Yet another Snapchat article came through my inbox about two weeks ago, so I decided I needed to put some real effort into trying the app. I downloaded it a few months ago but couldn’t catch on, and didn’t have the patience to try to figure it out. I thought it was stupid. Unlike other popular social apps, Snapchat has no “feed”. When you log in to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., you land on a page that shows updates from all of your connections, right? But when you log in to Snapchat, you land in your camera view. So it’s not very intuitive. This can be very confusing for a first time user. Even after you post your first “snap”, you probably won’t have any friends to view it or comment on it. Without instant results on your snaps, it’s easy to think the app is pointless.
Anxious to understand why people are so into Snapchat, I decided to look around Google. I read about five articles and they all came down to three main reasons people love Snapchat: (1) filters, emojis and text allow for more creativity than the other popular social apps, (2) Snapchat offers more privacy and gives user more control over who sees their snaps – you can send snaps directly to certain people and you can see who views your snaps, and (3) Snapchat lends to more user authenticity – Snapchat only allows live photo and video to be shared. Users cannot share old photos and videos saved on their phone so you won’t see touched up photos and professionally edited videos like you do on Instagram and Facebook.
The second time I downloaded Snapchat, I went in with a little more understanding and a little more patience. I devoted myself to snapping nearly every day. I also put effort into adding friends and co-workers to my account so that I’d have more activity to look forward to.
This first feature I discovered that made snapping really fun was filters! Every day, Snapchat releases new filters, and these aren’t your everyday Facebook and Instagram filters. Snapchat filters allowed me to be a drag queen, gave me wrinkles, and let me join in on the celebration of the release of Zootopia by giving my sloth eyes. Now, I log in to Snapchat just about every day just to see what new filters they are offering.
The second thing I love are the geofilters. Geofilters are like regular filters but instead of covering your whole image, they cover only a portion of your image and are designed to promote your current location. So far I discovered four different geofilters for Memphis including Germantown, Cordova and Overton Square. (These are Memphis neighborhoods, for those of you who are not familiar.) I visited New Orleans last weekend and discovered three different geofilters! That was cool.
There are also filters for events. Honestly, I probably would not have known that the world was celebrating International Women’s Day if it weren’t for this one.
So here are a few different ways you could test Snapchat for your business:
- Allow your entire sales team to snap. Pop girls group Fifth Harmony does this well. When you view their snaps, you’ll see that each member snaps from a different location. I feel that this adds some dimension to the viewer’s experience. By allowing each of your team members to snap, you provide multiple points of views. Imagine what the viewers experience might be if they could only see views from your property manager rather than if they could see what the leasing agent and maintenance tech were up to, too! More perspectives = more fun!
- This is risky, but I would personally love to take Snapchat a step further and put it in the hands of residents. What better way to show your property’s lifestyle than through resident experiences! As you know, this can be tricky. You need to be able to control a little bit of what’s being put out there. My solution for that would be to designate a few “community ambassadors”.
- Purchase a filter! Yes, you can have a filter created just for your business! What a fun branding opportunity. When people are near your community, they will be able to use this filter on their photos and videos. Again, you can’t control what people associate with your filter. For example, you don’t want people posting a photo of a roach in their carpet then putting your community’s name on top of it. No. My suggestion is to designate a filter for a limited time or a specific event, at least the first time around, so that you can gauge how residents might use it.
- How about getting Snapchat followers? Snap special offers! Snapchat is perfect for limited time offers because snaps are only available to view for 24 hours after it’s been posted. You can encourage residents and prospects to follow your Snapchat account by posting a special or other inventive there.
Snapchat is so much more fun than I am able to convey in this post. If you’re still skeptical, the best way to determine whether this app will be helpful to you is to use it. Follow friends, co-workers and celebrities and see how they use Snapchat. View as many snaps as you can. You may be surprised to discover the creative ways in which people communicate that you can apply to your business.