We’re about to start using Snapchat as a marketing tool for our business, and I’m keeping this diary along the way so you can see exactly how we’re doing it. I’ll be documenting some of the important days and milestones to keep you updated on what we think about it.
Why we’re testing Snapchat
Snapchat is the fastest growing social media platform in the world today. Currently worth an estimated $20 billion and with 150 million daily active users, it’s come a long way from the “fad” that was just for teenagers and sending nude pics. These days, it’s almost impossible to avoid a post/tweet/article from an “influencer” who tells you that your business “has to get on Snapchat”.
As much as I put these words and phrases in “quotation marks”, I agree. Some of the businesses that are doing the best on Facebook right now are the early adopters – the ones that jumped on board when brands first did, and really established an engaged audience that is now paying dividends (and has been for some time).
Snapchat certainly has the same feel around. When Facebook first started becoming a real tool for marketers years ago, I was a marketing manager for a company that generated most of their leads through search engine marketing, in a really boring niche. I dismissed social media outright as a marketing strategy.
I was obviously wrong.
With hindsight, there are dozens of ways we could have used it, but didn’t… C’est la vie.
Getting into Snapchat
Fast forward to today and I’m at an innovative digital marketing agency, doing some really cool things at the forefront of marketing technology. And now we’re going to start Snapchat.
Our team have read a lot about Snapchat on all of the marketing blogs but until you really get stuck into a platform, it’s hard to know what you’re doing. We’re going to be using it to market ourselves and get a much better understanding of how it can work. Once we’re confident it’s working for us, we’ll make it available as a service we sell to our clients.
I was persuaded to download Snapchat by a friend I made while I was hiking in the Himalayas (#Humblebrag) almost 2 years ago. Since then I’ve been using it more and more and have amassed an incredible 30-something followers.
I’m not very active on it. I use it to take snaps of nights out with friends, or to take pictures of the Sydney weather/landscape to send home to sunny London town.
100 days of Snapchat
Note: 100 days covers the 3-month test we’ll be running on Snapchat (including 10 days of planning). I will usually write about the days when something major happens.
A few days ago I received a meeting request from Alex, our Chief Innovation Officer, to discuss a strategy for using Snapchat. He and Kath, our Head of Social, had been discussing it while on a trip to Melbourne and want to see us start to use it. Luckily, I agree, so I’m keen to get started.
Today is the day of our first meeting.
Since he’s used it to grow his personal brand, we’re getting the advice of Sujan Patel, our General Manager in the US, via a Skype call. We had an interesting discussion covering a lot of the topics I’d been wondering about: frequency of posting, types of content, other businesses to follow, who his audience was, how they engaged with him, and plenty more.
He found it to be a very useful platform for engaging with his audience but lacked the time to fully commit to using it as a growth channel. Like most channels, he felt that if you can’t do it properly, then it’s not worth doing at all.
Though many of his stories were work-related, he shared a lot of stuff that was more personal. Walks with his dog, travelling the US, stuff that just showed who he was as a human being rather than as a brand.
A major assumption everyone continues to make about Snapchat is how young the user base is. Sujan partly debunked this myth by informing us that plenty of his followers were older than 30. We also discussed that all 4 of us are on Snapchat and our ages range from mid-twenties to late 30’s, a demographic we share with the majority of our target audience. It therefore stands to reason that we should be able to reach our target audience via Snapchat.
Total Followers: 0
Snaps posted in story: 0
Story viewed by: 0
Alex, Kath and I met to formalise our thoughts following our chat with Sujan. Kath had already liaised with our social media team to put together a document that outlines a strategy. It was agreed that the document is still not set in stone and we’ll be learning more about what we should be doing, and how we should be doing it, along the way.
We discussed the strategy at great length, elaborating further on our target audience personas, they type of content we’ll be producing, how we strike the balance between informative and fun. But most importantly, we discussed the metrics we’ll be tracking to make sure we’re on the right path.
Note: don’t judge my handwriting… I work in online marketing after all :)
We decided that the key ones to track within the app would be:
- the number of followers we have
- the number of snaps that have been watched
- the % of snaps in a story that are watched (we coined it the Story Completion Rate or SCR for short – although we’re still debating )
- the number of screenshots
- the number of messages
We’re also hoping to track a few metrics that will happen offline. These secondary metrics are:
- mentions in sales conversations
We’re still not sure that our Snapchat activity will translate into offline conversations/sales but without any at all, it becomes difficult to justify investing a significant portion of resources into producing the content for it.
