Social Media Shorts for Sports: The Value of Snapchat

Your brand uses Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but what about Snapchat? It seems like once we master one social media platform, there’s another one waiting to be downloaded. But Snapchat, which has been around since 2011, is gaining value as it is increasingly being used by Millennials. Sports brands should take notice of this, and many have indeed begun to include Snapchat as part of their social media marketing strategy.

Since we are in the throes of baseball season, we should take note of the MLB’s recent media partnership with Snapchat to create weekly Snapchat “stories.” The plan is for MLB Wednesday stories that include highlights from games and contributions from fans. The fan contribution part is what we think will increase value the most to the MLB and the team brands, because once you engage your fans (ultimately the consumer), the MLB and teams have then created new brand “investors.” 

These stories are a beautiful thing in the Snapchat world, as they are available for 24 hours, whereas regular snaps are only viewed for 10 seconds max. An eternity in our throwaway society, where 10 minutes of fame has been reduced to 10 seconds of fame.

Besides the MLB’s presence on Snapchat, all 30 teams have their own Snapchat accounts. Now that’s a lot of baseball snapchatting going around, but with estimations of about 200 million users or more, you can’t ignore Snapchat as a viable marketing platform.

One benefit of Snapchat to brands is the launching of Snapcash. By launching Snapcash, Snapchat has become one of the first social networking platforms that will allow users to transfer money from one user to another, a form of ecommerce. Snapcash opens up the way for brands to post chats that can highlight specific products. Think about how many potential consumers you can reach when your team wins the World Series, when your Olympian stands on the medal podium, or when your NBA team finally wins a championship series (we’re talking to you, Clippers) – the numbers can make any team or athlete a winner. This ecommerce platform opens up a whole new world to brands and their licensed products, especially in sports merchandising as many bandwagoners will make spur-of-the-moment purchases from the excitement of a win or Sports Center’s Plays of the Day. Sports brands can use Snapchat to capitalize on those winning moments. Those ten seconds of viewing can add tremendous value to a sports brand.

The athlete celebrity should make sure to invest some time into proper Snapchatting, as their own persona is a brand in themselves. Meaning, post your positive winning moments, not those of you arguing with the umpire or punching out the paparazzi. But Snapchat users be forewarned: While once viewed, the snap is “supposed” to be deleted, your followers can still save a screenshot or take a picture from another phone. As your mom has told you, nothing truly goes away on the Internet.

Bottom line: Sports brands should invest time building their social media marketing strategy, including Snapchat. There is a simple, but tried-and-true formula in determining value: context + time = value. In the context of social media, time investment in building consumer relationships will equal more value to your brand. Those in the sports marketing industry should use social media, and use it wisely. It doesn’t just add brand equity, it adds equity.

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