When I launched PRSUIT.com, I was tackling head-on what I saw as a significant issue facing millennial-focused digital publishers — a distinct lack of transparency and as a result, a lack of authenticity.
“10 Reasons You Should Do X.” “5 Ways to be Successful at Y.” “How to Always Be Z.”
As a member of their target audience, I found myself craving the reasoning behind their statements. Why should I take their content to heart? What is their “why?”
Turns out, I was not alone in this train of thought. With the proliferation of clickbait, listicles, slideshows and unbacked opinion pieces, a focus on the lack of real, substantive online content has erupted. Leading the charge is the inherently cynical and skeptical millennial crowd, who, emboldened by a new age of transparency and authenticity, is demanding more from publishers who claim to be “for and by Generation Y.”
In response to this trust problem, publishers have moved to provide behind-the-scenes looks into their operations, add personality to content and put faces to their online brands. This has taken myriad forms, from Instagram behind-the-scenes-type shots, YouTube extras and letters from the editor. However, prior to Snapchat, there hasn’t been a centralized way for publishers and marketers to offer transparency to their readers.
Snapchat has torn the door off the hinges and offered publishers unprecedented means to communicate authentically with their existing readers and acquire new ones. Not only is it an effective marketing channel, but more importantly, it can become a tangible aspect of a publisher’s identity. When leveraged properly, Snapchat can give new life to your brand presence.
When it comes to stats, Snapchat is the talk of the town. It sports over 100 million daily users, 71 percent of whom are between the ages of 18 and 34. That is, of course, the key demographic of millennial-focused publications.
Stats aside, the platform itself is nimble and functional, offering a variety of ways to engage with followers. It’s set up such that, as a marketer, you really don’t care about topline followers… it’s all about intent and attention. Because snaps disappear, you are controlling attention for those precious few seconds. Unlike Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc., when users are on Snapchat, they are engaged. As a marketer, that is the holy grail.
As a publisher trying to tell your story, you need to have the attention of your followers.
And in a sea of social platforms, Snapchat is a rare place where you are close to guaranteeing consumption. On other social media platforms, users simply don’t see everything. Snapchat garners attention in big numbers, plain and simple.
Using SC to offer authenticity and character
I had been looking to add transparency into the PRSUIT brand and what the publication represents. I knew that entrepreneur and Internet personality Gary Vayernchuck had gone all in on the platform, and after watching the way he interacts with his fans, I decided it was time to hop on Snapchat (@dailyPRSUIT) myself.
I have been on Snapchat for less than two weeks, and here is what I am seeing thus far as a publisher and brand.
Engagement is off the charts. Snapchat users now view over seven billion snaps per day, a source told Business Insider, and even though I’m only in the beginning stages of growing our audience on this platform, I am seeing unprecedented engagement. While you cannot see (and shouldn’t really care) how many followers you have (I estimate that I have acquired around 800 in the last two weeks), you can see how many followers watch and screenshot your stories — that is engagement, and that is what you are after. Here is what I am seeing:
Users are consuming content at unprecedented rates relative to my other social channels. Followers are watching content more than once and each following is seemingly consuming the content I’ve been putting out. I will take 1K views of content on Snapchat over 1K Instagram likes any day. To me, a complete consumption is much more valuable than a simple doubletap on Instagram, where information overload prevents full engagement.
Snapchat is a two-way street. Easier and more immediate than Instagram, Snapchat offers a simple means by which to communicate with followers. By soliciting conversation with questions like What questions can I answer on blogging?, What do you want to know about my daily routine?, and How can I help you grow your audience?, etc., I have amassed over 300 direct snaps and messages. I have never seen this level of engagement on Instagram, where I have many more followers. People are less hesitant to fire off a quick snap and this allows for raw, spur-of-the-moment communication to develop between brand and audience… something you should value and aim to develop yourself.
Rolling up SC into your other social channels
I have been using Snapchat to accomplish a variety of goals — promote articles and interviews, seek input on future pieces, solicit feedback in general, hold live QA sessions — but how do you get followers to the platform? Snapchat doesn’t have a suggestion or discovery function like Instagram.
Well, like any audience development strategy, you have to play to your strengths. I have close to 90K Instagram followers, so I have been directing them to follower me on Snapchat by telling them the value of following me there. Will I be posting the same material there as I do on Instagram? Absolutely not. They are not interested in more of the same thing. You have to show differentiation and provide value.
What’s on the horizon?
It’s never too late to adopt a new platform. In the case of Snapchat, if you’re a millennial-focused content marketer or publisher, the time is now.