Snapchat: No Time Like The Present

Snapchat seems to have a love or hate status in the social media world right now.  Personally, I think that is a mistake.

Have you ever noticed when something new launches, there is first mass confusion or misunderstanding? 

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It tends to start with us not understanding the purpose:  “Why do I care what someone else is doing or eating for breakfast?  What is all this hashtag stuff?” were common comments about Twitter.

Next we do not seem to understand the actual category something fits into:  “These new so called smartphones are not really good phones.  Give me back my old phone.”

Definitions can be confusing to us as well:  “Why should I use a messenger app when I can just text someone?”  “I think all this app stuff is overrated”

Eventually, however, we get it.  Our smart phones are not just phones, they are an everything device and are meant to act as phones, contact lists, social media sites, books, cameras, memos, shopping lists and oh so much more. 

Twitter is about removing barriers to real-time publishing.  It is not learning about what someone had for breakfast.

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The problem with this is that while we are busy missing the big picture, a rapidly growing niche of early developers is diving in.  These folks do not get distracted with definitions or purpose.  They just use it and quickly see the big picture of how it can benefit them

It is my belief that this is happening with Snapchat as well.  I can just see the rolling eyes as you read this.  What caught my attention was that several people have been talking about the value of Snapchat recently.  I am not talking about Brianna, Joe Jonas or Kylie Jenner.  (But they are popular users)  I have grown to admire and respect what Gary Vaynerchuk has to say regarding social media (when he is not cursing <grin>) and he has been saying for months now.  Gary is saying that he is all in for Snapchat and that it is the fastest growing social media network.  (7 billion views daily, rivaling Facebook) 

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I think that the biggest tell about the platform is that Mark Zuckerberg offered to buy the platform in 2013 for $3 BILLION dollars and was refused. 

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Snapchat Basics

I did a survey about a year ago and was surprised that one of the top requested classes for my “list” was Snapchat.  I did the class and created a handout SNAPCHAT FOR BUSINESS   

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As one-on-one and group messaging, this app was long classified as the one where teenagers shared goofy videos.  Recently, Snapchat announced a 2.o version that has new features that will make the app more appealing.  Some of those features include:

  • Stories will now auto-advance
  • More stickers in a private chat
  • Upload photos from our phone
  • 10 second looped video and audio notes
  • Phone calls and video calls

The phone calls and video calls are great.  You can move from sharing a video (10 seconds) to having a longer conversation. The biggest message behind all the features are a removal of limits on how you are communicating with others remotely.

Snapchat Wants to be  Your Phone

A company called TechCrunch picked up on this immediately and stated:

Photos that self destruct in 10 seconds aren’t even the point of Snapchat anymore. With today’s launch of Snapchat 2.0, Snapchat wants to BE your phone.

But, I already have a phone. It’s the larger black box that contains Snapchat and the other apps I’ve downloaded. Sure, that’s true. But think for a moment about all the individual apps you’d need from within that phone to equate what Snapchat now enables you to do in one.

“It lets private conversations morph between mediums depending on what users want to show or tell,” explains TechCrunch editor-at-large Josh Constine. “Snapchat is positioning itself as the most vivid, human way to chat.”

And it’s doing so in a single, simple interface.  Snapchat 2.0 is no longer  a disappearing teen fad.

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“We’ve learned a ton about how people talk, but our goal remains unchanged,”Snapchat explains in its launch post

 We want Chat to be the best way to communicate — second only to hanging out face-to-face.

Should You Jump on the Snapchat Wagon?

This is a really difficult question for me.  I am a firm believer in being where your ideal customer as far as social media is concerned. If your customer is in that 15-29 year old bracket, YES,YES  and YES again is my answer.  But here is the real issue that I want to have you consider.  Your customer may not be on Snapchat, yet

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But the basic fundamental truth is that there is a benefit to jumping into this channel early.  The platform is still in the early states (albeit the tail end of the early stage)

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You will never understand Snapchat by reading about it.  Get in there, follow people, use it.  If your audience is not there yet, there’s a case for trying it out with the early majority, before the majority arrives.

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