Snappin’ Brands

About a year ago, a huge wave of my friends were talking about Snapchat. I was hesitant to download the app, thinking, “I’m too old for this,” but did it anyway. As it turns out, Snapchat is one of my more frequently used apps, and I’m not the only one that jumped on the bandwagon. More and more brands are getting into the Snap game to reach their audiences. At first I was skeptical, wondering how this could work because the photos and videos have such a short lifespan -- literally gone forever in 10 seconds or less. The introduction of Snapchat Stories in October helped alleviate some of this, giving users the ability to post a series of photos and/or videos, still with a 10 second cap, but could be strung together and ‘live’ on Snapchat for 24 hours from posting.

Since I’ve adopted the app, it’s been interesting to see which brands have also joined and what they’re using it for.  Social Media Today recently reported some stats on the app and how brands are utilizing it. The more common uses include: “hosting contests, providing sneak peeks & exclusive content, offering coupons & discounts, going behind-the-scenes, using Snapchat Stories, introducing new products and inviting fans to participate.”

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I follow a handful of brands, mainly for entertainment purposes and the occasional special offer. Taco Bell (handle:Tacbobell), one of my favorite brands on Snapchat (warning: get ready to be hungry!), has used the app to tease and then share big announcements like Taco Bell breakfast and the comeback of the Beefy Crunch Burrito. Last year, popular makeup brand, NARS (handle: Narsissist), used Snapchat to unveil its new product line to fans. Mashable (handle: Mashable), another favorite, is using the app to add some creative light on the stories already being covered. Sometimes they share a series of amazing drawings, while other times they post photos and videos, like this week’s E3 conference.

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If you’re on Snapchat, you might also want to check out these brands:

kl-social-snapchat-612x612 While there are a fair amount of risqué snaps of models, Karmaloop also uses Snapchat to regularly share behind-the-scenes look at the company, as well as sharing exclusive coupons and discount codes.

Businessweek. They’re new to Snapchat and are going to be using their account to preview covers, and more.

SeventeenMag. Seventeen Magazine does a great job making their followers feel a more intimate connection with the publication. Sharing things like photos of celebrities visiting the office and sneak peeks of articles, the content gives people a sense of exclusivity.

NPR. Since October, NPR has been using Snapchat as a way to share “unforgettable” facts of the day, as well as 10-second reviews.

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RebeccaMinkoff. Props to RM for mixing things up. Earlier this month they rolled out a giveaway using Snapchat to launch the contest and WhatsApp to announce the winner.

McDonalds. The fast-food powerhouse joined Snapchat in February and is likely going to use the Stories feature to tease new products. So far, there have been some fun cameos, like Lebron James and Richard Sherman. I’m hopeful this will be a fun one to watch!

Related: This is a pretty cool infographic by Marketo on how brands can leverage Snapchat.

Do you follow any killer brand accounts? Tweet me @c_allodi.

How Your Brand Can Be Ready For The Next Big Social Network

Credit: grendelkhan / Flickr I occasionally get asked about this social network or that social network, and whether I think it will still be around in X amount of years. The implied question is whether it’s a network worth investing time in.

Obviously, I don’t know. I follow news and trends as much as the next social media strategist, but I can’t tell whether Facebook is going to be in 10 years what myspace is now.

But here’s the thing: It doesn’t matter. What people – and particularly brands – should be focused on are users’ expectations.

Social networks will rise and fall, and some may stick it out over the long haul. What isn’t going to change is the base level of responsiveness and interactivity that users expect. In fact, it’s only going to go up: ten years ago, a brand didn’t have to answer questions on Facebook; five years ago it was a requirement; now, the expectation is that questions are answered within hours or less.

To be ready, brands need to shift their focus from building presences on networks to building infrastructure within their own organizations. Successful social media is about effectively communicating person to person. A million Facebook fans or Snapchat followers mean nothing if the brand with those followings doesn’t have the institutional knowledge to respond quickly and effectively to their communities.

Brands that have that infrastructure in place are the ones that will flourish – regardless of what social network pops up next.