Chances are high that you’ve heard of Snapchat, downloaded the app, opened an account and then didn’t know what the hell to do it. So you got disappointed and erased the app from your smart phone, vowing never to jump immediately on any shiny new object in social media.
I was that guy.
I kept hearing all the buzz about this popular new social media, especially from the millennials, but I just couldn’t get it. Am I already that old? Will I turn jurassic like Friendster?
But then, about 6 months later, my blogger friends, Nikki Tiu of AskMeWhats.com and Ginger Arboleda of MommyGinger.com reintroduced me to Snapchat. Now that I have people to add as friends and follow on Snapchat, I downloaded the app a second time and started to get the hang of it. I started adding more friends and followed Snapchat influencers in the States like Gary Vaynerchuk, Carlos Gil and Lewis Howes and witnessed how they are using Snapchat to grow their personal brands.
I told myself that I can do this, and express myself in a way that I cannot do in my podcast. I had dreams before of becoming a film director and I know that I am too late for the YouTube game. SnapChat is perfect for my personal brand and my business. And so it is for you, especially if you are independent entrepreneurs or small business owners.
What is Snapchat?
Released in 2011, Snapchat started as messaging application like Viber or WatsApp where people can swap photos, text and videos among their friends and these messages, called “snaps”, disappear after 24 hours. It’s like the show Mission Impossible where the message self-destructs, not in 5 seconds, but in 24 hours. Don’t worry, it won’t actually explode in your face. It just goes away in the ether and never to be retrieved again, unless you saved a screenshot of it.
Then, Snapchat launched a game-changer called Snapchat Stories in October 2013. With Stories, SnapChatters can now send their snaps in a feed called “My Story” and friends who have added you (or your followers) can now watch your snaps, as if they are going to your Facebook or Twitter profile.
This has led to a sharp rise in the number of videos viewed in Snapchat. According to The Financial Times, in November 2015, Snapchat’s daily video views climbed from 2 billion in May 2015 to 6 billion views per day! And in time, the Philippines, being the Social Media Capital of the world will surely catch onto this new craze.
Here are the top 5 reasons why solopreneurs should be on Snapchat now
1. Snapchat will pretty soon replace Facebook
The problem with large social media networks like Facebook, is that everyone and their grandmother is in it. You might think as a business owner that it’s good because you are able to reach so many customers. However, every one of your competitor is in it too, and if you just created a Facebook Page now, you are late for the party. You are late even for the after party. You have to now to resort to expensive means such as Facebook Ads for your brand to get noticed.
Additionally, the engagement in a Facebook Page has dramatically gone down in the past few years. For my Freelance Blend Facebook Page, which has 1,000+ followers, only an average of 50-80 people see each post that I make. That is a measly 5–8% conversion rate.
The value of a Facebook Like has weakened, much like our Philippine Peso.
In Snapchat, the followers have a choice, whether to watch your Story or not. I compare Snapchat to Netflix and Facebook to Network TV. It is Facebook who decides the “programs” or posts that appear in your news feed. And of course if your competitors pay big money, Facebook will like that and you will see more of those ads. These days, you have to “pay in order to play” in Facebook.
As of this writing, SnapChat does not have an advertising feature yet. As a user, you choose which story to watch on your dashboard. That’s why solopreneurs on SnapChat who have the most timely, entertaining and compelling content rise to the top while others disappear in obscurity along with their content.
Pretty soon, because of this freedom and power going back to the viewer, your potential customer, people will move to SnapChat, the future of social media.
What’s more, Facebook knows that its days are numbered. According to Entrepreneur.com:
“Scoffers might wrinkle their noses and shrug Snapchat off as another passing phase. But skeptics were momentarily silenced in November 2013 when Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg offered the infant startup $3 billion in cash and was promptly turned down. Whether you’re keyed in to Snapchat or not, Facebook knows Snapchat’s hot, but Snapchat knows it’s even hotter.”
You want your business to become hot? Use Snapchat.
2. Humanizes your brand
Since snaps disappear in 24 hours, you don’t have time to hire a video production team to beautify your videos. You are on your own and you have to be creative enough to spark interest around your snaps. You can snap with an unshaven face or with your bedhead but that’s okay.
Snapchat viewers like the rawness and authenticity of the videos, as long as your content is witty, interesting and adds value to their day. Also, it shows to the world that your brand is not a logo, there are interesting humans behind it and people will connect more with your brand — which can eventually lead to a product sale.
3. Connect with Millennials and be part of the “in” crowd
New social media platforms are defined and popularized by the youth — high school, college students to yuppies. Once it reaches the older generations, you know it’s time to split. If your business is targeting the millenials and post-millenials, you will definitely be seen as an epic (now that’s a millennial term) brand if you are on Snapchat now.
If you are targeting Gen X clients, your brand will be seen as a trailblazer, an early adopter. You will be one of the first brands that they will follow because you are there first and you’ll surely amass a pretty large following.
4. Turn your followers into brand-addicts
Since snaps have a shelf-life of 24 hours, users are compelled to watch your stories or any announcements and promos that you may have. Otherwise, they miss it. That’s FOMO (or Fear Of Missing Out)– at its finest.
And to those Snapchatters who view your videos everyday, subliminally become addicted to your content and eventually turn into your loyal groupies.
5. Engage intimately with your potential customers
Similar to podcasts, Snapchat let’s you connect privately with your followers. Why? Because apart from Snapchat not displaying their top or trending influencers inside the network, unlike Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, once Snapchatters have found you and viewed your snap, there is no easy way for them to share it.
There’s no share or retweet button.
The Story is just for them, and it was their choice to view the Story anyway. What this creates is a private movie or TV show for one. And as you know, people purchase something from someone who they know, like and trust. Snapchat gives you that ability — to magnify your know, like and trust factor.
The time is now to jump on board and be on Snapchat. Play around with it, see how the influencers use it and decide how you want to leverage this burgeoning social media platform before it’s too late.
For starters, you can watch my daily snaps in Snapchat. Just follow me @marvdeleon or screenshot my Snapcode below.