Snapchat

How One of Our Old Blog Posts Still Gets a Ton of Views

One of our most popular blog posts of all time is “Pros and Cons of Snapchat for Business.” This was written back in 2014, when Snapchat was still fairly new for social media, and businesses were just beginning to figure out how to get in on the action. Of course, now Snapchat has evolved into a more complex beast that’s easier for businesses and brands to access…but this old post is still getting more views than most of our other blog posts, which is pretty fascinating.

In the graphic above, you can see the post has had almost 10,000 views in the course of it’s lifetime. It generates about 7% of our website’s traffic overall.

So how did we do this? We have some theories.

Write what no one is writing.

Back when the post was written, there wasn’t a lot of information about how businesses could use Snapchat, or even any real life examples of bigger brands doing it yet (if my memory serves me right, there were about 2-3). Part of my theory why the post was so popular is the scarcity of material on the subject. In other words, we hit a jackpot with finding a blog topic as it was just about to start trending. Sometimes this is a swing and a miss (for examples, check out this post), but the timing combined with the popularity of the topic worked in our favor.

Search engines are the ticket.

Google Analytics has this handy thing where you can see what source is driving traffic and as you can see, search engines are primarily it. We have read things like Google tends to like ‘longer’ blog posts (ex: not one paragraph), things like unique page titles/descriptions, and more. Somehow this post seems to have hit some search engine sweet spots.

Being conversational helps.

With new technology, it can be easy for people to feel intimidated. The blog post, if you go read it, is very conversational and I think making the topic more approachable made the blog post much more readable.

The funny thing is, if you told me this would be the case back when I wrote the post, I wouldn’t have believed you. This was back in my early days of blogging, I was only a couple months in at that point. Meaning, I’ve since found a groove that comes with a bit of confidence and a few more years under my belt.

Think about images.

The image I made for the post was responsible for at least some of the traffic (I’m pretty sure someone linked back to it about a month after the post was first written). (In case you haven’t seen the Snapchat logo, the tie is the part I added in).

If you look on Google images for “Snapchat for business” you’ll see we are on the second row (and I dare say were copied for our cool necktie idea).

If you are going to share a blog on Pinterest, or even want it to stand out more on Facebook, an image just make things work better, which is why we try to add one to each blog post.

Do I think this is the most fabulous thing we’ve ever written? Not really.
Does it just go to show you that one blog post can generate a lot of goodwill, even over years? Absolutely.

You Don’t Get to Copycat Just Because Someone Already Invented the Wheel

Social media platforms have been ‘borrowing’ each other’s features since the beginning.

The latest instance involves Snapchat’s famous disappearing Stories feature being used by Instagram, and now Facebook.

How Facebook Is Trying To Be More Like Snapchat

A couple weeks ago, I’d noticed the Facebook Messenger App had a new feature called “My Day,” which is basically a way to chronicle your day in photos/videos that disappears after 24 hours, similar to Instagram and Snapchat stories. I noticed a few of the people I’m connected to on Messenger had tried it out.

Yesterday, if you were on the Facebook app (i.e. not on a computer), you may have noticed a few small circles at the top of the page before your Newsfeed starts. On the farthest left, there is a circle with the folded up paper airplane which has come to symbolize Direct Message in social media-world (direct message = a private convo). The next circle is for you to add your own story, and the farther out ones are for your friends stories.

Facebook’s Story feature comes with a lot of the same tools as the original on Snapchat: fun filters, the ability to draw, geofilters…but they don’t have the ability to FaceSwap (which still appears to be unique to Snapchat) or do the fun slo-mo videos. Business Pages are not allowed to use Facebook Stories at this time. (For more information on the similarities and differences between the app, check out this article from TechCrunch).

Regardless of your opinions on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or any of the social media platforms, the way they utilize popular tools from one another more or less successfully calls to mind an old saying: “You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.” I’m pretty sure this isn’t meant to encourage straight up copying another business, but finding inspiration here and there.

