every brand will be able to fit in on the platform. Stay far away if your brand doesn’t have the light-hearted and uninhibited personality that the Snapchat community expects and indulges in.

3. Native content isn’t your thing

Creating native content for Snapchat is essential because users can’t upload content to the platform. Brands have gone as far as to hire editors and creatives to create vertical video content for the Snapchat Discover screen. Native content on Snapchat is short (videos are 10 seconds or less), entertaining, and creative, if you can’t do that, you can’t do Snapchat.

Millennials hate when brands try to be their best friend, because they already have best friends. Click To Tweet

However, with proper resources, personality, and a commitment to creating native content, your brand can flourish on Snapchat without being seen as a creepy marketer. Snapchat’s CEO said it the best, “We care about not being creepy. That’s something that’s really important to us.” Millennials hate when brands try to be their best friend, because they already have best friends. Snapchat isn’t about what you can get out of your audience, it is not about conversions and monetization– it’s about giving more than you get, entertaining, and engaging with your ‘friends.’

Snapchat is about giving more than you get, entertaining, and engaging with your 'friends.' Click To Tweet

The most important thing to remember when utilizing Snapchat is that it is not for traditional marketing nor for the faint at heart- it is for creating content that the Millennial demographic can connect with and relate to. And if it’s done right, brands will be able to build a deeper connection with the audience on Snapchat than through targeted Facebook ads and Instagram posts.

The most important thing to remember when utilizing Snapchat is that it is not for traditional marketing. Click To Tweet

The Snapchat community is all about sharing stories that are ephemeral and uninhibited without the filters and high quality editing. So if you’re reading this and you’re not on Snapchat yet but think your brand has a story to tell and fleeting moments to share, it’s not too late to pick up the phone and start snapping. But, you’d better make it snappy before Millennials are onto the next social media fad and all that’s left is the ghost of a great engagement app.

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