Snaptastic: A Destination’s Guide to Adding Snapchat

It’s no secret that I love Snapchat. And lately it’s been impossible to escape from the headlines of the rising star platform. Snapchat use is on the rise, wait – it’s on the decline, it’s actually both. Snapchat is doing well or it’s setting itself up for failure. Snapchat is unique, Instagram and Facebook are copying everything Snapchat does. It’s good for brands to be on Snapchat, it’s not effective for brands to be on Snapchat.

Whew. Anyone else have whiplash yet?

As with all social media channels, the true measure of how effective a platform doesn’t lie in statistics and studies, but in each brand or destination, and their individual audience. This is not to say that research shouldn’t be done, it should be and extensively. If you’re curious as to what other destinations are doing, Adweek dove into four major cities and explore how they were, or weren’t using the platform, with excellent insights from each city. So how can you determine if Snapchat is the right platform for your destination? Here are three questions that you need to answer before setting it up:

 

  1. Is my audience in the right demographic for Snapchat? In travel and tourism, this is a pretty easy one to answer. We want to attract all demographics to our destinations, including the ever elusive Millennials, which are still the platform’s biggest user base.
  2. Do I, or someone in my office have a clear understanding of how Snapchat works and interacts with users? The best, and possibly most annoying, part of Snapchat is that everything disappears from the public eye in 24 hours. It is not a long-standing social post, it’s not something people can reference back to, and it is harder than other social channels to draw analytics from because of that. Photos and videos are ineffective if they’re just thrown up onto a Story- authenticity is still key (just look at Las Vegas and DJ Khaled).
  3. Does my office have the time and money to dedicate to making a Snapchat channel fun and engaging? Snapchat, for all it’s bells and whistles and engaging users, is not a cost-friendly platform. There’s no two ways around it. Not from a time standpoint, and not from a monetary standpoint. Part of it draws back to authenticity- if a photo or a video is posted in the platform that wasn’t taken in the platform, it’s obvious. Snapchat adds a large white border around any media that was posted after the fact. It’s an in-the-moment platform, the antithesis of Instagram, where photos have a much longer life-span.

Photos and videos must be taken in the moment, and posted immediately- or they’ll be lost. Even photos that are taken in Snapchat, saved in Memories and posted from there fall victim to the large border. While this is fine for the occasional throwback, a channel that is filled with these looks staged and inauthentic- the opposite of the point of using Snapchat. And this is without factoring the cost of ads, sponsored filters or geotags. So the question becomes, does your office have the time and staff resources (and therefore money) to devote to an engaging Snapchat channel?

If your answer to all of these is yes- then what are you waiting for? Dive into the fast-paced and energetic world of Snapchat, and have fun! After all, that’s really what the platform is about.

If your answer is no- don’t stress. Snapchat is still evolving as a platform, and will likely continue to undergo changes that make it more brand-friendly. In the meantime there are still plenty of channels and ways to reach your audiences and engage. And, there’s always Instagram stories.

What do you think about adding Snapchat as a social media channel for your brand? Let us know in the comments!

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