Snapchat's core interaction is simple; users take a picture or video and send that content to select individuals or broadcast that content to all their followers through the platform's Story feature.
While Snapchat is by design a communication mobile app platform, it has also evolved into a social content platform. The key indicator that Snapchat has changed is the ability for users to gain fame through Snapchat. DJ Khaled's recent Snapchat mastery is a testament to Snapchat's potential as a content platform.
So what do Snapchat and Linkedin have to do with each other? In the world of startups, there is a lot of overlap. Let me explain. Put yourself in the shoes of a startup founder or employee, investor or tech analyst. These individuals are usually early adopters and tech experimenters. Do you think they would you rather type out a post on Linkedin or fire up their Snapchat camera and go on a Snapstorm (i.e., the Snapchat equivalent of a Tweetstorm)? Writing requires planning and revision, while talking on camera requires maybe some light planning. A string of Snapchat videos is quicker and easier to produce while delivering the same value as a blog post.
Snapchat will become the defacto way for the startup community to share its opinions, network with each other, and conduct business. Yes, Snapchat will be the startup community's preferred business networking tool over Linkedin. Here are five reasons why:
1. Simple way to broadcasting your thoughts
The startup community is a content creation machine. They were early adopters on Twitter and Medium and responsible for those platforms' early growth. For startups, content is a networking and awareness tool. Content helps startups get noticed and grow. The tech community is also an early adopter of Snapchat, not by being there first (college students were there first), but by introducing a new type of behavior on Snapchat. The smart snappers from the tech community approach Snapchat like writing a book. Every snap is an individual thought or chapter in their argument. These snappers are creating a new type of content on Snapchat and sharing their knowledge with their followers.
Compared to other social platforms, Snapchat provides several advantages for the startup community. One, Snapchat's video functionality allows users to click and speak their mind. Twitter requires multiple clicks (not to mention typing) to communicate a thought. Snapchat's advantage over Meerkat and Periscope is that Snapchat content lives for 24 hours. In contrast, live streaming platforms' are built around the idea of content that is now or never. Once a broadcast is over, the fun is really over. Yet Snapchat's 24 hour thought-cycle delivers the spontaneity of live while still allowing content to have a longer shelf life.
2. Compelling users to be genuine and succinct
Some people are naturally good at Snapchat, others are not. However, with a little preparation (pencil planning) and a strong point-of-view anyone, can become a better Snapper. This platform dynamic incentives people to become better Snappers or people will stop watching.
In the world of startups, being genuine and opinionated is key. Let's take the example of a startup founder trying to network with an investor on Snapchat. Simply sending a snap asking for a meeting won't result in anything. However, engaging with the investor's posts and offering valuable commentary will get you noticed. Compare the Snapchat approach to sending a cold 'connect' request on Linkedin. Linkedin notifications get ignored all the time. However, a Snapchat video response will most likely be seen because a user receives far fewer notifications on Snapchat compared to Linkedin. This won't be true forever, so now is a great time to get started on Snapchat. Maximize your advantage on the platform while you still can.
3. Networking with 'takeovers'
An easy way to deepen business relationships is by partnering up with a contact for content development, i.e. offering to interview a contact and create a blog post about their business. The same is true on Snapchat. You can reach out to an important contact and offer them a takeover of your Snapchat account so they can deliver their thoughts on a particular topic. At the end of their Snap takeover, you snap a picture of their Snapcode so your followers can follow them. It's a win-win strategy.
4. New creation tools, new content types
Snapchat is king when it comes to product features. Some key product milestones include Snapchat stories, geofilters, and 3d stickers. While the tools may seem limited, their potential is nearly limitless. Snapchat's approach to content creation is more versatile and allows for more creativity than Linkedin's primary creation tools. On Linkedin, users post blog articles. Boring. On Snapchat, the camera offers unlimited possibilities.Text overlays, audio commentary and even emojis let snappers provide provide additional perspective to what is in the camera's view. While the pixel quality on Snapchat isn't the greatest, the versatility makes the content creation, distribution, and consumption experience more enjoyable and effective compared to Linkedin.
On Snapchat, the content disappears in 24 hours so you can spend less time worrying about making your post perfect. This allows you to spend more time posting content that hopefully ties into your story and brings your viewers along for the ride.
5. A hotbed of early adopters
Lastly, Snapchat is where all the early adoption action in social is happening right now.
Snapchat is still in its infancy. The users you acquire now are going to "cost" you a lot less now than they will in the future. Whether you want to use Snapchat for personal or business reasons, that's up to you. Finding your happy medium will be a work-in-progress, but there's no better time to start than RIGHT NOW!
Quick tips on building a Snapchat following.
- Add friends through the phonebook option on Snapchat
- Update FB, IG, and Twitter profile pictures to your Snapchat code picture .
- Promote people to follow you on Snapchat through status updates on other social media platforms
- Don't underestimate the power of adding people in-person. Instead of getting someone's phone number or email...become Snapchat friends.
If you want a more in-depth list of pointers, check out Gary Vaynerchuck's post on Snapchat.
And of course, don't forget to add me on Snapchat.