Snapchat Is Your Brand's Biggest Social Media Opportunity And Your Biggest Risk

You always know you have something new when spell check gives you the squiggly red line under a word, right? For many marketers, that shiny new thing is the four-year-old Snapchat. For many CPG brands, it’s uncharted territory.

Working in social media, I had Snapchat on my radar, but early on it was viewed as a place to share inappropriate content, so not for me. But at an industry party last week, I watched my millennial employees snapchatting the event; the app is ingrained in their daily lives. Social sharing is all about the experience. It was clear to me that the reasons consumers like Snapchat are the same reasons I think CPG brands should be using it, but with care.

Why dive in?

·      Be the First: in the CPG space, this is your opportunity to be one of early adopters and maybe even the first brand in your category on Snapchat. Innovation is tough in companies that can take one to five years to launch new products, but Snapchat provides your brand some innovation without all of the R&D costs. 



·      Alter Ego: Snapchat is here and gone. The nature of Snapchat gives you a sense of freedom to let a different side of you show.  The same goes for your brand. Brands that will thrive will share completely different content on Snapchat than on their other, dare I say, more traditional social media platforms. Your alter ego can be fun and engaging, which is what many brands are striving for in social. 

·      It’s Unpredictable: The content is not only limited in time, but in volume. This means brands will have to work hard to deliver the right type of content for Snapchat. This can be challenging but fun. The expectation is that your brand is sharing what is happening now, but it will be gone by tomorrow. The unpredictable nature of Snapchat is why your consumers will be coming back for more. It is no longer about likes, comments and retweets. Your consumers will keep coming back because 1) you did a great job engaging them the first time and 2) they do not know what to expect next.

Why the hesitation?

·      Consumer First, Advertiser Second: Being a newer player in the space, it is no surprise that Snapchat is built to satisfy their consumer audience, the user, and is now working to improve their advertising model to grab a piece of the pie. This approach limits the features and measurement for marketers during the early stages. 

·      No Verified Accounts: Watch out, brands and celebrities. Remember the days when people used to make money by domain parking and selling the domain for a pretty penny when the brand or celebrity wanted it? 

·      Search: I am not the first to say it, Snapchat is not an intuitive app. Try and find the brand you love or even your roommate and you could lose interest while trying. Build that great content and there is no guarantee users will show.

·      Metrics: How do you measure ROI when Snapchat struggles to explain what metrics they use to measure ad effectiveness? See here. 

·      It’s a lot of work:  Do you have the time and resources to manage another platform and build yet another audience? You wouldn’t dare repurpose that Instagram post on Snapchat. Instead of creating a profile on each new social platform that pops up, why not build a direct relationship with your customers and have them Snap on your behalf.

There is plenty of data showing why brands should pay attention and even show up.  In a recent post by Expanded Ramblings, they share “60 Amazing Snapchat Statistics.” So, with over 100 million users, 400 million snapchats a day and 6 billion daily video views, you may want to sit with your Millennial colleague or child and get a UI Social tutorial as I did. You could always use it as a personal app versus using it for your social media marketing. It will surely cost you less than the $450,000 - $750,000 Snapchat is asking for to buy into one of their latest brand products, Lenses, Discover or Ads placed in Daily Stories.

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