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Should Online Sellers Build a Presence on Snapchat?

Online sellers may be tired of trying to keep up with the latest social platforms, but it seems big brands can’t get enough of trendy sites that attract young people. Like it or not, they’re dragging along with them even those without a dedicated staff to handle all the posting, tweeting, liking, pinning, and snapping required to maintain a presence on social networking sites.

The latest social networking sensation is Snapchat, and it’s no longer a passing fad. Fortune calls it an “ephemeral messaging app.” That’s because seconds after you view a “snap” in the app, it disappears. That’s the theory, anyway – there are ways to save photos that have parents in particular worried about their children’s use of the app.

Not surprisingly, Snapchat is launching features to draw in brands and their ad dollars eager to get in front of a young audience. MSNBC published an introduction to the app for businesses in this four-minute video interview with Sujan Patel of Content Marketer called “Promoting Your Small Business on Snapchat.”

Patel gives some examples of how businesses have taken advantage of Snapchat Stories to create a presence on Snapchat.

  • When sports apparel company CCM Hockey releases new products, they post a picture on Snapchat, giving followers early access.
  • Frozen-yogurt chain 16 Handles gets people to send them photos in exchange for coupons that expire.
  • A local cabinet maker in Nebraska posted four photos with text overlay showing a how-to project.

While Snapchat may be attracting serious attention, the site retains its juvenile look and feel. Just take a look at a guide from iDigitalTimes on “New Snapchat Emoji Meanings: What Does The Star, Baby, Hearts And Other Emoji Beside Names Mean?”

But make no mistake, this site with 63% of its users between the ages of 13 – 24 is working to attract advertisers. According to its ad page, it has nearly 100 million daily active Snapchatters and growing.

That young audience means marketers must be aware of laws about collecting information from children. The Federal Trade Commission has information about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that merchants would be wise to review.

Ultimately, building a presence on Snapchat requires you to promote to your existing customers from your email lists as well as your followers on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram – a move that may seem senseless, especially to those who already have social-networking fatigue. For many sellers, the point of joining a social networking site is to gain new followers, not to move followers from one site to another.

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Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.