Snapchat 101 for Associations

image of snapchat ghost with question makrEditor’s note: This article was originally posted on September 18, 2018. It has been updated.

Snapchat could be just what you need to engage members or potential members – particularly young professionals. In the past, its younger user base and short-lived content may have left you unsure about adding this channel to your association’s social media strategy. But, it’s important to evaluate if (and how) it can help your organization reach its goals.

 Less is More:

The value of one follower the Snapchat platform is truly greater than the value of a single follower on any other social network.

Why? Because Snapchat is built for the sole purpose of consumption. That alone is powerful. Part of Snapchat’s secret to success is that it creates an “urgency” combined with content storytelling – mostly through video. Think of it as YouTube combined with Twitter (but with a 31-character limit).

Features include live video chatting, messaging, creating caricature-like Bitmoji avatars, and sharing a chronological “story.” Other popular options include the ability to add filters and AR-based lenses to snaps and show your live location on a world map. Snap lingo is vast and always changing. has a great read on it.

When consuming, Snapchatters feel as though they are a part of the experience (unable to use a finger to skim or rifle through a feed like with so many other platforms). In a world where it is increasingly difficult to get someone’s undivided attention, snaps achieve just that. Snapchat stories take up an entire screen, which means no distractions. Snapchat gives you less, literally.

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Snapchat by the numbers:

  • 187 million daily active users
  • More than 10 million daily video views – all on mobile
  • 54% of US Snapchat users are between 25-29 years old
  • It’s the fifth most popular social media platform at 27%, nestled between Pinterest (29%) and LinkedIn (25%) according to Forbes

Organic Engagement:

This platform has cracked the code on organic engagement. It feels native because it is.

Content MUST be created on the Snapchat App itself.  Using an outside video file or picture will not work, but this is another reason why the app is so successful – it’s easy to produce content and just as easy to consume.

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Bringing back old technology in a big way:

Snapchat single-handedly brought back the QR code technology that we all thought was dead!  Since there isn’t a Snapchat website (or URL links for that matter), the app is forced to offer unique ways to find followers.

The easiest way to find followers utilizes QR Snapcodes (or Snaptags), which are specific to each Snapchat profile. These codes snapped by another Snapchatter –anywhere, printed or digital – allows them to automatically add you as a friend. Essentially, Snapcodes are a follow button.

Millions of Snapcodes are scanned each week making it easier for everyday users (and your association) to get more followers on the app.

What else you should know:

  • Video snaps can only be up to 10 seconds long. Six 10-second videos can be taken without interruption – creating one-minute videos.
  • Private snaps (swipe left) disappear immediately after being viewed. Keep those for personal one-to-ones, like “thank you” messages.
  • Content made into “my story” (swipe right) can be viewed by all friends up to 24 hours and then they’re gone forever.
  • These stories create a compelling reason for users to come back daily. There isn’t an “endless” wall like Facebook that saves content.
  • Stories can also be easily shared on YouTube and Twitter within the app providing better longevity for marketers.
  • Don’t focus on followers, focus on producing engaging content!
  • Snapchat launched in 2011. Keep in mind that some of the early adopters are now approaching their early thirties. It is not just for teenagers.

There is no denying that the psychology behind the app works. Snapchat can provide your association with a great opportunity to humanize content.  If you are looking to increase video views and engagement quality, it may be time to give Snapchat a try.

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