How You Can Not Reinvent The Wheel Without Taking Someone Else’s Wheel

The key to it all: Think inspiration, not duplication. For instance, if you’re trying to come up with a design for an email newsletter, one way to get ideas is to look at what other businesses are using (looking within your industry can be a good starting point). After doing some research, you’ll have a better idea what your own taste preferences are, like if you prefer a fancy header, want to include exclusive new deals every month, dislike sans serif fonts, etc. You aren’t necessarily looking for a template to straight up copy.

The same goes for website design, ideas for social media contests, etc. There’s nothing wrong with doing some research and finding inspiration, but take some time and effort to make it unique to you and your business. Just because the wheel has already been invented doesn’t mean you don’t need to offer any creative input. Make it your wheel before putting it out in the world.

Where Have All the Millennials Gone? The Year In Social Media

Snapchat took them, every one.

If CNet is to be believed, we are going to be living with Snapchat for a long, long time. The image messaging app and social media platform continued to dominate one very important market in 2016. Snapchat, which filed for its IPO in 2016 and turns 5 in next year, is still the go-to hub for the all-important millennials.

Snapchat (now “Snap”) claims 200 million active users — 60 percent of whom are under 25 — watching 10 BILLION videos every day.

So what is driving Snap’s popularity? Is it its mobile-first attitude? Yes, there’s that. Plus, for years we were taught that what gets posted online stays online forever. And then comes along Snapchat’s message-destruct feature, giving folks a platform where they can post first and think later.



If you’re a company looking to target millennials in 2017, it looks like Snapchat is still the way to go. But let’s not discount Facebook, especially if you’re aiming for a more, ahem, seasoned demographic. Pew tells us that Facebook is still the most popular social media platform.

Facebook’s number of users continued to grow in 2016 to the point where 79 percent of American adults who use the Internet use Facebook. That’s an increase of 7 percent over 2015, something Pew attributes to the fact that more older adults have joined that community.

Twitter was in the news a lot in 2016, mainly for its use in the Presidential campaign. And yet, it’s only fifth in popularity, trailing far behind Instagram, the second-most popular platform. Once an online hub for the before-it-was-cool-Williamsburg-hipster-vegan, Facebook-owned Instagram is now used by 32 percent of online adults.

Instagram was followed closely by Pinterest and LinkedIn, with 31 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

Compare that to Twitter, used by only 24 percent of online adults.

One of the bigger surprises in 2016 was that while Vine withered and died, Google+ still clung to life. Although not mentioned in the Pew article, good ol’ G+ still has 2.2 billion users, thanks in part (I’m guessing) to the integration with the wildly popular Gmail.

Yet, it’s important to note that only 9 percent of G+ users actually bother to publicly post content. And so Google+ continues to orbit the social media sphere like an abandoned space station. You can still see G+ in the night sky, only no one’s onboard.

So what’s going to big in 2017? Video sharing may be a bigger driving force, based in part on the fact that Snap entered the oft-derided wearable arena with Spectacles. Augmented reality may continue to be big, considering Pokemon Go’s continued popularity.

One thing that won’t likely change in 2017 — the challenges many local, small businesses and nonprofits face in trying to navigate the ever-changing social media landscape. Lucky for you, companies like BEC will be there in 2017, too.

Snapchat for Businesses 2.0: An Update

One of my first blog posts at Breaking Even was written almost 2 years ago and dedicated to one of my favorite apps of all time, Snapchat. Although my excitement towards app has arguably waned, it’s made some significant changes in this time period, and people have had time to find ways to use it as a marketing tool. I mean, even The White House is on Snapchat now. As we’ve discovered with Constant Contact vs. Mailchimp, nothing is permanent when it comes to apps, marketing, and social media (basically, the internet). The almost two year mark seems like a good time for a Snapchat for Business update:

1. Discover. Since we last talked about Snapchat for businesses, Discover is probably one of the biggest changes. Comedy Central, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed, People, and National Geographic are a slice of the brands you’ll find in Discover. One of the theories behind Discover is that it’ll encourage younger generations interested in the news and current events by delivering it to them in this medium. For example, if you’re looking at WSJ’s story, if you swipe up, you can read the full article associated with the snap.