Though the 3 of us will be involved from a strategy perspective, only one person will be responsible for the actual creation and execution of the content and that’s social media producer Connor Chmielewski (although we need to find a way to systemise this in case Connor is sick or on leave), partly because he’s used it for business in a previous role.
Mostly though, it’s because Connor’s personal Snapchat is amazing. He’s really mastered the different functions and I don’t mean just using a filter to put a crown of flowers on his head. He can draw all sorts of moving creatures and images which then move in time around his mouth while he sings. Anyway, he’s good.
But I was a little concerned that he may be too creative. Snapchat is a fantastic platform to be eccentric, wacky and fun, but I feel that it’s important that we don’t overdo it. We still need to be informative and professional as well as fun, so the balance is going to be an interesting challenge for us to keep while we roll this out.
We also agreed a “soft” rollout of our Snapchat channel. Next week we would start posting snaps but we would only release the code the to our team internally. We would take their feedback and use it to inform how we use it.
Total Followers: 0
Snaps posted in story: 0
Story viewed by: 0
Kath and I met in the morning to finalise some details about the target audience. Kath identified 3 key specific personas who should find our Snapchat channel interesting. We went back and forth a bit on how many people are in the companies they own/work for, what kind of car they drive and how they came across us. These details might seem like overkill but we’ve found that the more we can visualise a potential target, the better we can tailor the content to them.
We then presented the strategy to the social media team. They use Snapchat to varying degrees but have read more about it than any other team in the company. They’re the most creative too, so it’s important that we include them as much as possible.
The purpose of the meeting was to get some ideas from the team about the different content they think our target audience would find interesting. The content itself is one thing, but we also wanted to get an idea about how to deliver that content. Snapchat has a lot of interesting and creative ways to amend images and videos and we all agreed that leveraging that creativity is a key to making it a success.
Though I’m keen to get all of the team’s’ input, I was particularly keen to hear from Connor. It turns out I needn’t have worried about Connor’s eccentricity. In our discussions, it became clear that all of Connor’s ideas for content, as well as delivery, had the end user in mind. So while being entertaining, they still upheld our brand.
Meeting at 4pm on a Friday, with a couple of beers and ciders, is the perfect time to get the creative juices flowing. As we went around the table, with each member (including me, Alex and Kath) coming up with ideas for content, it was clear that they were as excited about seeing how it pans out as I was.
There were a range of ideas, from interesting filters we can use to deliver tips and tricks, to what some viewers would find interesting about the different roles that we have in the company. We’ll be using some of them straight away, but a few probably need to be fleshed out a little more before we put them out to the public.
During the meeting, we realised that the metric we’d coined the previous day, the ‘story completion rate’, will never be accurate. The nature of the 24-hour story means that stories can and will overlap. That means that some people may only start viewing a story a snap or two into it.
We’re a data-driven agency, so I find the lack of analytics available in Snapchat to be a real nuisance. We’ll be relying on more qualitative data to inform our progress for the time being, as it doesn’t look like Snapchat is in a hurry to provide data.
We came away with even more information for our strategy, as well as a load of great ideas for things to film.
Total Followers: 0
Snaps posted in story: 0
Story viewed by: 0
Days 4 & 5
Over the weekend I decided it would be a good idea for me to use Snapchat more in order to understand its limitations as well as make sure I’m acquainted with it so that I’m prepared when we come to launch. I documented a weekend away at the Central Coast. I experimented with different filters, drawings, emojis and stickers. I actually got quite a bit of engagement from my followers so I think I’m getting the hang of it.
What I found interesting is that a lot of the engagement I got happened offline. When I met up with friends or colleagues over the next few days they mentioned to me how funny or entertaining my story was. Needless to say, it spurred me on to do even more.
Come Monday morning, Connor and I met to discuss a plan for the week. We laid out a number of different ideas to post in our first week. Despite the fact that we were only sharing our Snapcode with people at Web Profits, we decided it was important to keep the content aimed at our target audience.
