Social media moves quickly. Just because you’ve mastered Facebook or Twitter doesn’t mean you can stop learning or experimenting. Case in point: Snapchat. It’s the latest social media craze for users between the ages of 13 and 23, and if you’re a business or brand, it’s worth checking out. Today we’re going to explain what it is, how it works, and why it matters. By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll have all the information you need to dip your toes into the Snapchat pool.
What Is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a messaging app that allows users to take photos or record videos and add text and drawings before sending them to other users. These messages are called “Snaps.” Users choose who can see their Snaps, and also set a time limit for how long their Snaps can be viewed, which can last anywhere between one and ten seconds. After that time is up the Snap disappears, never to be seen again. Snapchat is a strictly mobile app, which means it’s limited to smartphone use, and it’s an easy, simple, and fun way to share messages and communicate with friends.
And people actually enjoy this?
Do they ever! In May, the mobile app boasted 100 million daily users, 65% of whom uploaded photos. Researchers have even found that people are happier after using Snapchat than they are after using other social media apps, such as Facebook and Twitter. This is because Snapchat feels more like good, old-fashioned, face-to-face communication. Because you share your Snaps with a select group of friends, it’s more personal than broadcasting your life to the world at large, which is a huge part of its appeal. And while Snapchat initially had a reputation for—ahem—risqué photos, most people admit to using the platform to send their friends funny selfies.
How is this relevant to my business?
To offer something to a wider audience, Snapchat released Stories. These Stories are a string of Snaps that exist for 24 hours, and can be viewed by either a select group or publically, based on the user’s settings. Many businesses and brands are creating stories and posting them so they can be viewed by anyone. This is still a new feature and many brands are still experimenting, but so far there are accounts for a range of companies, including Food Network, Buzzfeed, and National Geographic. Some brands are using Stories to preview new products, as a teaser for content on their website, or as a way to offer behind-the-scenes look at their company. Since Snapchat is still relatively new, the platform is ripe for experimentation, and the brands that start using it now will have a leg up on those who insist on ignoring it.
Hm. I’m suddenly sort of interested in Snapchat.
We figured you would be! The next step is downloading it to your smartphone (don’t worry, it’s free) and trying it out for yourself. Soon, you’ll be snapping like a natural! And while we joke around about looking cool, the truth is that staying relevant is important for your business, brand, or company.
Good luck, and have fun!