You might have noticed over the last couple of months that the “new kid on the block” in the small business world is Snapchat.
All I’m hearing is that it’s going to be the “next big thing” and that if small businesses don’t have a Snapchat strategy (or Snaptegy if you’re in a hurry) within the next 34 seconds we’ll be left behind.
Now I’ll be honest and tell you this is really pissing me off!
Why? Let me tell you.
(Now I may get a little preachy in the rest of this article, which is something I hate, but I find it impossible to get my thoughts across on Snapchat without doing it, so I apologise in advance)
Firstly let me make one thing clear:
Do I think Snapchat could be an effective marketing tool?
Yes I do. And if you’re Nike, Pepsi, Ford or ASOS then this is a platform you should be exploring right now to get ahead of your competition.
However, if you’re Smith & Jones Chartered Accountants from Stevenage, you’re in the much larger pool of business owners for whom Snapchat ISN’T the right platform to market your business on AT THIS TIME!
You see, the majority of business owners on Snapchat are falling foul of the most important rule in marketing and in truth the only one that actually matters:
Market, Message, Media.
In that specific order.
And this is the problem with the latest Snapchat craze – people are starting with media.
Business owners all over the globe are asking this question:
“How can I make Snapchat work for me and my business?”
It’s not a new question really. It was the same when Facebook launched, when Twitter launched and when Instagram went live.
People get excited about the media and forget the market and the message.
The better question to ask is this:
“Where are my audience and what’s the BEST media to get my message to them?”
Now the key word in this question is “best”, because it could be that your target audience are already on Snapchat.
But the opportunity cost to spend the time turning those people into followers and consistently creating content for them is likely to be at the expense of an alternative marketing effort far more likely to generate you a significant return.
Before trying new media we need to ask ourselves whether we’ve perfected the media we are currently using – are we generating the maximum amount of leads and conversions from what we are already doing?
And in reality we know we aren’t.
Have we dismissed a media as not working because it didn’t work first time round? Probably.
Could we revisit it, tweak our message and get a result? Almost certainly.
By constantly going for all-singing, all-dancing new media, we can fall into the trap of dismissing media that can generate results today, tomorrow, this week.
To give Snapchat any chance of working, you’ll need substantial amounts of content and lots of time to establish a following.
Now, if you already have a captive audience of 2,000+ twenty-somethings and you sell Nike Air Max trainers (which I know one business owner does) then Snapchat might be worth spending some time with.
But even in this instance, the fastest way to gain a following on Snapchat is to move your existing audience there using an existing platform like email or Facebook to tell them that you’re on there.
Seems strange doesn’t it?
You’ve already got an open communication channel with someone, but you’re forgoing that method of communication and trying to communicate with them in a different way. And that’s where a big question still hangs over Snapchat for me.
As a direct marketer I want platforms to be places where I can attract NEW followers and prospects and at the moment I don’t see how that can happen.
The only value I currently see in utilising something like Snapchat is in growing the methods by which you talk to your list, and for me as a small business owner this just oozes waste of time when you’ve already got methods that work.
I’m sure Snapchat will develop over time, and when the ad platform becomes accessible to those of us who don’t have $100,000 to invest, I’ll revisit it. Facebook only really took off for businesses when ads came along, so there may well be a time in the future when Snapchat is a worthwhile use of our time.
Until then, unless your business is in such a great place that you have 25 hours a week spare then I’d park Snapchat for a while.
Have a great weekend.
PS: Oh and one more thing I forgot to say is that all the discussions I’ve had with business owners who love Snapchat have been on Facebook. I rest my case.