Snap Up a New Following

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With its popularity continuing to boom, its no surprise that Snapchat – the phone app for sharing one-off, self-destructing photos and videos with friends – has piqued the attention of a few social marketing strategists.

Car manufacturer Acura recently sent out an exclusive six-second clip of their new prototype vehicle to the lucky first 100 followers of their account, a move sure to bag them (and Snapchat) a few more clicks. But does a platform defined by its short attention span represent a viable and sustainable avenue for business to consumer engagement?

Think about it like this: Snapchat’s popularity rests on its ability to connect friends in a unique way. It’s common, for example, to receive snaps of friends pulling grotesque faces (perhaps captioned: “on my way to work”) or selfies inviting you out for a sneaky pint. Snapchat, in other words, provides an arena for the sharing of all those images you (or your boss) wouldn’t want to see appearing on you Facebook timeline.

There’s nothing in the above description to suggest that the platform represents a promising growth area for marketing departments. Users, enamoured by the privacy of their experience, would likely consider the occurrence of advertising on Snapchat an intrusion.

This is why businesses should take a step back and consider the nature of the platform. What Snapchat can deliver, and in contrast to Facebook and related formats, is a client base that has opted-in. You can therefore expect a follower to be both loyal and fickle, passionate about your brand but also likely to un-follow you at the first sign of a breach of Snapchat etiquette.

At this early stage, it would seem that the platform provides the ideal space for the unveiling of special offers and exclusive previews of products pre-launch. But you don’t need to be generating buzz for your new supercar to benefit from Snapchat.

So long as you refrain from bombarding followers and continue to treat each post as an extension of your brand identity (it’s the reason they signed up in the first place) then Snapchat can help create a feeling of intimacy between you and your followers.

Photo (cc) Carl Raether

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