Snapchat : Selfie Moment or WOM Tool?

The social app Snapchat has been creating a lot of buzz lately - from instructive videos on its use, to new updates like Discover, to a guy that gets paid to travel and create Snapchat stories for Marriott Hotels.

So what is it?

Snapchat is a fast paced social media app that allows users to share photos and videos of their experience for a limited time. ‘Snaps’ can last from 1 second to 10 seconds maximum before they disappear forever, unless you add them to a story. A story lasts for 24 hours and can have multiple snaps added to it over the course of a day. Unlike regular snaps that disappear once viewed, stories can be viewed multiple times before the end of the 24 hour period.

Additional Features:

  • Live Texting – Functions like regular text but disappears after viewing
  • Video Calling – Similar to Facetime but you must keep your figure on the screen to keep it activated
  • Snapcash – You can actually send money to a friend using this app through their partnership with Square
  • Newest Feature – Discover – Which allows all users to access content  generated daily from different sources like; ESPN, Yahoo! News, National Geographic, and others.

Utilizing Snapchat – Building Brand Awareness

Marketers have been considering ways to use Snapchat as a WOM tool since its inception, so it’s no wonder brands have started hiring “influencers” to create content for them.  Two great examples are  Red Bull and Marriott Hotels.

Red Bull sent two influencers to Austin City Limits festival in October 2014 and allowed them to take over Red Bull’s Snapchat account. The purpose: to build a Snapchat following and direct fans to the Red Bull Live Streaming channel. To get quantitative measurements Red Bull partnered with Narativ – the first marketing and analytics platform for Snapchat. Narativ not only helps to organize snaps but also re-utilizes content on other social media platforms. Results?  Red Bull gained 20.5K+ New Followers, 18M+ Total Views, 89% of followers were retained one month after the festival. To see all of the info gathered by Narativ, check out the case study.

Marriott Hotels has been creating some amazing experiential marketing campaigns recently, including the partnership with Oculus to create a 4-D travel experience #GetTeleported . But now they have turned their eyes to towards social media by starting a 3 month Snapchat campaign, which started in December 2014, in order to reach millennial travelers. According to a Marriott spokesperson “One of our targets is the next-generation traveler, or younger traveler. We’re partnering with storytellers who produce compelling stories and we’re the hero in the story enabling that story to be told. Snapchat is one of the biggest platforms young people use.” Marriott has also partnered with Naritiv to boost social media impressions and gain analytical insight. It will be interesting to see how this campaign works to increase the number of young travelers brand loyalty.

Snapchat isn’t just for selfies anymore.  The audience is attracted by the selfie moment but is staying for compelling branded content.