How Does This Thing Work? Snapchat and the Chaotic World of Branding

snapchat-and-the-chaotic-world-of-brandingBy Jennifer Grygiel and Jesse Noll, SI Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University

Advertisers have moved into the social media space as platforms have gained an increasing share of audience compared to legacy media. While many brands have found success on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram–many are just starting to adopt and explore opportunities on newer networks such as Snapchat.

Snapchat is on its way to becoming a potential new avenue for brands to test out. What better way to speak to a consumer 1-on-1 than through the platform that is built for just that? This new platform varies greatly in both culture, content, and interface. Brand managers are struggling to find relevant new content that can be consumed on the platform, build a Snapchat audience, and develop strategies that will drive engagement. If this sounds hard, think about the challenges for Snapchat Discover partners, the brands premium content offering that is being utilized by a small exclusive list of publishers. Your brand has to create roughly 10 pieces of content every single day to be a partner. Having a presence on Snapchat discover requires significant production, manpower, and creative ideas which not all brands have.

Brands also struggle to track performance on Snapchat. Currently, the platform only shares information regarding how many views a piece of content receives. There is no guarantee on how long someone stayed on that piece of content, and let’s be frank– in our increasingly “busy” world, that piece of content was likely skipped entirely by most consumers. So how does one create effective organic Snapchat content? Through an approach that skillfully combines other platforms such as Twitter. Hashtags don’t exist on Snapchat; but they do in the realm of 140 characters. By leveraging another platform like Twitter, a brand can have an indirect solution to obtaining increased metrics as one could track shares from Snapchat. By providing a call to action such as using a “Snapchat exclusive” hashtag for Twitter, you can better measure how people interact with the content you post.

A brand that is doing Snapchat content right is Audi, the car maker. During Super Bowl 48, Audi partnered with The Onion to create a humorous Snapchat campaign that paired stock images with funny captions. To connect with millennials, Audi used the platform in a way that was able to leave their followers, regardless of their age, laughing.

To create an effective Snapchat presence, brands should create short and concise snaps that are unique to their brand voice and audience. Using Snapchat best practices, they can create content that is not only suited to the platform but also provides a specific call to action for the consumer. While selling product is always a key goal in advertising, more and more brands have uncovered the opportunity to get people to engage with their content. By including a hashtag and having the consumer create their own content on Twitter, you can report on how a snap performed. Given the limitation in metrics, brands who find creative ways to document their ROI will be the new platform winners.

About the Authors: Jennifer Grygiel is an Assistant Professor of Communications (Social Media) at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Grygiel is a social business professional who most recently served as social business and emerging media manager and assistant vice president at State Street Corporation in Boston. There, they developed a social listening and marketing data and analytics program and was the lead project manager for the Social Intranet Project.

Jesse Noll is a social media associate at MEC. A graduate from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, he works with brands to create engaging and effective social content strategies on platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat.