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.
Social media was intended to connect and build community, but as these platforms have evolved, we’ve started to use them to disengage. Social media has become an escape not a meeting place. All too often, we hide behind 140 carefully composed characters or the perfectly staged Instagram image. We feign enthusiasm or conviction, and we show the portion or version of ourselves we want to portray. What happened to true authenticity in social media? I found it on Periscope.
With the live-stream platform, it’s much more challenging to customize your persona. You can’t sit down for an hour and compose your scopes for the month, and you can’t schedule a Periscope broadcast on Hootsuite. Instead, you have to be present and engaged, and best of all, you have a live audience and interaction with real people.
I believe that Periscope represents the direction social media is heading. It’s getting back to the original purpose: to connect and build communities among likeminded people. This platform is forward-thinking, and I sense that people are intimidated by it. Yes, it’s much more comfortable and safe to hide within the confines of other social media platforms, and it’s a little bit terrifying to actually consider being vulnerable and truly authentic in the digital landscape. I urge you to face your fears! Download this application. Give it a try. Start out as an observer. You can join and never broadcast a livestream. You can simply watch others and join the conversation.
If you want to learn more about Periscope before creating an account, I highly recommend visiting the Facebook group Inspired Scope, created by Cathy Olson, the founder of Love Inspired. This group is a great place to start to understand Periscope better and receive support from others who are exploring the platform and helping it grow.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and join, I’ve made a list of ten interesting people you should check out and follow. Finally, join me on Periscope @AOCBlogGirl every Friday at 5:30P ET for #FridayUnfiltered, a community building scope for artists, bloggers, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and anyone who is self-employed! I hope to see you on Periscope TODAY!
10 People to Follow on Periscope:
@LoveInspired: daily business scopes
@CyndieSpiegel: business strategy scopes for creative entrepreneurs and badass women
@JessGrippo: dance breaks and creative inspiration
@JelloydJMJ: behind the scenes scopes of a recording artist
@DanelleMercurio: daily guided meditations and weekly horoscopes
@CourtRJ: daily copywriting and business scopes
@JennMSterling: health and wellness tips
@LindaUgelow: guided mediations and creative inspiration
@LizDiAlto: guided meditations and inspiration for women to connect with their bodies
@MelissaEEarle: photography and design tips for amateurs and professionals
More and more I’ve found myself deeply valuing my time spent exploring and gaining inspiration outside the Internet. This is not what a blogger, social media manager, web writer should say. Call me an old soul, but I remember the not-so-distant past when my creativity was constantly fueled by the world around me, not images on Instagram or quotes on Pinterest. I think I’m part of a confusing (or rather confused) generation who is both excited to be on the cutting edge of a grand new era of technology and who has a fond memory of a youth without said technology – a generation that continually grapples with their physical persona (outside the Internet) and their digital persona (on the Internet). I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I feel both blessed and cursed to know both sides.
Some people manage to be, say, 80% detached from the digital world. Sure these people probably have an email address and a cell phone, maybe a Facebook or LinkedIn account, but not much more. The rest of us call these people “disconnected.” I’ve made the accusation myself, namely because my boyfriend (oddly enough a web developer) is one of these people. And to him (and others with raw digital personas) I’ve defended blogs and social media hundreds of times, touting their widespread popularity (audience) and overall value (free to those who participate, lucrative to those who create) – they’re an integral part of our society, numerous industries, my life! I can confidently say I’m thankful for my experience in the blogosphere and on social media, but what happened to the experiences outside the Internet? The Instagram-able, Pin-able, hashtag-able experiences that supposedly make up this media? I can’t escape the technology completely – in fact it has quickly evolved into a very inescapable part of most of our lives – but I can slow down, take a step back, and remember there is still a beautiful world out there – it doesn’t just exist in images on the Internet.
Regardless of your level of engagement in the digital world, the Internet has a powerful influence on our lives. Time and time again, I’ve been influenced by other bloggers, digital media, friends and followers on social networks – so much so that every now and then, I lose track of where my digital persona ends and others’ begin. Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to move forward. So this February, instead of the digital world telling me “blog me,” “Instagram me,” “share me,” I’m calling the shots. I’m reconnecting with my unique digital persona. My blog and social media have been quiet for the past few weeks and will continue to be in the month of February as I pursue this introspective exploration of my digital self. Stay tuned, readers… MORE SOON.
Photography by Angie Webb Creative
As part of celebrating ARTicles of Clothing Blog’s first birthday, I wanted to reflect and share the top five posts from year one.
