Snapchat Has Grown Up: What You Need To Know As A Marketer.

From the beginning Snapchat made the news for growing very quickly and as a favorite of Teens / Millennials. Yet this rising social media star also had a negative reputation of being a network for seedy activity such as sexting. But that was so two years ago. This HuffingtonPost article gives interesting insight into how the social network shed that image. Whatever Snapchat’s past today this social network has emerged as a serious consideration for marketers.

What’s more mainstream than the Tonight Show and Presidential Candidates?

Most recent Snapchat stats:

77% of Snapchat users are over the age of 18 Click To Tweet 100 million Snapchat users are active daily Click To Tweet 7 billion videos are viewed daily on Snapchat Click To Tweet 60% of 13-34 year-olds are Snapchat users Click To Tweet Brands can see 80% Snapchat engagement rates Click To Tweet

A lot has changed since this article “Thinking About Snapchat Advertising? Snap Out of It” appeared in Advertising Age in 2014. All the numbers above are impressive, but the big one is engagement rate. Snapchat marketers have reached engagement rates of 80% compared to Facebook where a 1% engagement rate is now considered good. Cosmopolitan has reported that they get up to 3 million views a day via their Snapchat Stories. It is icing on the cake that their user demographics have matured along with this 2011 startup.

Are you still new to Snapchat and just don’t get it? Here are some Snapchat basics. Some of these are courtesy of technology reviewer Joanna Stern from The Wall Street Journal – yes that is how grown up this social channel has become.

Snapchat Basics:

  • Snaps: Photos and 10 second videos you send to one or many friends that disappear after they are viewed. Sent and received snaps are to the left of your home screen.
  • Story: A series of pictures or videos that stick around for 24 hours. Friends’ stories are found to the right of the home screen. Users can also broadcast stories for all to see.
  • Chat: One-to-one texts that disappear once you navigate away from the chat screen. Chats are found to the left of the home screen.
  • Camera: Press once on round camera button to take a photo. Hold down for video. Pinch the screen to zoom. Switch from rear to front camera by double tapping. All photos and videos are vertical.
  • Effects: Hold down on the screen and you will get a selection of special effects or “Lenses” matched to facial movements.
  • Text & Art: Tap the text icon then resize by pinching and adjust color. Tap the emoji button and add drawings with the doodling tool.
  • Filters: Swipe right to add time, temp stamp, or a location theme. Keep swiping to add multiple filters and effects.
  • Friends: Adding friends in Snapchat is not easy. You must know their Snapchat Username or have them in your contacts.
  • Snapcodes: A way to promote your Snapchat account and add friends. Share your Snapcode (like a QR code) on other channels to get friends in Snapchat by them scanning it on their phone to add.

     Grow Snapchat friends on established channels by promoting Snapcodes.
    Grow Snapchat friends on established channels by promoting Snapcodes.

Marketing on Snapchat:

One way for a brand to succeed on Snapchat is to grow friends organically and create valuable daily content. This does take a lot of effort, but may be worth it for the stats above that other social media channels many not deliver. It is also good to note that you can always screen shot or save the content you create on Snapchat and post on other channels to be repurposed beyond the 24 hour story expiration.

If you don’t have the patience or large audience base to draw from other social channels to grow organically Snapchat does offer several native advertising ways to buy your way in.

Brands can appear in the LIVE section under stories like Chobani who paid to be a part of Snapchat’s College Game Day Live story integrated in two slots in the story. Live story aggregates content from a mix of fans to highlight events happening now.

Brands can also buy their way into the DISCOVER section under stories. Discover is for publishers, but brands can partner with publishers like Cosmopolitan, CNN, BuzzFeed, or Food Network to co-create story content. Dunkin’ Donuts created a campaign with ESPN’s Snapchat Discover channel to promote the food chain to football fans with fun, playful shorts.

Adweek has reported that Snapchat is now also selling promoted snaps that appear in user’s recent updates feed and last for 24 hours. Brands can also purchase Selfie Filters. Both of these options are very pricey, but the network says an effort like Sponsored Selfie Filters can reach up to 16 million people a day.

The Bottom Line:

Snapchat is the new frontier for most major brands. The latest report I could find says that only 1% of brands are on Snapchat. This is good for early advantage, but also means experimentation and more work. Social media monitoring and publishing software has also not caught up so all content creation must be done within the app.

Snapchat may be labor intensive, but the stats above may be worth the investment. At least until Snapchat grows crowded with us older people and marketers and everyone runs to the next big thing.

