Is Snapchat the answer to your Facebook woes?

Is Snapchat the answer to your Facebook woes?

Hands up if Facebook is no longer giving you the awareness and traffic to your business that it used to? Maybe Snapchat is the answer?

Snapchat users are mostly in the 18-34 year old category, it has the highest engagement rate of all of the social platforms and it's the new kid on the block. If your target audience sits in this sweet spot, perhaps Snapchat is worth your consideration. 

Facebook have been steadily making it more difficult for a business to use their platform to promote their business. Facebook want business to pay to promote and talk to the users on Facebook. They are doing this by controlling what content is seen by who in the news feeds with a complex algorithm. The algorithm is in place because without it, each person would have likely thousands of posts in their news feed every day. This would be a very bad experience for the users, so Facebook use the algorithm to make the newsfeed contain more of the things that you like to see based on the preferences and posts that you indicate by the way you interact with it. 

This same algorithm now allows Facebook to also control how much organic content (like the posts you put on your business or personal page) a person sees and how much ‘paid promotion’ content a person will see. 

This leaves you in a position of having to work out how to regain your lost acquisition funnel or if you’re new in business how to establish a following in the first instance. 

You have options such as:

  1. Niching down and getting very specific with your audience. The better your content performs the better your reach from an organic reach perspective. 
  2. Using Facebook groups to increase the effectiveness of your content by building a community central to what you do so that you have a ready audience to engage with by being helpful and informative. 
  3. Pay to play – yep. As a business, there always the route of submitting to Facebook’s rules and paying to promote your content to your audience. This will give you better odds of generating leads and business from Facebook then playing the algorithm game. 
  4. Review your social channels and see whether there are better social media platform to play on. Selecting the right social media for your business is a process of some investigation to where and what your target audience is doing

Enter Snapchat

Snapchat may be the right social media for you - depending. Depending on what? 

Snapchat stats from ComScore

Well, Snapchat has been the domain of tweens and dubious content sharing for some time but, now passing its fourth birthday, the platform is maturing (in digital years that is, which are somewhat like doggie years).

The early adopters have now grown up and are earning incomes. The dominant category of users are between 18 – 34 with the bulk between the ages of 18-24 years of age. 

If one of your target audiences are the millennials, then  Snapchat is worth a look. 


So what’s the appeal of Snapchat as a social media platform for a business owner? 
Well the first thing that makes it appealing is that it boasts a much higher engagement rate than any other social platform. The nature of how Snapchat works guarantees this. Snaps (or the ‘pimped’ pictures or videos) are a maximum of 10 seconds long, and once you watch they disappear. The snaps on your Story are also this short, but are only available for 24 hours before they are deleted.

There is no newsfeed of snaps, instead you follow people and select which person's snaps you want to view. Attention is high and almost guaranteed once they’ve selected someone to view – a marketers dream come true.  

All of this provides an inbuilt imperative for users to return everyday otherwise they miss the story or the going on’s that have been posted. 

The growth of Snapchat in the last 12 months has been no less than stellar. In May 2015 the monthly snap views was 2 billion. By February 2016 this had doubled and doubled again to 8 billion.  

There is a migration of this young demographic underway, so it’s important that you stay aligned to ‘where your audience is’ – not where you as a business (person) feel comfortable. While milllenials are still the largest group on Facebook, their behavior on Facebook is more skimming and keeping informed on events around them. Snapchat (and other platforms) are where they are interacting and engaging with their cohort.   

The user base in Australia is said to be bigger than Twitter or Instagram at about 3 million active users. So it’s worth checking your target audience to see if there is any overlap. 
A lot of big brands are on Snapchat, including National Geographic and CNN. They are generating content that is well crafted to the platform, delivering deeper dive content as part of it and also benefiting from advertising opportunities. This is for the big media players only at this stage but is certainly worth subscribing to a few to get a feel for how well the content drive engagement. 

