2016: The Year of Snapchat Storytelling

 Recent Snapchat from General Electric

Recent Snapchat from General Electric

Before downloading it many people believe that Snapchat is just a silly app for making faces and sending pics to friends. But this year, it’s being used for so much more.

With the number of users on Snapchat (nearing 200 million) and Periscope (roughly 10 million) increasing daily, it isn’t hard to find a brand that wants to tell its story via mobile app giving audiences a live, behind-the-scenes look at their favorite organizations, celebs and sports teams with a simple tap of their device.

Social influencer Frankie Greek, community manager at Animoto and The Shorty Awards, knows her way around the app. Known affectionately by her handle @wtfrankie, Greek hosts a Snapchat show every Wednesday on behalf of The Shorty Awards called “WWW.” During this time Greek explores updates to the app and pop culture stories in addition to answering questions from her followers. She explained, “I think people are flocking to Snapchat because they’re seeing how effective it is as a storytelling platform. It’s a form of direct, intimate marketing we haven’t seen since the early days of email marketing, but about a trillion times more versatile and exciting.”

As a result, brands and organizations from across the spectrum are joining the app, including the White House, which is producing posts encouraging users to sign up for Obamacare in addition to those following around the Obamas’ two dogs, Bo and Sunny. A few weeks back, General Electric snapchatted to show its audience how different GE technologies impact the way we eat, by featuring NFL Hall-of-Famer Jerome Bettis and focusing on Super Bowl party food.

The beauty of the Snapchat approach is that your organization doesn’t need to follow hundreds of people to hear or view their stories. With the addition of the “Our Stories” feature launched last summer, users can submit and view content during large events like trade shows, product launches, sporting events, award shows and political rallies.

“No major event will happen [in 2016] without your favorite brands, influencers, or Snapchat themselves covering it. We live in a video-centric world and in a 24-hour news cycle. Snapchat is perfect for both,” said Greek.

And while there aren’t as many B2B organizations on Snapchat as there are on Twitter or Facebook, there will be soon. “I am completely convinced that in 24 to 36 months, as the platform dramatically ages up and starts hitting the 30- to 50-year-old demo, there will be enormous possibilities,” says Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia.

Ready to Snapchat? Greek’s number one tip for new users is: “Use video. Turn your camera around, introduce yourself, and tell your story, whatever that may be.”

For those in the B2B space, one way to kick things off is streaming from a conference or trade show. Use Snapchat to explain why you’re at the event, talk about your favorite moments or share your view of the different booths. If you’re not ready to start on the fly, host a simple, quick Q&A once a week (taking time to prepare before recording). Both options give the audience an inside, exclusive look at your company, while displaying the personality of your Snapchat host and by extension, brand.