What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a neat iPhone and Android app that lets users have fun mobile conversations. Here’s how it works:

Snap a photo or a video, add a caption, and send it to a friend who sees it for a few seconds before it disappears forever.

This “self-destructing” feature is one of the most unique things about Snapchat.

There’s a catch though. The Snapchat servers don’t save your message, but it’s possible for recipients to take a screenshot or use a third-party app to save a copy,which is worth remembering. However, it’s up to the sender to decide how long the message can be viewed within Snapchat once it’s opened, from 1-10 seconds.

The idea with Snapchat is that it’s similar to real life when you’re with friends. The aim is to get people spending more time chatting and less time crafting online identities, which can end up happening on some social media platforms.

Snapchat encourages spontaneity because there’s (at least theoretically) no record of the conversation to possibly haunt you later on.

As of a May 2014, if both friends are available at the same time, the app will also let you share live video and chat face-to-face.

The Snapchat Stories feature lets you create links of shared content that friends can view an unlimited number of times over a 24-hour period.

The result is a very conversational app that fits perfectly into the current real-time trend.

Brands and Snapchat

If you have a business and you’re looking to build an online audience that feels included and valued, Snapchat is probably for you. It’s already a valuable social media marketing tool in the US, and Australia can’t be far behind.

About 700 million photos and videos are sent every day on Snapchat, and most users are aged between 13 and 23 – although there is a fast growing 40-plus segment.

Here are some ways brands can use Snapchat:

Reward customers

With Snapchat you can send customers an offer in seconds.

A frozen yoghurt chain in the US used Snapchat to send discount codes to customers who sent back snaps of themselves eating that brand’s frozen yoghurt. Within a few days the business had exchanged more than 1,400 images.

Attract new customers

Giveaways can generate leads and offering some free stuff via Snapchat is a good way to add followers that you can send future messages to.

Take people behind the scenes

Everyone loves going behind the scenes. With the Snapchat Stories feature you can send a combination of images and 5-second videos – perfect for behind-the-scenes footage.

A few other ideas:

  • Exclusive sales for Snapchat users
  • Quick hello for no reason (who doesn’t love this?)
  • Product previews

Snapchat is a relatively young platform and new ways to use it are popping up all the time. 

Get in touch with iFactory, a full-service digital and creative agency in Brisbane, and ask us if you should be using Snapchat. We can also help you with what other social platforms might be right for your business.

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