For more insights into the big picture in social media strategy consider Social Media Strategy: Marketing and Advertising in the Consumer Revolution.

To consider the bigger picture in measurement see Why You Need A Social Media Measurement Plan And How To Create One. To consider the bigger picture in social media marketing Ask These Questions To Ensure You Have The Right Strategy.

Ride The Cluetrain To Five Easy Pieces: New Marketing Strategy For A New Digital Market

The Cluetrain Manifesto taught us that even in the digital age marketing is a craft. Old time markets started as a place where people talked about what they cared about – the craft goods on the table between them. As the distance between producer and consumer lengthened, a gap in our business voice and our authentic voice appeared. Marketing became an applied science to engineer responses through calibrated stimuli.

Today the Internet has made markets networked and given a voice back to the consumer. And with that voice brings craft: work by individuals motivated by passion. In response, marketing needs to become a craft. Craftworkers listen design the house to fit with the landscape. By listening, marketers re-learn how to talk and engage customers in their story. What are the ingredients of this new brand story? Five Easy Pieces.

Years after Cluetrain marketing guru Seth Godin gave us five building blocks, “Five Easy Pieces,” that take marketing above the bazillion tactics it has become. It is time to move past the applied mindset of the four “P”s and look at marketing through five elements: Data, Stories, Products (services), Interactions and Connection.

DATA is observational. What do people actually do and want? How do they get to  and “get” your brand?

STORIES define everything you say and do. The product has a myth, the service has a legend.

PRODUCTS/SERVICES are physical manifestations of the story. Push the product to be the story/myth.

INTERACTIONS are all the tactics the marketer uses to touch the consumer. Interactions are everything.

CONNECTION is the end goal. Connection between you and between customers – tribes of the faithful.

Sunzi taught us in The Art of War that strategy was not planning by working through an established list, but rather responding to changing conditions. In the diner scene from Five Easy Pieces, what was the strategy (story) of the diner? Was it built around the customer? If it was, then the waitress’s tactics could have changed to meet the needs of Robert (Jack Nicholson). Robert (Jack) was willing to pay the price of a chicken salad sandwich to get his toast! A customer approach considers value. With instant Internet comparison shopping strategic differentiation now comes from the value a company can provide.

Today Jack gets his side order of toast or he’s Tweeting about it to hundreds of followers. And now there are ten other diners in the same strip mall. You’re also competing for his attention. You need brand stories built around customers that are told in the channels (touchpoints) most likely to reach them. Today you need customer-centric marketing in order to succeed. Get on the Cluetrain and build your brand on Five Easy Pieces or like Robert you’ll be in the fast lane on the road to nowhere.

Do We All Need Twitter Editors? [update]

This article first appeared on my blog 6 years ago, but I think it is still relevant with updates and insights for today’s environment.

In 2010 many companies were still not not open to the idea of social media websites like Facebook and Twitter because they couldn’t censor customer comments. But another important consideration is employee social talk with both the positive and negatives. Look at football players for example. Over the years there have been numerous examples of players hurting their team, university, the sport or their own personal brands through rash Twitter comments.

In the NFL the Philadelphia Eagles had a Tweetgate, where they had to apologize for Todd Herremans’ anti-homosexual tweet. And Raven’s Ray Rice tweeted about getting out of a ticket because he bribed the officer with an autograph for his son. In college football an Oklahoma player was suspended following inappropriate Twitter comments he made following a shooting incident at the University of Texas. A Utah player sparked a controversy with a comment he made about Boise State before the upcoming Maaco Bowl in Las Vegas. These NFL and college teams may have a Twitter communication plan, but these are players acting and reacting on their own. What is needed beyond marketing or PR involvement in social media is employee social media policies and training.

An example of a company with a Twitter plan that encourages employees to Tweet is In fact, there are just under 500 Zappos employees tweeting for the company. Sound like a management nightmare? They don’t seem to be tweeting off the cuff as much as football players. For example, two years ago the company had massive layoffs. Hundreds of employees reacted strongly on the company’s Twitter feed, but instead of a PR nightmare, it was something the company embraced. Instead of censoring laid off employees, Zappos remained as transparent as usual. In the end, employees appreciated it, management benefited and customers saw as a company from which they want to buy.

What’s the secret? Zappos invests heavily in employee training. They don’t just set them up with Twitter accounts and let them go. Zappos management equips employees with plenty of tools and guidelines to effectively tweet and represent the company online. The company also puts a lot of energy into hiring smart people.

Do you trust your company or organization’s employees with social media or could they benefit from some social media training?