Snappers that are doing well on Snapchat are those that are great at telling micro stories and revealing their life as a never ending daily reveal. The ability to engage with interesting content on a daily basis is where Snapchat comes into play. It’s not about talking about benefits and reasons to buy products or services but about talking to the people in a way that is completely natural and in tune with the audience and tone of the platform. Those that work are where they’ve found interesting ‘micro-moments’ to share. 

Understanding the tone of the platform is super important. It is casual and fun. It’s provides transparency and personality, and, if done with a heap of honesty can make for a super successful platform. 

There is also the first mover advantage. It is not yet so crowded that it’s hard to get cut through. For those people that are jumping on board and interacting and engaging with the other Snapchatters, then they will find it easy to get attention from their target audience. This is now a challenge on the Facebook platform. 

Understanding Snapchat’s popularity

This social media platform has very much emerged at a time where the kids growing up have had their entire lives recorded for digital prosperity. However, with this is the realisation of how much this can be a negative, particularly as you grow older and start to look for a job. Having to delete posts that won’t make the best impression on a future boss is still a real memory. Snapchat allows people to now share those less professional and definitely more fun moments in life without the memory surfacing again in the future. 

The platform is also a great leveller. There are no numbers attached to it – so how popular you are compared to someone else is not part of the interaction. A welcome relief for those that have grown being judged on the number of friends or likes that they get. 

Finally, and probably the best reason it’s so popular is that it actually gives permission to be silly and have fun instead of always putting your coiffured best head forward. In an age where transparency and honesty is hard to come by the platform seems to offer a refreshingly real way to engage. 

Ways to use Snapchat for your business

Snapchat has no inbuilt promotion or marketing opportunities in it. There are no paid advertisement spots except for the Discover section with the media accounts (eg. National Geographic). There are no links out of the app and no in-built call to actions like buttons to nudge your audience to take action. 

This calls for creativity, and the following are some tips on how to use Snapchat for your business: 

  1. Ask people to snap you back with screen shots or snaps in response to questions or competitions etc. 
  2. Use filters and lenses liberally. A photo ‘unpimped’ is a lost opportunity to be engaging to your audience. 
  3. Find a Snapchatter who has a large following and do a deal for them to promote your business
  4. Use Geo-filters to target local audience – you can run 4 hours for about $5 dollars for 1800 square metres so can be good for local brick and mortar business exposure. 
  5. Create your own Geo-filter to help promote your Snapchat channel. A good example might be a live event where people will be looking for filters to apply. This means that every time someone uses your local filter they expose you to their followers. There are, however, a lot of rules around what you can and can’t put in a filter. 
  6. Mix up the content and do quick how to’s and interviews to impart helpful knowledge, behind the scenes or customer interactions.

Examples of businesses using it well

  • Snapchat name: ChocolateJohnny
  • Snapchat name: Tiger Mist
  • Snapchat name: GaryVee
Good Snapchat account to follow - Chocolate Johnny
Tigermist on Snapchat
Good Snapchat account to follow - GaryVee

Measurement woes

Being a lover of web analytics so that you understand the impact of your digital activity, I have to leave you with this one piece. There are currently very limited analytics or means to really measure with analytics the impact of Snapchat. Sigh. 

At the moment you can track: 

  • Number of Snaps you’ve created in your story
  • How long is your Story (total seconds)
  • Number of views on the Snap
  • Percentage of people that what all of your Story
  • How many direct messages or snaps you receive

You need to take these measures as a screen shot and at the same time every day, otherwise, the stats will disappear. 

In summary

Snapchat is an alternative social media to consider if your targeting the millennials. It offers far higher engagement than Facebook and currently offers opportunity to get great cut through as the platform is not too crowded. However, it will take creativity and ingenuity to work out how to work it to your advantage. 

If you'd like to dive deeper into how Snapchat works, I've curated a list of great articles for the Snapchat beginner. 

Take time to study how other businesses are using it and see where it might take you. After all, a snap is only there for 24 hours so you’ve got a limited time in which people can see any misteps.