Year one on AOC Blog was a bit of a roller coaster and a lot of learning what not to do. As much as I tried to research and plan before launching AOC, it evolved in ways I never expected and ultimately lacked some direction and focus.
There’s definitely more pressure for year two. So, I’m in the process of implementing some changes to make AOC even better. One of the most meaningful sources of information is YOU, the readers, which is why reflecting on the top five posts of year one is so important.
These posts indicate the type of content you like to read on AOC. If you missed any of these top five, be sure to check them out!
5. BLACK AND WHITE
You know those days where you go to your closet and think, I have nothing to wear? We’ve all had them. In my years of building a wardrobe I have come to realize there is one way to avoid the I-have-nothing-to-wear clothing dilemma for good. The answer is black and white.
4. REAL BLOGGER BEAUTY
In January, I urged you to set a goal to FEEL GOOD and LOOK GOOD in 2014 by making small changes to your everyday life to produce big results. Shifting the trajectory of social media is a lofty goal, so today, I’m starting with one small step by participating in and promoting the #RealBloggerBeauty campaign. My #RealBloggerBeauty moment is illustrated above through these images of myself over the past eight years.
3. 3 UNSUSPECTINGLY STYLISH INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS
You can find plenty of lists floating around of the most stylish Instagram accounts you need to follow now. These mainly consist of bloggers, models, editors, designers, and the like. But what about the awesome Instagrammers who are flying under the radar? Well, I think I’ve found three of them.
2. MY COMPLETE BATHING SUIT GUIDE
Three years ago I decided I could no longer squeeze my tatas into size large bathing suit tops that were ultimately ill fitting elsewhere. I had to take the plunge and invest in some bathing suits that fit my body. So, I bid farewell to my days of stocking up on multiple suits every season from the glorious Target swim section and found some brands that would suit me and my body better and stand the test of time.
And the #1 post of year one of AOC is…
1. A FUSION OF MUSIC AND FASHION
Erica’s debut single has a beautiful balance of light and dark, which instantly became the inspiration for her look. When you first hear the title of single, the word “haunted” elicits that feeling of darkness and possibly a place that is plagued by something or someone. As you listen to the verses, a lightness trickles in revealing a sense of nostalgia and fondness. While it is evident that the speaker is in fact haunted by a person or memory, there is clearly a warmth and deep connection, possibly even love, with the “ghost.” It is this sensation that is truly “haunting” the speaker, which ultimately illustrates the dichotomy between light and dark in the song.
Several weeks ago I was chatting with fellow blogger GaBrielle Pedriani of Look Sharp, Sconnie about contests. It seems that a number of fashion outlets from magazines to social media are constantly presenting contests to their communities to boost engagement. We both admitted to being skeptics of such competitions for a long time. Surely there are hundreds upon thousands of eager followers entering these contests depending on the particular outlet hosting the competition and the prize. Then Gabby had a life changing experience that shifted her view of contests forever: she won. No, no, she won BIG.
Last fall, Marie Claire magazine partnered with Twitter and Yoplait yogurt for a contest that appealed to every fashion lover’s dream. The grand prize: an exclusive behind the scenes trip to New York Fashion Week, a meet and greet with Fashion Director Nina Garcia, and a feature in a Yoplait ad in the magazine’s November issue. The contest required participants to tweet a photo of an original look inspired by one of Yoplait’s 40 flavors. Gabby’s mixed berry inspired ensemble scored her the ultimate NYFW experience.
While Gabby’s win certainly gives me faith that real girls actually have a shot in hell at winning these contests, I would still venture to say that her victory was once in a lifetime. My contest story isn’t nearly as special, glamorous, or life-changing, but my small win is just another piece of encouraging evidence that contests are actually worth your while. If two regular gals can win, so can you!
My win was also for a contest involving social media. Last fall, one of my favorite denim lines, Level 99, hosted a series of Freebie Friday contests on Facebook. Each Freebie Friday contest had a theme that related to the particular denim style being given away. To win, followers had to answer the theme-inspired question in the comments. Instead of entering each week with a generic and ultimately underwhelming response, I waited for weeks when the theme spoke to me and tried to give an honest and personal reply, and it paid off. I won a pair of jeans!
Like I said, my win is not nearly as awe inspiring as Gabby’s, but hey, who doesn’t want a free pair of denim? The takeaway here is if you’ve ever thought of entering a contest but never actually done it because you thought, I’m never going to win, maybe next time you’ll think again. I believe Gabby would agree that an important factor to winning these contests is being genuine and true to yourself. So, keep that in mind and roll the dice. The next success story could be you!