Why I Love Snapchat and How I’m Using it For Business
I love Snapchat. Yeah, I know I've talked about streaming video before, but this time, it's different. I promise!
A Brief History
Snapchat burst onto the scene a few years ago and had it's initial release in September of 2011. Two Standford University students, Evan Spiegel and Frank Reginald “Reggie” Brown, created Snapchat and later brought in a third guy, Bobby Murphy, to help them code and turn their class project into a working app.
Spiegel, Brown and Murphy (sounds like a law firm doesn't it?) tried several different ideas around their project, code-named “Picaboo,” before finally getting it right. They're a wonderful example of entrepreneurs who:
A: See a problem
B: Develop a solution
C: Work to fine-tune that solution based on market feedback
What Snapchat is NOT
The first time I heard of Snapchat, I was told it was a new app so teens could send nudey pics to one another without worry because those pics would disappear almost immediately.
Snapchat is NOT that.
Technically, any social media platform could be used that way. Terms and conditions be damned, kids will be kids and delinquents will be delinquent. Plus, remember when “sexting” was a thing? -you don't need an app to send inappropriate images.
A year or so later, when the topic of Snapchat came up again, I was told it was mostly for young people and that no one over the age of 20 used it. It's not worth my time, so don't look into it.
Snapchat is NOT that.
Sure, the early adopters of Snapchat were teenagers. But why wouldn't they be? It was developed by three guys who were, until recently, teenagers.
Today, Snapchat has curated content from major media outlets like the Wall Street Journal, iHeart Radio, ESPN, MTV, National Geographic, IGN, and even CNN. While people under 35 might be the most popular user group of Snapchat, the app is not just for kids.
Then, as the app began to pick up steam, I was told no one was using it (man, it really seems like someone is trying to keep people away!). In truth, I did find it hard, at first, to build an audience on Snapchat. But the idea that Snapchat is an empty platform is just plain false.
Snapchat is NOT that.
What Shapchat IS
The truth is, Snapchat has over 100,000,000 (that's 100 million) active users every day, and those users view over 2 Billion videos, every day. (Source)
The truth is, Snapchat is “the best way to reach 13 to 34-year-olds.” Have you ever asked someone under the age of 25, “who uses Facebook?” The polite ones will say “everybody;” the honest ones will say “old people.”
Trust me; I've tested this.
I'm not saying Snapchat is the next Facebook. But, I will say Spiegel, Brown and Murphy are making HUGE strides to connect with the next users of, well, everything. The 13 to 34 demographic is enormous, and we've all grown up with the internet. Yes, some of us can still remember life before AOL, but, for the most part, our lives have always included the world wide web.
If you're looking a mobile-
friendly only platform that embraces short, digestible videos as a way of communication, Snapchat might be what you're looking for.
Why I Love Snapchat
My Snapchat story begins with Facebook Live and the Narrative Clip. Or, rather, the lack of both.
When I podcasted about the power of Periscope, the live-streaming app had just been added to the Google Play store for Android users. It was full of bugs, and it didn't always work as intended, but I saw the potential for average, everyday people to be able to broadcast their story from anywhere to anywhere, and to anyone around the world.
The fantastical growth of Periscope, Meerkat, and then Blab proved the point.
However, I also recognized that none of these platforms had native integration with the one platform almost 100% of my audience was involved in – Facebook. Statistically, but don't quote me on this, everyone is on Facebook, including newborn babies and long-dead Presidents and Einstein.
But Snapchat bucks that trend and does its own thing. Instead of live-streaming hours of video, Snapchat limits videos to 10 seconds or less. You never realize how good you have it with 15 seconds of video on Instagram until you try to say something in less than 10!
And, at a time when I didn't have access to Facebook Live, and I didn't own a Narrative Clip to take candid photos for me every 30 seconds throughout my day, I had Snapchat.
Snapchat is quick and painless.
It allows me to share a message and connect with my audience in a way that doesn't require a large amount of planning.
No need for three dozen hashtags, and no swiping through pages of filters. Just record your snap, hit the button, and off it goes. After 24 hours, those snaps are deleted forever, but I have the option of downloading all active snaps to my phone for archiving or repurposing later.
Sure, Snapchat has its faults, and there is a bit of a learning curve, but no tool is perfect.
How I Use Snapchat for Business
The truth is, I'm really not using Snapchat for business. I mean, I am, but I'm not.
The snaps you'll find in my stories are usually glimpses behind the scenes of building my business. I don't use Snapchat as a promotional tool, and I don't typically use it for advertising.
People don't go on social media, especially Snapchat, to get marketed to. Seth Godin said it best in his book Permission Marketing when he stated (in 1999 by the way) that interruption marketing is dead. Though I haven't found the perfect solution, I do agree with him.
I use Snapchat to provide open and honest glimpses into my business-building process. Sure, I don't share everything, but I do show what it's like to be a solo entrepreneur who works from home and who makes money writing, coaching, and selling digital products.
Follow Me on Snapchat!
Are you on Snapchat? If you are, and if you're reading this on your phone, tap here, and say hello!
Question: If you're on Snapchat, how do you use it?