Snapchat is an enigma amongst the social networks.
A mobile app known for its temporary content (called “snaps”), Snapchat lacks the functionality commonly found in other social media platforms, such as a discovery and sharing tool, and public forums. Yet it’s still considered social media.
And despite being the subject of many articles over the last couple of years, few people over the age of 30 seem to know anything about the mobile app with the mischievous ghost mascot.
To my surprise, I found Snapchat to be a highly restrictive experience.
But despite all of its limitations, the app also offers plenty of possibilities to marketers and personal users alike.
Where the young congregate
Snapchat is a must if you’re interested in reaching a younger audience.
According to statista.com, 60% of the app’s users are under 25, while only 2% of users are over the age of 55. Talk about an age gap!
A backstage pass for fans
Snapchat is a fantastic option for posting more informal, behind-the-scenes content. Posting such content may not drive people to your website, but it can help you better connect with your existing audience.
Following someone on Snapchat is like having a backstage pass to a concert. It’s intimate and surprisingly like real life.
Nothing is permanent on Snapchat
Snapchat may seem like a waste of time to people who dislike the idea of creating temporary content.
That being said, the app’s temporary environment works exceedingly well if you want to promote short-term content, such as sneak previews and special offers.
No public comments
Snapchat is so discrete that I couldn’t find any examples for this article. (Taking screenshots is a big no-no.)
For this reason, the app is NOT a good option if you’re looking to create an online discussion forum. (Save these efforts for Facebook and LinkedIn instead.)
On the flip side, the app’s direct messaging platform is appealing if you want to keep comments private.
What I don’t like about Snapchat
For all of its advantages, Snapchat does present many unique challenges to marketers.
For example, the app completely lacks a sharing function, which makes it weak for driving traffic to your website. (Sorry bloggers and news sharers.)
Then there’s the lack of a search and discovery tool, which makes finding new contacts on Snapchat very difficult. The only way to find and connect with people is if you have them as existing contacts; you know their exact username; or by snapping their snap code (i.e., their personal ghost icon).
Snapchat is an excellent social media option if your goal is to connect with a younger audience, or if you’re seeking to further connect with an existing fan base (the aforementioned backstage pass).
If you only care about generating website traffic and/or sharing content, take a pass.
For a beginner’s guide on how to download and use Snapchat, read this article by Mashable.