By Content Soup’s intern, Helen Wilson, aged 20
Since social media began we’ve witnessed the rise and fall of various platforms – many lose the battle, but there’s plenty more to fill the void.
Snapchat began in LA and travelled across the sea to us in the UK, becoming a firm favourite among my generation – the people of Generation Y. My cohort has grown up in a digital world where Google is king and life before the internet is an unknown land, so when we see a social media campaign, we expect more than a tweet or two.
Snapchat was the app that changed the idea of communication. You take a snap or a video, write a caption and send it to a friend or all your friends. Sounds simple; sounds like all other social media too. The ‘magic’ of Snapchat though is that the snap will disappear after it’s been viewed and then it’s gone forever – unless you’re the FBI, CIA or MI5.
This is a major attraction for people of my generation. Social media for me is about showing people what I want them to see and tailoring it to my relationship with them. I’m sensible on Twitter – I don’t post about my night out, because brands and people I work with follow me. Instagram is just a selfie emporium, but I don’t want everyone to see my huge spot or my feast of a dinner; that’s just reserved for the special people in my life. This is where Snapchat comes in. There’s no chance the picture is going to make a surprise appearance again – when it’s gone, it’s gone for good.
So the magical snapping app survived and has now established itself as one of the jewels in the social media crown. The later additions of the story function – enabling users to send snaps or videos to their entire contact list at once and stay available for 24 hours – and now the discover function where I see content from certain brands like MTV and Daily Mail on a daily basis, have kept users entertained and now lots of corporations are deciding it’s the best place to capture the attention of the elusive 16-24 age bracket.
• In April 2013, Tacobell decided that Snapchat would be the best place to let customers know that the Beefy Crunch Burrito would be returning to stores in the US. Clever use for them but also a brave move – they were an early adopter with the app and turned heads in the marketing world by doing so.
• Grubhub, an American food delivery service was next and offered special discounts and deals to the first 100 people who followed the account. This is a popular technique with companies as it costs very little to run but get’s them huge follower numbers very fast. The company also used the platform to recruit their summer intern by getting them to send in their best doodle. Clever stuff.
• Back across the pond and familiar to us, MTV UK used Snapchat to promote the sixth season of Geordie Shore, featuring exclusive footage, cast interviews and behind the scenes shots from filming. They continued snapping through the serious, but – here’s the clanger – stopped updating when the season ended.
For me, the companies doing it right are the fashion brands. I love backstage shots and behind the scenes content, so when Michael Kors ran a snapchat account for the duration of LFW I was in love. Model’s getting ready, stylists panicking and celebs galore – backstage is where I want to be, so MK was a huge winner for me.
The idea is that it’s not advertising – I don’t want products crammed into every social media feed I’ve got, because it’s annoying. It’s like when you’re at the cinema, the first trailer you watch intently – by the eighth you’re bored and busy chatting to someone else.
Snapchat is here to stay, so companies and their PR teams need to realise that the platform is now a key player in the mix. People of Generation Y – where I live – spend most of our time there, so it’s worth seeing what it can do for a business relevant to us as it’s a vital access point to the young demographic.
So how can brands get into my head? Here are my quick tips;
1. Be interesting
It sounds obvious but I’ve grown up in a world where everyone is selling me something. I’m bored of conventional so be different, be daring and be brave.
2. Make it shareable
Everything I see, I want my friends to see, so I will share it with them if it’s good enough. Brands who don’t take themselves too seriously are great, because I’ll share their content with people and have a giggle with them.
3. Don’t be celebrity-focused
My generation doesn’t have role models like they used too. There isn’t one actress or footballer that people want to be like anymore, because they change so often. Making celebrities sell your product on their personal feeds is boring and I won’t pay attention – so think outside the box.
4. Being ‘there’ isn’t enough
Having a Snapchat profile isn’t the important bit. It’s doing something interesting with it that will make me want to engage with you. Also, stop being 9-5, I’m on my phone from 7am to 11pm, so be there too if you want to access me.
5. Be quick
I like REACTIVE. When things happen on social and they go viral, then that’s the time – if relevant – to jump on. Not at 9am the following working day. In social, things move at 100mph so you will be left behind if you’re not following and engaging.