The pros and cons of using Snapchat for business

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Social media has revolutionized the way we communicate, actively flipping the world of marketing and public relations on its head. Practices of representatives in this field are constantly changing due to the drastic spread of the presence of social media. Reliance on social media is an integral part of many generations, whether you are 12 or 60. The range of audiences targeted is expansive and diverse, which is why more and more businesses are finding success in their social media campaigns. Businesses use social media to make connections with consumers, sell products, and share information. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn have become the primary hubs for these activities. This raised the question:

Can Snapchat be used for business?
When determining the answer to this question, we must look at how different aspects play into the strengths and weaknesses of Snapchat.

Audience
Audience is a major reason businesses turn to social media. The ability to spread a message with such ease is enticing, and companies who take full advantage of this are successful. Snapchat poses an interesting mix of pros and cons when it comes to audience.

Pro: Snapchat allows businesses to tailor to a specific audience due to the smaller audience base. A targeted message in a smaller pool of users can yield the same outcome as a generalized message with a large reach. In order to use Snapchat, businesses must target specific demographics which will produce efficient results.

Con: Snapchat does not reach as wide of an audience as most social media platforms. According to statistics taken by OmnicoreAgency.com, 71% of Snapchat users are under 34 and 45% of users are between the ages of 18-24. Snapchat reaches around 11% of digital platform users, whereas a platform such as Facebook reaches a whopping 81% of users. This eliminates the spreadability businesses thrive on for marketing.

Attention and Retention
The format of Snapchat does not lend itself to a typical social media plan that a business would normally create. The only place for a business to promote itself would be in the “stories” section. This being said, let us say you have a Snapchat following and wish to use it for your business.

Pro: A Snapchat story can be used to turn attention toward your website or other social media accounts. By including links within your story, a consumer can go to your website in just a swipe. New blog post? Let your Snapchat users read with a mere swipe. Use Snapchat as a jumping off site for your other social media channels. Direct users to more content heavy platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn, as Snapchat does not lend itself to bulky posts or crucial information.

Con: Snapchat users are far less likely to show retention of information provided to them due to the structure of the platform. A business’ story would slip into the stream of stories of all the other users a specific user follows. Often, a user clicks through stories at a fast pace, as pictures do not take much time to process. If a business was to include any content that was not direct and simple, their snap would be skipped far before a consumer was to process, let alone retain, any of the information provided.

Content
What is good content for a business run Snapchat? Content is king for social media, as you must both tailor to the casual nature of social media, while also keeping business priorities in line.

Pro: Snapchat is a great place to put discount codes and promotions for products. This will encourage consumers to engage with a business on this platform, as opposed to settling with a sole platform. Content on Snapchat also lends itself to be more personal, as the app is primarily for direct communication. Pictures of events and company updates can appear on Snapchat rather than Facebook, if not both, giving users a direct look at company operations. By getting to know the people behind the business, consumers might show signs of increased loyalty.

Con: Other platforms provide these same functions for content sharing. Facebook will hold onto photos you post for a lifetime, so if your audience still wishes to look at your photos a week or a month from the original posting they can. Snapchat will keep photos in your story section for 24 hours, after which they disappear.

The Verdict  
Although Snapchat has not yet taken off for businesses, depending on your audience and how they interact online, it may be a platform worth considering adding to promotions mix. Though flawed in some aspects, it certainly shines in others. The way we promote and market is constantly evolving, perhaps, eventually, Snapchat will break into everyday business practices. Businesses are always looking for new ways to innovate and spread their word, could Snapchat be the next step?