Not Just for Millennials: How to Build Your Brand on Snapchat

August 10, 2016

1:15 pm

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With more than 100 million daily users, everyone from celebrities Chris Pratt and Fetty Wap to big brands like Amazon and Apple are using Snapchat to promote their latest project. For the non-famous, Snapchat is being used as another strategic tool to build an audience:

“Individuals may use it for public broadcasting or to be more playful, but it’s a visual way to connect on a real level with their followers,” said BrandFire’s content and strategy directory, Casey Hochberg, and executive creative director, Bryan Black. “Snapchat’s main draw is [providing] a glimpse into someone else’s life for a hot second.”

Not Just for Millennials

Spencer X. Smith, a social media consultant and professor at University of Wisconsin, explained that Snapchat is like a Millennial’s playground because they have control over what content they see, when they see it, and have the convenience of having that content disappear.

“Authentic content coupled with the scarcity portion of Snapchat adds an air of exclusivity,” said Smith.

Millennials also expect Snaps to provide high value in entertainment and content quality, without the corporate speak and perfectly groomed hair. According to Joseph Anthony, CEO of Millennial marketing agency HERO Group, the Snapchat audience is less tolerant of being advertised to and considers this a space that demands more intimate conversation with an exclusive point-of-view.

“[Millennials] want more organic, raw footage, and less-curated, perfected content. They will likely skip through your 15 second TV ad popping up in a Story,” said Anthony. “However, they’ll be more inclined to see how you made that commercial and what’s going on behind the scenes during production. [Your content should be] more catered to them with a VIP point-of-view.”

Despite the platforms overwhelming Millennial popularity, Snapchat is continuing to grow their adoption rate among multi-generations. In a recent article in The Guardian, Dan Tynan writes: “the number of US [Snapchat] users over 35 has increased from 2 percent in 2013 to 14 percent today, according to a report from ComScore.

Taking advantage of this generational trend, Amazon recently hosted a sponsored Snapchat filter that mirrors their television ads featuring its voice-enabled wireless speaker Echo, wherein actor Alec Baldwin and music artist Missy Elliot puppet figures descend and bounce to her song “Pep Rally” around one’s face.

Consistent Snaps

Regardless of target market, building a brand on Snapchat requires the same diligence, consistency and quality content as any other social platform to gain followers.

Dan Norris, cofounder of WP Curve and best-selling author, built his Snapchat following by developing a daily Snap routine, planning out his content, and maintaining consistency with his brand messaging. Norris said he shifted to small bursts of high-quality content that appeals to the modern consumer.

During the planning phase, Norris developed more than 200 pieces of content, organized them into a project management platform and scheduled his virtual assistant to deliver the topic of the day each morning to build a routine; Norris now averages 10 to 20 Snaps per day.

“You have to be consistent with any content marketing – it’s hard to get someone else to do your Snapchat since it’s a personal brand,” said Norris. “Building that habit with Snapchat is fun and once you get a following it’s quite engaging. My Snaps aren’t particularly impressive, but if you don’t post consistently they drop off, [like] any platform really, you need that consistency.”

While some of Norris’s Snaps open a window into his life in Australia, the majority of his content focus on providing advice, insight and commentary on the challenges that startups face while building high-growth companies.

Norris said his presence on Snapchat has helped him sell books, receive interview and blog requests, network and gain better access to people.

Personalize Your Snaps

Snapchat allows the user to personalize their moment in time and connect people through geolocation features. Users looking to promote their event, cause or brand can design and purchase geofilters, personalized frames for Snaps, or personalized cartoon graphics and stickers that their audience can add Snaps and increase engagement.

“Geofilters can be cost-efficient, extremely localized/geo-targeted and could last one or multiple days. They also allow you to do some testing of your creative if you want to see where you are getting the most engagement,” Anthony said.

Regardless if you use filters and it takes 10 Snaps to deliver your message, Norris suggests to plan out the entire lifecycle of the content, create high-quality content your audience can use and maintain a consistent schedule.

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Tishin is a technology journalist and correspondent. She has written for TechCrunch, Demand Studios and Fitness, and has regular network segments on local Phoenix affiliate stations. She holds a Master's degree in Clinical and Sport psychology, and has covered many areas of technology ranging from 3D printing and game development to neurotech and funding for over 15 years.

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