What the "Read the Whole Story" process looks like.

What the “Read the Whole Story” process looks like.

2. Tell a story. When I first wrote the Snapchat article, stories either weren’t an option or I hadn’t figured them out yet (sorry guys). Most businesses use stories as a way to share content with anyone who adds them on Snapchat. These can be a series of stills or videos that anyone who follows you can view. For instance, I follow the Whole30. Since they are a brand built around a specific diet/lifestyle, they share content that’s related to food, cooking, and motivation. The most recent story was a video message from founder Melissa to those who started a January 1st Whole30 to “hang in there” (anyone who’s done the Whole30 knows the first week is often the most difficult to get through). Using stories in this way allows you to connect with your followers in a unique way, and with this example, I’m sure the January Whole30-ers appreciated the boost.

3. Build your following. Whether you’re a business or individual, Snapchat now lets you generate your own personal snapcode (basically the same thing as a QR code). Some people use their logo in the little ghost silhouette (individuals often use their face).

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Unless you have an individual in your contact list, adding someone on Snapchat can be difficult. Without this or a snapcode, you have to know someone’s exact username in order to add them. If you misspell or have any sort of typo, you end up following the wrong person. It ends up being confusing and/or embarrassing. A lot of businesses have not only created Snapcodes, they share them on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, so people can easily find and follow them.

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I found the Whole30 Snapchat account after they shared their snapcode on Instagram.

4. Delegate. This article from Forbes brings up something businesses might find useful: relinquishing power of the business Snapchat over to employees. The pros: employees are at the “front lines” and can deliver real time content with greater ease than their managers (in theory). Cons: since it’s “real time,” you’re investing a lot of trust in other people. Giving this access to employees might mean a brief training on what to share/what not to share, but if done correctly can result in some popular snaps (think “behind the scenes” and product launch material).

5.  “Take risks, try new things, and put a human feel on it” – Christina Coy, marketing manager of Pie Five. It’s unlikely that your Snapchat content is going to be used in other marketing channels (unlike Facebook or Instagram, where you can use images and videos across channels and in future marketing efforts). So, if you’re going to use Snapchat, you might as well have fun trying out some new marketing tools. It’s a low risk way to see how people respond to new marketing ideas, for instance, 16 Handles noticed that consumers responded more to their snaps featuring cartoon characters eating their products, as opposed to messages about the benefits of froyo. In other words, it’s simplified A/B testing.

An example of marketing from Kit Kat (I didn't know there were different flavors until seeing this...)

An example of marketing from Kit Kat (I didn’t know there were different flavors until seeing this…)

6. For businesses interested in metrics, Snapchat doesn’t have the metrics one might find desirable. It’s based on private interactions, so you can’t forward or share someone else’s snap (that would entirely defeat the purpose). Discovery messages can be saved or sent to friends, but as mentioned before, these are big brands that bought into this. If you’re into marketing with more concrete metrics (i.e. not just how many people opened a snap story), this probably isn’t the best medium for you to experiment with.

In 2015, businesses have poured into the Snapchat marketing world. It’s still a unique way to foster relationships with consumers, although it lacks the ability to be far reaching (i.e. no ability to share or “re-snap”) and provide concrete metrics. Unlike Ello, this former-fringe network is earning it’s place among the larger social media networks, and I’ll probably have to write another update in two-ish years.

Snapchat for Businesses: Pros & Cons

forrest-gump

Last summer, the following conversation occurred between a good friend and myself:

Me: “I got an iPhone! In no way am I qualified for this much technology!”

Friend: “You have to get Snapchat. NOW.

And, since I lack the forces necessary to counter peer pressure, the app was on my phone less than 5 minutes later.


