Social media platforms are so plentiful and so effective these days, there is a platform for all age groups or interests. For example, Facebook reaches a broad audience while Tumblr caters to a more artistic audience while Linkedin remains strictly professional. But one platform, Snapchat, is gaining popularity not only as a whole, but among the younger social media-using demographic.
Snapchat has recently gotten a bad reputation through mainstream media decrying it as a tool that makes “sexting” easier and more common. These claims, however, are untrue. According to Sumpto, a marketing firm that conducts studies among college students, only 2% of those surveyed reported using Snapchat for this manner.
Snapchat has grown in popularity not only among users, but as an effective social media marketing tool. Given the majority audience (high school/college age), it can be easy to ineffectively use Snapchat as a marketing tool. But before we can get into why it might be effective, I want to first explain what it is for those who don’t already know.
Snapchat is a photo and video sharing app exclusively for smartphones. Users can choose who they send a picture or video to, set the time that it can be viewed, and add drawings or text to it. Once the file is opened by the recipient, they can only see it for the amount of time the sender has designated. Once the time is up, its gone, never to be opened again. Unless, of course, the recipient(s) take a screenshot of the picture or you post the stuff to your “story”. Then, any of your friends on Snapchat can see what you have posted as much as they want for 24 hours.
Now, before deciding if Snapchat is right for your business, there are some things you must know. First, finding friends on Snapchat is not as simple as it is on other platforms. Since it is a mobile-only app, the quickest way to find friends is through your phone’s contact list. Once you have sent requests to these people, they must approve you. From there, word-of-mouth is the best way to expand your friend base.
In addition, the obvious age group is important to consider. We are talking about reaching primarily a 15-29 year old group. Do you own a coffee shop in a college town? Snapchat would work for you. Are you a Patent Lawyer in Baltimore? Maybe not so much. Like any marketing strategy, the key is to find who uses your product or service and reach them on their terms. While Snapchat is used by a very specific age group, its level of use is very high.
Since it is so simple to use, Snapchat is quickly becoming one of the most often used apps on the market among those that have it. In the Sumpto study, 77% of the 1,650 people surveyed said they use Snapchat at least once a day. As a 21 year old college student, I can tell you that I check my “snaps” before anything else when I turn on my phone.
It is fun. It is new. And if you run a business that this demographic likes, your customer base could grow dramatically. It is a more accessible and more personal method of getting the word out about your business. To put it into perspective, think about receiving a snap directly from your favorite musician as opposed to seeing a post about what they are doing on Facebook. The snap would be so much more interesting and exciting, right? Instead of broadcasting information that anyone could find through a Google search, that musician sent YOU something about their new album. Again, it is more personable and quickly becoming a very popular app. If your business reaches that group, I’d say give it a try.
By: Alec England, columnist, The Site Vamp