I admit, I was late to jump on the Snapchat bandwagon. I was one of those people who thought it was just for teenagers, not for entrepreneurs or businesses. When I finally took the plunge, downloaded the app, created an account, and started posting, a friend even asked me, “Isn’t that platform for sending naked pics?” I realized that many people have some misconceptions about Snapchat or just simply don’t understand what it is or how to effectively use it. No, Snapchat isn’t just for entertainment or secretly sending scandalous photos. There are a number of ways Snapchat can be used as a valuable storytelling tool for brands.
Snapchat content is all about immediacy – think idea over aesthetic. It’s perfect for event coverage. On Snapchat there are very few filters and no image-editing options. While it’s possible to upload an existing photo to Snapchat, most photos and videos are taken directly in the app. There’s no use of elaborate photo editing software or belaboring over the perfect hashtags – it’s a snap-caption-and-go mentality (pun intended). With Snapchat, you can quickly take a photo, add a line of text, post, and repeat. It allows you to easily capture all aspects of an event from start to finish without missing a beat and allows your audience to experience an event right along with you, in real time.
Behind the Scenes
Most other platforms and social channels show your audience the finished product – a composed blog post, a fully edited photoshoot, or even a carefully staged Instagram photo. Snapchat has a different focus – the process. The more immediate and less curated nature of Snapchat goes hand in hand with showing the steps leading up to that final, polished product. By giving your audience a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of your business, from day-to-day operations to travel, you build a more intimate relationship with the followers of your brand. It allows your supporters, clients, and leads to have a glimpse into your company culture, your creative process, and how your brand works.
At first glance, you might think that cross-promotion is less effective on Snapchat as opposed to other social channels because you can’t actively tag or link to other users. What differentiates the experience of cross-promotion on Snapchat from other platforms is, again, the way in which the promotion is presented – candid and in real time. With Snapchat you can illustrate the use of another brand’s product or service or show participation in another brand’s initiative or event. Like giving a behind the scenes look into your business, cross-promotion is another way to use Snapchat to help your audience gain insight into your brand’s attitude and values.
With platforms like Facebook and now Instagram moving away from a chronological experience, we’re slowly but surely losing the element of storytelling on social media. As algorithms give preference to the most popular posts, there becomes an increased pressure to have highly stylized images with killer captions and targeted hashtags. By losing the real time experience, we not only lose part of the story but also part of the authenticity. While platforms like Snapchat, Periscope, and even Twitter may be less popular, they’re at least continuing to offer the more raw and personal experience that social media was originally intended to create.
As I stepped off the escalator and headed toward the stairs leading down to the subway, I could see the uptown train waiting. I started sprinting, as every good New Yorker does, but as I reached the platform, I could see the train doors were closed. Damn, I thought, just missed it.
I stood there, expecting the train to depart any second, but it didn’t. It sat, doors closed, for another couple minutes before it finally took off. I sighed and rolled my eyes in frustration, and I noticed another woman on the platform who had experienced the same misfortune. We both glanced around the station and quickly caught each other’s gaze. It’s the worst when that happens, I said, and we struck up a conversation.
At first, we commiserated over the occasional annoyances, like this one, that come with relying on public transportation. Another train arrived, and we sat, continuing to chat about the usual things. As the conversation inevitably shifted to work, we began to click. Before we parted ways at the station where we both needed to transfer, we exchanged business cards. This woman is now one of my clients.
Why should you always dress to impress? Because you never know who you’re going to meet. As artists, bloggers, entrepreneurs, and the like, we often live in our loungewear and activewear. Full disclosure: there are days when I work in my pajamas and only throw a coat on to run to the bodega up the block. Living in New York City (where the streets are filled with people bringing their fashion a-game) has inspired me to put a little more effort into my appearance before I leave the apartment. Fortunately, on the day of my subway debacle, I happened to have done my hair, thrown on some makeup, and put on “real clothes.”
When you work from your home office a majority of the time, it makes sense to only dress for video calls or in-person meetings. Most of the time, the first contact we have with our potential clients is on the web. They see the styled and polished images depicted in our bios and on our contact pages, not the girl in the yoga pants and oversized sweater on the other side of the screen. In our self-employed lives, we can’t forget to maintain a certain level of professionalism outside of our online presence. You never know if your next client may be behind you in line at Starbucks.
What you wear says something about you and your brand. Not the designers or trends you sport but how you present yourself. Just like the story you use to introduce yourself, clothing is a medium you can use to portray something about your business. Is your brand bold and colorful or sleek and minimal? Look at your company’s aesthetic, imagine how it could be translated into an outfit, and take it into consideration next time you’re running errands around town or walking your dog in the park. If you need a little guidance translating your brand’s image into your personal style, connect with me. In addition to writing, I happen to do a bit of styling on the side!