When I first heard of SnapChat, all could think of was how dangerous something like that would have been for me back in High School. I would have gotten myself in way too much trouble. It didn’t occur to me, initially, to consider this platform from a business perspective.
But then I started to follow Gary Vaynerchuk.
Gary is all about SnapChat. He’s also an investor. This got me intrigued since I love Gary’s approach to business and sales. Plus, he’s 40 and a GenXer like me. If Gary saw value in this new media, I must have been missing something. So I started following him and followed a few other influencers to see how they were using SnapChat.
At first I didn’t get it at all. As a consumer of the content all I saw was a bunch of short videos of Gary. He was walking through airports talking, others were telling me to go check out their Instagram accounts. How the hell is this adding any value to my life? Why do I care? Why would I log in to SnapChat to end up on Instagram? I get the whole lead flow approach, but it seemed pretty annoying to me.
On the other side, as a creator of the content, I couldn’t figure out how to add value for my viewers in ten, quick seconds. Also, why the hell would I want to send something to someone that only lasted ten seconds and then disappeared forever? Conventional wisdom in the world of content sharing and brand building tells you that if you come up with something valuable, you want it to stick around for a while to maximize exposure, right?
As I continued to do more research and play with the app, two things got my attention. The first was a few reports I came across that talked about the popularity of social channels by age range. Over 71% of SnapChat users are between the ages of 18-34 and it is one of the fastest growing platforms among that age demographic. This is where that generation lives. If I want to connect with them, I need to be where they are.
The second thing that got my attention was a Gary V. interview in which he talks about why he invested in SnapChat and why he believes in it so strongly. Paraphrasing, he said it’s the only social media channel that actually mirrors how we interact as humans. We meet each other in the street or wherever, we engage in some quick way, and then we’re gone. That moment isn’t something we can go back and relive. We can’t save this interaction for later in real life or on SnapChat, which is unlike all of the other social sites. By the way, if you want to read a great article about the history of SnapChat and why it’s important in today’s world, I recommend you check out Gary V.’s blog post on it here.
Having at least a basic understanding of SnapChat’s value to consumers and content creators alike, I began to dive in and started to create stories. Mostly, I was sharing what I was doing that day. I still didn’t really understand why people would give a shit. But, I told my Twitter and my Linkedin followers to find me on SnapChat and to follow me. I even took it to the Kentucky Derby this past weekend and had some fun with it. And then a few things happened today that made me realize the value.
I was at the airport headed out for another series of trainings and I was chatting about my thoughts on the week. One of my followers me sent me a chat asking for my recommendation on a call approach and so I answered him. Then another follower hit me up saying he was having a bad revenue month and asking if I had any suggestions for how he could get out of the funk. I started to realize this was an incredible way to quickly and easily engage directly with my audience at a much more human level than email or Tweets or any medium outside of face-to-face ever could.
I get a ton of e-mails and InMails everyday asking for advice and it’s really hard to get to all of them, but with SnapChat I can address questions anytime from anywhere and I don’t have to type it out (because, by the way, I suck at typing). So now I get it . Now I’m bought in.
SnapChat’s value, as I see it, is threefold.
First and foremost, it allows you to engage more directly with your audience and engage in a more personal level. Second, those interactions are invaluable to brand building. Third, it generates lead flows to other sources that ultimately drive revenue.
Now, to be clear, if I was an Enterprise Sales representative selling to Baby Boomers who still have flip phones, I probably wouldn’t be as sold. That said, the world is changing fast and if we don’t at least keep up with what’s going on or with how communication is evolving, we’re going to wake up one day and everything will have passed us by.
So, if you’re one of those 18-24 year olds who find it amusing to watch a GenXer like me try to Snap, or if you’re a GenXer like me also trying to figure this whole thing out, come find me on SnapChat and we’ll have some fun: johnmbarrows
P.S. If you’re going to be in Atlanta next Thursday, May 19th , please come check out my first public workshop. I’m doing a half-day session on the same training content I present to companies like Salesforce, LinkedIn, and Box. Included with admission is a 1-year subscription to my online portal. I’ll be Snapping the shit out of it too 😉