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Why You Should Take Snapchat Seriously

Let’s take a second to talk about Snapchat. Every day, I’m running into people who say, “I don’t understand how to use Snapchat or why I should be on it.” I’m going to help you understand why you or your brand should be on Snapchat and killing it.

Four years ago, Snapchat was created by Evan Spiegel at Stanford University. At the time, it was known as the “sexting app.” That’s how most people still think of Snapchat.

Fast forward to today. There are over 200 million active users and 7 billion videos created daily on the platform. The White House is on Snapchat and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is utilizing Snapchat to reach a younger demographic. Advertising on Snapchat is going to explode in 2016. (Snapchat Advertising)

On Facebook and Instagram, numbers mean everything, whether it’s likes or hearts.

“Look how many hearts I got on this beautiful photograph of my cookie!”
“Look how many thumbs up I got on my new car.”

Those little hearts and thumbs don’t exist in Snapchat. Your friends or the general public have no idea how many friends you have or how many people are viewing your snaps. Only the user has that information. That’s what makes the platform so much fun. There is no pressure to get the most hearts or likes to be “internet famous.”

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The first thing you’ve gotta do is think of Snapchat not as a social network, but as a texting app. If you do that, you’ll immediately understand what sets Snapchat apart from everyone else.

Successful branding boils down to an identifiable personality – stripping a cold corporation down to a familiar face. This is the biggest reason that Snapchat excels: although it is a platform, there is no platform to stand on. It’s peer-to-peer, eye-to-eye.

Take a second to think about this: when was the last time you FaceTimed Taco Bell or texted with Jimmy Fallon? Probably never, but these brands and personalities are on Snapchat and they’re creating personal connections with users.

Snapchat has no discovery section. You can’t explore like you can on Instagram and just start following people because you like what they are posting. You have to know someone’s username or add them by snapcode.

AW_snapcode copyThis makes Snapchat a time-sensitive app. Just like the best sneakers and the finest clothes, they are exclusive and rare. Snapchat is one of the newest “social networks,” so the engagement is high. Not all of your friends are on Snapchat yet, but that’s a good thing. The ones who are are more open to hearing what you have to say due to less competition for their attention.

snapchat_thehundreds_2Everyone is so concerned that the content on Snapchat disappears in 24 hours when they shouldn’t be. When content has such a short lifespan, more people are paying attention and are focused on that content. Just like old school grassroots marketing, that is exactly what Snapchat is: a word of mouth platform.

You get to choose what you want to see instead of being forced to look at it. On Twitter and Instagram, if a friend posts something at 8:00 am and you don’t check either one until 3:00 pm, you’re never going to see their tweet or photo unless you seek out their account. On Snapchat, it shows a list of your friends and what time they posted. You click on their name and watch the video, which can be replayed as many times as you want for 24 hours.

On Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, the content has to be “perfect.” Snapchat is un-fancy. That means that the only limit is your own creativity. You snap a photo, then draw all over it, add emojis and crazy filters to alter your face or the sound of your voice. It’s about having fun with a very small community of people.

As a photographer, I’m proactive on social media and willing to take risks. On Twitter I have 2,449 followers and I have never been able to get a gig from tweeting someone or posting a photo. I have 11.1K followers on Instagram and I’ve done about a dozen projects for smaller brands because of it. I have 3,853 likes on my Facebook page and I’ve been able to work with some huge brands like Lululemon, Home Depot, Samsung, and Verizon Wireless. Last but not least is Snapchat. I get about 150 people viewing my snaps on a daily basis, I haven’t worked with any large brands yet, but I feel that it’s coming. I get a lot of feedback from other amateur photographers, thanking me for the behind the scenes look at a photoshoot or how I edited a particular photo. To a certain extent, that is way more important than getting paid.

Go download Snapchat and add me!

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