September 25, 2014 Robert Woodford

Why you need to consider Snapchat as a business tool

Unless you have teenagers, or are a young adult yourself, you may not know anything about Snapchat. Let me enlighten you.

Imagine Snapchat as a lightning-fast SMS service. You send someone a picture or a short video using your smartphone. The difference from texting is that you can’t save or send on a “snap” (although there are allegedly third party applications that can). As soon as you view it, it’s gone. You can send what you want without being afraid that what you’ve sent will end up where you don’t want it to be.

So how can something like Snapchat be considered a business tool? Again, let me enlighten you.

People disregard Snapchat as a business tool as there’s no permanence. You receive, you look, you read and it’s gone … shazam. How can you build up brand presence like that?

Firstly, let me say this. If someone happens to see your ad on TV, do they record it? They view it, and it’s gone. Sure, they may see it again, but there’s absolutely no guarantee of that. Is there any difference? The same applies to any banner advert you may have on a website.

Secondly, look again at that first sentence. The people who use snapchat belong to the holiest of holies when it comes to your customer base … the millennials. Young, tech-savvy people who are either your customers now, or will be in a few years.

For millenials, Snapchat is more popular than Twitter. Do you have a Twitter presence? If so, why do you not have a Snapchat presence?

So, how do you connect with your potential Snapchat audience? Studies have shown that the vast majority of Snapchat users use the app to send funny pictures or comments to their friends (although there is a growing ‘sexting’ element). To use Snapchat successfully as a business tool, you just have to ape that (minus the ‘sexting’ element of course!).

The great thing about Snapchat is that it shares the same sense of immediacy as Twitter. The ancient marketing ploy of repetition just doesn’t work on these platforms. If you send the same message again and again and again you just become seen as annoying.

So, use Snapchat to broadcast the non-serious nature of your business. Life’s meant to be fun, after all. No one wants to receive a snap of your Q3 profit projections. Things that amuse us can happen in a flash – in a moment of comic inspiration – which what makes the immediacy of Snapchat so appealing.

Perhaps winning the buy-in of your marketing heads in regards to Snapchat will be too great a hurdle to surmount (and I speak as one who remains nervous – so am writing this to persuade myself!), or perhaps your brand doesn’t yet see the millennials niche as something worth the effort to lavish budgets upon. If so, then that’s fair enough. At least you tried.

However, the real danger comes if you dismiss the potential Snapchat has as a business tool out of hand. The world of digital marketing moves at breakneck speeds – so much so that often you’re contemplating one new marketing channel just as another one comes along to replace it. Make sure you at least consider the potential Snapchat has as a business tool for your brand, else you could be missing out.