Editor’s Note: Isn’t it funny how times change!? Back when this article was written, Snapchat was a fledgling “risqué” social network that most businesses wouldn’t touch with a barge pole – now it is an integral part of many brand’s social media marketing strategy! For pure entertainment value, here’s Alexander Blakey’s view from early 2014…
The ways in which individuals and businesses can create feverish levels of excitement and/or annoyance on social media are endless. For instance, you could try a new cover photo, which overlaps perfectly into the profile picture, or host a competition to win an iPad. Alternatively, if you’re a z-list celebrity like Piers Morgan, you can troll and post tweets which divide football fans, opponents and supporters of gun control, other celebrities, fans of the Apprentice and much more.
Personally, I believe there’s always a better way than Piers Morgan, as demonstrated whilst editor of the Daily Mirror, when he authorised the publication of fake images which put the lives of British soldiers abroad under greater risk. So, what are the alternatives? Let’s take John Lewis as a good example. They have developed a huge following online in the last few years thanks to their Christmas adverts, which have showcased emotive stories, musical talent such as Ellie Goulding and Gabrielle Aplin and hashtags including #bearandhare and #snowmanjourney. Social Media is always moving forward, as shown by the demise of sites like MySpace and Bebo and the increased popularity of others including Reddit and Snapchat.
In summary, Snapchat is a free photo and video messaging mobile app that allows users to share content to a select group of friends. That might seem a little bit boring yes, but when opened, the image can only be seen for a maximum of ten seconds, before being removed from view forever. Inevitably, that’s going to get the hearts racing slightly. But if you don’t live on the edge of your seat though, there’s ‘Snapchat Stories’, launched in October last year, which allows individuals to view something unlimited times over a 24-hour period.
These ten-second and 24-hour windows provide organisations with the perfect opportunity to promote and sell, especially to those between the ages of 13 and 25: Snapchat’s central market. How this is done depends on the ambition of the business, but examples could include competitions which encourage friends to share a photo or video, adverts that can be shown to a Sales Assistant in order to receive a promotional discount or images which preview product launches, ticket sales or secret gigs. It could even be used to encourage users onto other social media platforms, promote the best goal scored on FIFA or showcase news headlines of the day, all of which would interest young people.
The founders of Snapchat are yet to take the advertising bait though, despite a rumoured $3 billion bid from Facebook, who recently took over the running of WhatsApp. However, companies can masquerade as a business, there isn’t a corporal portal, yet. I think it’s only a matter of time though and when it does happen, Mark Zuckerberg will have to cough up more cash to secure yet another platform.
By content contributor – Alexander Blakey