Recently, a screenwriter friend of mine was lamenting about a meeting he had just had with a group of producers. Normally, when writers are pitching their script, it helps to "attach" a name-actor to it, because it helps the producers predict the success of the film. My friend had an incredible actress attached. In fact, she is a series regular on one of the top-rated shows on Netflix and is constantly subject to extreme accolades for her performances.
This story is a friendly little reminder that social media has forever changed business (and entertainment, for that matter!). The thing is, business and entertainment are increasingly becoming one in the same. Both of them involve telling great stories (whether it's a brand narrative or a television show) and measuring the success of those stories through audience engagement (views, likes, retweets, etc).
Using social media to drive business must first and foremost focus on telling a riveting story - especially with the introduction of SnapcChat.
So many folks doubted this platform or passed it off as a fad for bored teenagers to send silly video messages to their friends; today, it has become the cornerstone of countless successful social media marketing campaigns because of its ability to serve personalized stories to specific individuals.
Let's look at some stats. Snapchat has about 150 million daily users and has actually caught up with Facebook in terms of traffic; both are receiving about 8 billion video views per day. According to a recent report, 76 percent of Snapchat users purchase products online.
Those numbers are a compelling reason to include Snapchat into your social media strategy, but if you're not exactly on the cutting edge of social media trends - getting started might look like a daunting task. The best way to learn? Study the folks who have built organic followings.
David Rhodes, for example, says that building a loyal fanbase is, first and foremost, about telling a great story. This social influencer was recently nominated by the Ghostie Awards for Snapchatter of the Year, as well as Best Storyteller (on Snapchat) and he reiterated the profound effect that stories have on the general public.
"Snapchat is a great storyteller's platform," he explained. "There's so much opportunity for creative work and you can create something that's different from everything else. That's why people want to keep up with it on a daily basis - it's entertainment."
Rhodes admits that being a professional Snapchatter takes up most of his life; it's a 24/7 job and he can't even go on vacation without thinking about what he wants to shoot. But this kind of dedication is one of the major reasons he's built such a loyal fan base. Now, you don't have to be a diehard Snapchatter like Rhodes to use it effectively for your business, but you do need to produce content consistently. When you lose momentum, your fans lose interest.
Here are some key ways you can start generating a "fanbase" for your business.
1. Build Your Following on Other Sites
Rhodes points out that Snapchat doesn't "suggest" you to any followers - so your audience actually has to know you exist in order to find you on the platform. This means, you have to grow your audience through other sites like Twitter or Vine - then let people know that you are on Snapchat.
2. Again...Tell a Great (Non-Promotional-Sounding) Story!
This point can't be reiterated enough - you have to tell an interesting story. While this story is related to your brand, you want to refrain from making it sound promotional. Instead tell a funny, dramatic, poignant human story that happens to involve your product. This way, your viewers won't feel like they're being "sold" to and are more likely to keep watching.
3. Collaborate with Fellow Snapchatters
The cool thing about Snapchat is that it tells short stories. Rhodes suggests partnering up with another Snapchatter (whether it's an individual or business) to tell a joint story. This way, each of you tap into one another's audience and the story can be told from two perspectives. You get more out of the content this way.
4. Stage a "Take Over"
If there's a popular social influencer in your genre, you might have them "take over" your Snapchat for the day. They'll ask their own fans to follow them on your Snapchat to see the story, thus making that audience (in your target demographic) aware of your brand and product.
Like I said, Snapchat can be a little tricky to navigate at first, but once you get going, it's actually pretty fun (and according to countless marketers, it pays off). Like any kind of marketing, you have to respect the process in order to see results, so don't get discouraged. And above all, keep that content consistent...and entertaining!