Brian Honigman is a marketing consultant, freelance writer and professional speaker. He works with both startups and brands like Sumall, Dell, Adknowledge and others focused on marketing, business and technology. He's spoken at NYU, UNICEF, Huffington Post Live, the American Advertising Federation and for other organizations and conferences. He is a contributing writer to the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, the Huffington Post, Forbes, the Next Web, Mashable and others. Follow him on Twitter @BrianHonigman.
Recently, a leaked pitch deck from Snapchat has been making its way around the Internet.
It's only meant to be introductory, but the elements highlighted are what Snapchat themselves deem to be the most important parts of their service. They offer great examples throughout, and even give a roundup of brands that are doing things right.
Here we'll discuss the main lessons marketers can learn from this deck as well as examples from the brands Snapchat itself recommended.
Takeaway 1: For Snapchat, turn traditional marketing on its head.
Traditional marketing wisdom says that establishing a brand is about drilling the same message into your audience over and over. It's part of a top-down approach where you consistently reinforce a narrative of what you want people to associate with your brand.
But the core DNA of Snapchat rejects the possibility of this approach because its very nature is ephemeral, fleeting and fluid. You could repeatedly blast the same messaging and imagery to your followers, but you will fail miserably. After the first iteration of your message the novelty will wear off.
This is because the draw of Snapchat is novelty. People are not looking for a lasting message because Snapchat explicitly discourages such communication. So the only way to make your brand's Snapchat worth caring about is to make it change every day--make your brand an evolving story.
That means new experiences daily and having these experiences build out a coherent brand personality like many other brands already active on the platform.
Snapchat-Recommended Brands That Do This: Redbull, GirlsHBO.
Takeaway 2: The only way to get good is to start snapping.
Since Snapchat requires building out a robust personality, the only way you're ever going to get really good at it is to start snapping. You should still have established goals and objectives, but be honest with your team about what feels right and what feels forced.
The constant need for novelty makes it a difficult platform to master, but you'll have plenty of chances to experiment and your missteps won't have the staying power they do on other platforms. Most noteworthy brands on Snapchat have been there since the very beginning. These early adopters risked pouring resources into an unproven platform, attempting strategies that had no guarantees.
It's a platform that values experiences above all, so it makes sense that it favors those who learn through experimentation.
Snapchat-Recommended Brands That Do This: Mashable.
Takeaway 3: Snapchat is not for pretty pictures--it's for authentic moments.
Conventional marketing wisdom indicates that branded social media should be highly polished. Brands have reputations to build and blockbuster budgets to ensure their reputation remains perfect.
Sometimes branded accounts have a personal flavor. For example, Skittle's Twitter has a voice meant to sound like a witty Gen Y'er, but it is an impossibly clever, constructed personality. The only thing that lasts about a Snap is the impression it makes. Your followers won't have the time to notice how perfect the creative or clever the copy. So focus on making you Snaps authentic, not perfect.
This is because real life is messy, dirty and fleeting. If we like the way an experience made us feel we remember the good and forget the little imperfections over time. What Snapchat does better than other marketing platforms is allowing you to focus on telling stories and eliciting emotions, without demanding the same considerations as other initiatives.
Snapchat-Recommended Brands That Do This: NowThis News, Saints.
Takeaway 4: Make Snapchat work with your other platforms.
Snapchat is different in that it treats all users the same. There are no featured accounts (besides its own). Users have to hear about interesting accounts elsewhere and then type in the exact name in order to actually follow them.
You can be doing everything right on Snapchat, but nobody will see it unless you broadcast your account information on another channel. Given these realities, it's shocking how few companies actually use their existing, established accounts to promote their Snapchat.
Beyond simply promoting your Snapchat on other social platforms, you can work it into multi-platform campaigns. For example, invite your Snapchat followers to participate in a photo contest on Instagram or to use a hashtag on Twitter as part of a larger campaign across channels.
One real life example is the way Karmaloop uses their Snapchat to announce exclusive promotions on their website. They do this using a promo code, allowing them to track the amount of business the campaign drives to their site. Beyond that, this also solves a problem endemic to Snapchat--the inability to measure a post's effectiveness.
Unlike other platforms where you can go back to a post and analyze progress, snaps are fleeting. Your business can track Snapchat success by looking at follower growth and views per snap.
Karmaloop's approach circumvents this difficulty because requiring a promo code guarantees that someone interested in the deal will have to screenshot it. Noting the number of screenshots taken is one of the few objective measures you have for gauging your snaps' impact.
Snapchat-Recommended Brands That Do This: Karmaloop, GrubHub.
One Final Thought
Snapchat is relatively new, but is quickly coming into its own. Take a moment to decide if it makes sense for your business to use Snapchat. If so, start now.
The sort of storytelling that wins on Snapchat is different from what you're used to, and the only way to learn what works for your brand is to start snapping. Individual snaps may only last for 10 seconds, but Snapchat is here to stay.