By @TheMarkDalton

If you had asked me a year ago about using Snapchat as part of your social media strategy and digital marketing plans I would have said, “forget it, there are far more important platforms to focus on from a business perspective” and I was right. 

However, Snapchat is growing at a massive rate particularly among the younger generation. As a business owner or a marketer on social media, we need to go to where people are paying attention. Twitter, Facebook and now Instagram are still very much the bread and butter. You need to start by nailing those platforms and then look towards expanding to new platforms.

Over the past year my opinion on Snapchat has been changing as the platform grows and attracts new users. Now I see it as a useful side tool for digital marketing with a strong emphasis on ‘side tool.’ It should not by any means take over your core online marketing strategy, not yet anyway.

Snapchat has the attention of 15-25 year olds at the moment, this may not be your current target market right now however it is important none the less. These are your future customers and there is an opportunity to start building a connection with them as soon as you can. Snapchat discover tools are also enabling people to find and connect with new brands and brands that they know so well so there is a chance to get in among the businesses already there before the platform becomes overcrowded.

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One of the key pro’s of Snapchat is the rate at which content is being consumed. Think about it, how many times have you flicked through your Twitter feed and just scrolled past a load of tweets without actually looking at them? We all do it! We don’t consume all of the content we see on Twitter, its just not possible because of the rate that Twitter moves at.

However, Snapchat is different. When someone opens one of your stories it means that as a marketer you now have 100% of that persons attention for the length of the content’s life. They are completely engaged and you can be certain they are consuming your content, its not quite the same on other social media platforms. An impression on Snapchat holds more value than an impression on an alternative social media platform because of how Snapchat forces users to actually view content.

If 15-25 year olds are your target audience then you definitely need to get yourself on Snapchat however even if your business is not targeting this age range there is still a fantastic opportunity to hop on board, have some fun and engage people who could end up being the future of your business.

Snapchat is the marketing opportunity with the long game in mind and we don’t always consider that part of the online marketing world. We tend to focus on the here and the now without looking down the line. The game now is to identify what platforms are going to be a success and to get on board before brands simply overcrowd them.

Snapchat is a fantastic opportunity to provide some behind the scenes fun into who you are and what it is you do. It is all about being genuine, be you and just have some fun with it. Don’t take it seriously and don’t make it too formal. Keep it casual, funny, exciting and fresh. Just have fun with it!

Snapchat is also pretty stress free too. There is no ability to “like,” no way to know how many friends or followers you have and no way to compare how many people you are following versus how many are following you. Of course you can view your friends list and you can see who has added you recently but all the followers or friends numbers don’t exist on Snapchat which is a good thing. With all that stress is taken out, people can enjoy the app.

Snapchat is definitely a platform you should consider using before it comes over crowded and overwhelmed by too many companies. It won’t take much longer for that to happen at the rate it is growing at, but should you choose to use Snapchat as a marketing too, what are the drawbacks?

1. No outgoing links

A big drawback from a marketing perspective. There is no way at the moment to simply move someone from Snapchat into the funnel you want them to go into so they may buy some of your product. Sure you can type a link as text into a Snapchat, just hope that the link you are pasting as text is easy for people to look up in their web browser because that is what they are going to have to do. If you were having trouble getting conversions from Instagram you are going to find conversions from Snapchat harder.

2. Finding and adding new followers can be a bit of a pain

You need to have either the snapcode or the exact username of the person you want to add on Snapchat. If you don’t have the snapcode of their username then there is no way of actually finding them. There is no people discovery tool available and maybe Snapchat has set it up this way so that users who want to be private can do so easily. However from a marketing perspective we want to reach as many people as possible, so this can be a bit of a problem.

3. Analytics that disappear 

Nothing in Snapchat sticks around, not even analytics. You can view analytics for your posts, however these also disappear with the post 24 hours later. This can be a huge problem for marketers. Sure you can keep records of all your analytics on a spreadsheet for future reference and to see how you are progressing but that is only really useful to you. Imagine reporting to your Chief Financial Officer down the line and he asks for your Snapchat analytics to so the can see the results of your labour. A spreadsheet or a few graphs and pie charts made by yourself really won’t cut it. If Snapchat were to build an analytics dashboard where the data didn’t vanish off the face of the earth, now that would be useful.

4. Cross promotion is non existent

This is my final gripe with Snapchat, you can’t share one of your stories directly onto another social network. Imagine having thousands of Twitter followers or Facebook fans and not being able to share a link to a Snapchat story directly to them. Sure you can invite them to add you on Snapchat but then you have to hope they see your story too and it won’t always happen that way.


 

From a marketing perspective, Snapchat is starting to find its place. Some businesses have jumped on board prematurely claiming it to be gold and the future when it was not really the case at the time.

HoweveFullSizeRenderr now there is a chance to focus in current customers or potential future customers while also having a great deal of fun. For the content creators Snapchat could turn out to be gold on returns to your blog or website if you can successfully figure out a way to convert in high volumes. Like I mention above this could be a bit of a challenge however not impossible.

If you want to add me on Snapchat then you can find my by searching for the username: themarkdalton or you can save the snapcode of my goofy mug on the left to your camera roll and use it to add me on Snapchat.

Apparently snapcodes are what the cool kids use to add people on networks these days but whatever way you want to do it I will leave up to you and who knows, you may see some content starting to appear there as I dust the cobwebs off my account.

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