How Snapchat is Changing the Way We Use Social Media

snapchat Peyton Garrett | @PeetyGarret

At first glance, many people see Snapchat as a passing fad for the younger generation. But as it continues to grow, it is becoming more apparent that Snapchat is making a huge difference in the way we use social media.

For those of you who have never used it, Snapchat is a popular app that allows users to share “self-destructing” photos in real time. Unlike other photo sharing sites, Snapchat allows you to choose the time frame in which someone can view a photo and then the app immediately deletes the photo after the time is up. This allows for a level of fearlessness for the users. Because the photos and videos are temporary, it forces the audience to pay attention. One of Snapchat's researchers was quoted as saying, “Permanent social media fixates on the details of a photo, whereas temporary social media on what it meant and what it moved within you.”

In a way, Snapchat allows for people to be more like themselves than any other social media site. Its “My Story” feature permits people to share a photo with all of their friends with a 24-hour life span. Because everyone knows that the image is only there for a day, people are able to be themselves uncensored and share things that they would not usually share if the content was able to stay forever. Snapchat is the only social media platform where it is acceptable to post a image with a caption saying something like, “Ugh, I'm so bored.”

When users feel protected by Snapchat’s level of privacy, they spend more time being themselves and sharing their ideas and preferences. Businesses can benefit from this level of openness and become more effective and relevant marketers. Many businesses are under the impression that because Snapchat posts are not permanent, they are useless, but that is not the case. On other social media platforms, viewers scroll through content quickly and even though the content will be there forever, the viewer will never see it again. So, if the viewer is only seeing the content once, it should not matter how long the content is present on the platform.

That being said, there is still the question of how to actually use Snapchat for marketing. One way businesses are embracing Snapchat in their marketing strategy is by holding contests. For instance, some companies will ask users to send in pictures of themselves using their product and then offer a reward to the ones who do. By interacting with their audience, the company has encouraged the users to feel more connected to the brand. Also, companies are using videos to provide more valuable content for their followers.

All in all, very few companies are utilizing Snapchat as part of their marketing strategy, which leaves more room for brands to break through and innovate.

Will Nesbit