In the age of smartphones and instant gratification, keeping up with the latest trends in social media is imperative to the success of any business. As of 2014, approximately 88% of people research online before even considering shelling out for a particular product or service. This makes social media an invaluable tool, especially for businesses with small budgets.
Most business owners are aware of the importance of having a presence on Facebook and Twitter, even LinkedIn and Google Plus. But what about other, less conventional forms of social media? Do they have a role in the business world, specifically the small business world? Starting with Snapchat, let’s take a look!
10 Seconds or Less
Yes, 10 seconds or less is all you have with the super popular app, Snapchat. In fact, it’s the 3rd most popular social media app among adults age 18-34, just behind Twitter and Facebook. Available for both Apple and Android style phones, users send pictures and/or videos (known as snaps) that last up to 10 seconds. Once viewed, snaps disappear, removed from Snapchat’s server and our universe, forever.
The app also allows users to make a Snapchat story, where they can post any number of snaps (still just 1-10 seconds each) for all of their Snapchat friends to view repeatedly over the next 24 hours. After 24 hours, the story disappears, much like a regular snap would. In May 2014, Snapchat reported that over the course of just one day, more than 700 million snaps are sent and Snapchat stories are viewed over 500 million times.
Snapchat has been firmly planted in the social media spotlight since its initial explosion of popularity in 2012. Advertisers and brands alike are only now just beginning to grasp how this app, rooted in impermanence, can be used to boost a business. However, some early adopters have already seen success:
- Grub Hub: In August 2013, this brand started using Snapchat to provide customers with coupons and deals via the “my story” feature. They also used the app to find a summer intern back in May.
- Audi: Partnering with The Onion for SuperBowl XLVIII, Audi live “snapped” during the game to much success (gained 5,500 followers) and praise from the press.
- World Wildlife Fund: Their infamous #LastSelfie campaign in early 2014 utilized the impermanence of Snapchat to hammer home the seriousness of endangered species across our planet.
- Electric Daisy Carnival: This music festival packed with lights, carnival rides and electronic music kicked off the “Our Story” feature from Snapchat in the summer of 2014. Featuring snaps sent in from people at the event, EDC Live gave an in the mix and behind the scenes look for fans across the world.
Too Big For Small Business?
The brands mentioned above are all nationally and internationally known. This makes Snapchat a fantastic medium for reaching their vast and scattered target audiences. Question is, can this trendy, creative and unconventional app carry the same weight with the audience of a small, local business?
The truth is, it varies from business to business. Here are three questions you must ask yourself to decide if Snapchat is right for your small business:
- 1. Does my business lend itself to a light-hearted, visual medium like Snapchat?
- Our Advice: Snapchat works best for local restaurants and eateries, boutiques, home improvement related companies— any business where visuals entice people to buy.
- 2. What is my goal with social media? Is it heavy on engaging current customers or focused on connecting with new customers?
- Our Advice: Snapchat is more beneficial if you already have a larger, established following on Facebook and/or Twitter. It’d be a new way to interact with already loyal and knowledgable customers. This would get them talking about your company, potentially generating interest amongst new people (read: possible future clients).
- 3. Most importantly, will Snapchat resonate with my target audience?
- Our Advice: If you’re not interested in reaching a younger crowd, specifically age 18-34, then Snapchat isn’t worth it for your business.
Based on these questions, if Snapchat seems right for your business it can’t hurt to give it a try. Just remember, finding success on social media consists of trial and error. While it takes time to get it right, maybe all your small business needs is 10 quick seconds.