For anyone who is unfamiliar, Snapchat involves taking a picture or video, adding a caption and/or drawing on the picture, and sending it to friends (who you can search for or add right from your contacts). The catch is you can set the viewing time between 1-10 seconds, which adds the urgency of “THIS MESSAGE WILL SELF-DESTRUCT IN…”  The premise resembles a social experiment where  people  live free of consequences, and the ability to screenshot functions as a vague force that keeps (almost) everyone in line. Plus, you never know quite what to expect. When I explain this concept, some people  react as if I’m chatting up the sketchy guy standing alone in the corner of an already questionable basement party (I promise, it’s not that bad).

Business_Snapchat.jpg

Snapchat boils down to these basics:  it’s fun, easy, and at times, totally inappropriate. What’s not to love?

In the past months, businesses large and small tested Snapchat as a marketing tool. My knee-jerk reaction was Why would anyone want to get snaps from businesses? Well, after taking a bit of time to ponder the issue, I came up with this list of business snap pros and cons:

Pros:

  • Exclusive, One-on-One Connection with Customers:   Snapchat provides a new way to engage with customers on a personal level. For example, some use it as a way to take customers “behind the scenes.” For smaller businesses with a close-knit customer base, this might be a fun way to communicate. All you need is a cell phone number (or, give your company’s profile name to customers, and let them add you). Roughly 63% of people use the internet on their mobile phones , and most likely check e-mail and Facebook. Snapchat doesn’t get tied up in that stuff: it’s a different thing altogether, which means more room for your message to be seen. Plus, unlike e-mail blasts or status updates, snaps are sent to individuals who can’t see the other recipients, making it feel like a message meant just for them.
  • New Medium for Contests and Giveaways: For example, 16 Handles is recognized as one of the first businesses to implement Snapchat as a marketing tool. The giveaway went like this: customers added the company on Snapchat, sent them a snap (which had to be a picture of them at a 16 Handles), and in return, a snap was sent back with a coupon (with anywhere from 16-100% discount). In order to redeem the coupon, customers had to wait until they were at the register before opening it. Sure, this could’ve worked with a different medium. I’ve seen department stores mail coupons that get scanned or scratched off at the time of purchase to reveal the discount. Using Snapchat instead reaches a different age group altogether, and saves the trees.
  • No One Else is Doing It: Well, that’s an exaggeration. But in the grand scheme of social media, Snapchat is still considered emerging. Discovering how to implement it in an entrepreneurial way remains a challenge, but it may be rewarding for the businesses who try.




Cons:

  • Junk Mail Potential: Most people assume that if businesses start using the app, they’ll constantly be sending spam snaps, and the whole experience will lose its appeal. One person’s “Oh that’s fun!” is another person’s “Stop marketing to me!”
  • May Not be Worth the Time: The 16 Handles Contest, while innovative and successful, made the customer do quite a bit of work for slightly cheaper fro-yo. While it doesn’t require Herculean amounts of effort, the snapping back-and-forth might feel cumbersome to some people, and thus not worth their time to participate. For businesses using it as a way to send “behind the scenes” or what have you, if they see people aren’t opening the snaps, or otherwise engaging, it may make sense to either try a different approach or scratch the snaps altogether.
  • It Leaves No Trace: In terms of meaningful forms of communication, Snapchat a few steps below texting. The whole appeal is that the content doesn’t last. It’s fleeting in nature. I get a Snapchat from a friend, open it, laugh a little, and go on with the day. Depending on something that lasts 10 seconds (at most) to build a consumer base seems like a recipe for failure.

So, whether or not you decide to try Snapchat for your business, I definitely recommend it for entertainment purposes. My only example is this snap below, from last December. Could I have e-mailed or texted it? Yes, but I wanted to spare my friends the burden of having “Wrecking Ball” stuck in their head all day, so I sent the type of message that cleans up after itself.

Wrecking_Snap

A Yuletide Miley tribute.