Is Snapchat the New Facebook?

Is Snapchat the New Facebook? image Icon 100pxIs Snapchat the New Facebook? photoEver hear of Snapchat? Well, if you’re over 25, the answer is likely NO! But, is Snapchat the new Facebook?

Obviously Facebook thinks so — or at least they’re worried about the little startup from Evan Spiegel with $0 revenue. That’s why they offered $3 BILLION for the fledgling company that allows you to share goofy photos that disappear after a few seconds.

Why, you ask, do young teens love Snapchat (where they’re flocking in huge numbers — spending 15% less time on Facebook than before)?

Why is Snapchat the new Facebook?

Likely, part of the reason is that their parents are on Facebook and they need a place of their own to share stuff they don’t want their parents to see.

A bigger draw is the short life of uploaded images — just a few seconds, according the venture capitalist Bill Gurley. Photos stay up long enough for your friends to see, but short enough that college admission folks or employers aren’t likely to find compromising images from the party last weekend.

How does Snapchat work?

Users upload images they’d like to share with friends. The images stay on the firm’s Google server until opened by the intended recipients. Within seconds of being opened, the image disappears from the server automatically. Of course, unopened Snaps (images) are stored and can be retrieved by the intended user, the company (in response to a search warrant), or hacked from outside. But, that’s far better than Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where images remain even after deletion because they’ve moved from the original poster’s wall to those friends who shared or otherwise engaged with the post.

According to the Snapchat blog, more than 350 MILLION Snaps are sent each day — mainly from younger teens, although other groups are finding the service.

Introducing Snap Stories

Recently, Snapchat introduced stories like the one here — short little videos about your day. Just like regular Snaps, these disappear from the server moments after your friends view them.

Here’s what they posted on the Snapchat website to introduce Snap Stories:

Snapchat Stories add Snaps together to create a narrative. When you add a Snap to your Story it lives for 24 hours before it disappears, making room for the new. Your Story always plays forward, because it makes sense to share moments in the order you experience them.

How to use Snapchat for business

Well, it’s not immediately obvious that businesses CAN use Snapchat. But, remember the early days of Google+ when business pages were an anathema. Even if it’s use isn’t immediately obvious if Snapchat has any business utility, it probably makes sense to create an account and play around with it — build a community. And, here’s why:

  1. Teens are an important target market because they don’t have defined brand preferences in many product categories. That means the field is wide open. And, they have a lot of years to buy your brand, if you can get them on board early. 26% of folks between 18 and 29 say they use Snapchat (and are leaving Facebook or spending less time there).
  2. It’s huge. Current estimates give the service 25 MILLION users, with the number of Snaps growing by 75% in ONLY 3 months.
  3. Facebook just offered to buy them for $3 BILLION — that’s not chump change. Facebook is a pretty savvy company and they must know something.

Using Snapchat is different because Snaps disappear frequently. So the strategy would probably involve finding influencers of your brand who might comment about your Snaps to their social graph on other networks. Obviously, given the demographic, providing entertaining content related only tangentially to your brand is the key to success. Try using the disruptive tactics some brands try on Facebook and your likely to lose brand image among this group and might even find yourself banned from the platform.

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