Since its launch in 2011, Snapchat has taken the social media world by storm. In just three years, it’s estimated to have grown to nearly 200 million active users, and those users send more than 700 million messages and photos—or snaps—daily. Considering Snapchat’s bustling activity, it’s time PR pros considered integrating it into their marketing equation.
For those not in the know, Snapchat is a photo-driven direct-messaging app—which enables users to casually snap photos paired with text to create “stories” and direct message followers. Although it maintains a spontaneous and fun feel, it’s nothing to turn your nose up at. Brands and personalities are jumping on board, with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul being one of the latest to join. And with its recent investment from e-commerce company Alibaba, Snapchat is now valued at $15 billion.
Despite its substantial growth, PR pros still need to assess whether Snapchat makes sense for their audience. Start by looking at your brand’s target audience and compare it against the platform’s demographics. Snapchat’s users skew younger, with the majority coming in under the age of 25. If this is a fit, you’ll find that this is an active bunch that’s hungry for content — even branded content.
Of its college-aged users, 77 percent said they use the service at least once per day. Almost half said they would open a snap from an unknown brand, and 73 percent would open one from a familiar brand. Nearly 70 percent of students said they’d even add a brand as a friend.
If you want to jump on the bandwagon, take note about how to measure success…because it’s tricky. With no detailed analytics, it’s recommended to track story views and view completion rates, which are the percentages of people who started and finished your story. Also monitor the brand’s followers count and score, which can be seen as basic reflections of your account’s engagement with followers.
If Snapchat is right for your brand, just remember to be fun and authentic. You may even need to curb brand guidelines at times. Snapchat isn’t the place to be polished; instead, think of it as more of a one-on-one conversation.