Watching the social media marketing world talk about SnapChat has offered quite a few laughs. Most marketers hate it. They just don’t know what to do with it. They paint SnapChat as a way to talk to “young people” or millennials, perhaps a sign on how much the original generation of social media voices has aged.
Snapchat is pure and unaccountable. It’s really what social media was meant to be, a real goofy conversation between people. In that sense, perhaps SnapChat is social media’s ultimate revenge on businesses.
There are no parents, no employers, no tracking algorithms available to the common user or even most of the brands participating online. If someone wants to post private media to select followers, they can bypass their story and go dark. And, if someone doesn’t want to view your content, they simply don’t. Even if you pay to get your content featured in the Discover or Live areas, people have to opt in.
In my mind, Snapchat is almost pure, (yes, there are those paid content channels) uninhibited social media. That’s why it does not compute to those who want to track mentions, push brand messaging, and sell product.
It’s about people sharing experiences — silly, inane, and/or serious — with one another. Overt messaging usually fails here. That’s why corporate communicators would rather throw their hands down and quit, writing SnapChat off as a silly Millennial network.
The Untrackable Defies the Analytics Age
Perhaps the most confounding aspect of SnapChat is its lack of analytics and accountability for small and medium-based business marketers. In essence, the network is a walled garden.
Sure, you can advertise and get better analytics. But right now, you’d better bring a cool half million to the table for your entrance fee. Even getting a geofenced overlay can cost a pretty penny when compared to a Facebook boost or a Twitter ad.
The thing that SnapChat has going for it is its dark nature. Protecting customer integrity and their ability to post really interesting and generally (but not always) private social content is a huge differentiator.
Consider this. You can bash most brands on SnapChat and they will probably never find the complaint. Literally someone would have to screen capture it and send it to the social media manager. On Twitter, you’ll get stalked by someone trying to get you into private message land. If the complaint gets loud enough on Facebook, though less likely, you’ll probably have a customer service rep show up.
Then there’s the whole parental/employer thing. How many of you readers have decided not to post something because others would see it?
See, when social media is untrackable, it gives users a sense of ease about what they are posting. This free feeling is false. We all know what’s posted digitally can be picked up and sent anywhere, but nevertheless SnapChat has made it difficult. So analytics be damned, [young] people love their SnapChat.
Perhaps SnapChat really is the domain of the intern, as some older marketers would have it. At least the intern, won’t try to insert the brand in every post!
What do you think?