The instant and fleeting nature of the platform was put to use immediately. Google’s algorithm had been updated over the weekend and so we had George Cleanthous, one of our SEO strategists, give us a 5-snap story explaining what the Penguin algorithm meant. The snaps were accompanied by a drawing of a penguin and some cool frames.
We used the company iPad to take and post the snaps on the first day. The idea was that the larger surface screen would give Connor more ability to draw around the videos and images but a couple of issues were quickly apparent.
The aspect ratio of the screen is different on an iPad and so when we viewed the snaps on our phones (as most people would), there were some black edges. We really need our snaps to be full screen.
More importantly, the camera quality is nowhere near as good as a regular smart phone so the videos came out very grainy. There is no chance we’ll be using an iPad to put out content to the public.
Total Followers: 16
Snaps posted in story: 7
Story viewed by: 16
The next day saw us taking Snaps of the social media team giving tips on how to make the most of Facebook ads. Connor’s creativity really shone through today as each tip had an accompanying theme. For example, we played foosball while discussing goals and stuck a post-it on someone walking to denote tracking.
More importantly, each tip was actually very informative and useful. This story, for me at least, is the epitome of how we should be using the content.
Outside of the content, we discussed how Snapchat currently has no way to tell you how many people are your friends on Snapchat. It is possible to manually count them all, and while that’s feasible when we’re keeping it internal, it won’t make sense to do when we soon have hundreds of friends (hopefully). We therefore won’t be tracking it any more.
Total followers: 18
Snaps posted in story: 10
Story viewed by: 18
Today, Alex and I have been disagreeing about the design of our Snapchat code. Every Snapchat account has unique image which works in the exact same way as QR codes (remember those?). Companies often get theirs designed so that the ghost is wearing their brand colours, or contains their logo in the middle of it.
After chatting with our in-house design team, we came up with a design that replaces the recognisable Snapchat yellow with the magenta that we use in our logo, and has our logo inside the ghost. But Alex thinks that we are better off using something recognisable in the early stages. I protest, but struggle to find examples of other brands using a different colour, other than Coca Cola. After some discussion, we decide it’s not worth the time we’re spending looking into it, and keep the logo yellow.
The snaps Connor produced today centre on the changes to Snapchat as a company. They recently rebranded as Snap INC and define themselves as a camera company.
Interestingly, we didn’t tell the team that we posted a Snapchat story and the number of people who viewed our story dropped. It confirms what we thought, that even though many of our team are on Snapchat, they aren’t active every day and so won’t always see our story. We expect the same from our future user base.
Snaps posted in story: 8
Story viewed by: 10
I’m excited about the content we’ll be posting today. It will show “a day in the life” of a Web Profits employee. I think this will be one of the types of content that will be most interesting to our viewers.
Unfortunately, the content felt a little flat. There could have been some good insights but questions weren’t asked in the right way, and we perhaps did too many non-work-related snaps.
Feedback hasn’t been very forthcoming so we notified the team of the new story and asked for more critical feedback – fortunately it came through the next day.
Snaps posted in story: 16
Story viewed by: 12
Connor and I met this morning to debrief. We had a great discussion about what worked and what didn’t.
Feedback from the team was great. Like me, they loved Tuesday’s posts with tips on Facebook Ads and weren’t so sure about the day in the life of. We were told that although the update about Snapchat (or Snap INC as they’re now known) was informative, some information on how it affects users and businesses would have made it a lot more useful.
Overall we think it’s been a successful week in that we’ve understood a lot more about what works and what doesn’t. One of the main things we need to consider is how long each story will take Connor to put together. Simple is always quicker but to get engagement will sometimes take time. Again, there’s a fine line to toe in order to make sure we don’t spend an inordinate amount of time creating something only slightly more engaging.
We came to the (obvious) conclusion that the better pieces of content are the ones that were planned out. So we planned out the next week of content in more detail. We’re excited to launch and think we can strike the balance well between interesting and informative.
The snaps we take that day are of our team outing to a local bar to play a ping pong tournament. We think casual posts on a Friday could be the way forward, but it all depends on what else is happening in the news that day, and if we need to be reactive at all.
Snaps posted in story: 6
Story viewed by: 14
Today is launch day. Unfortunately, we’ve hit a couple of snags. Connor came down with a bug over the weekend and will be working from home. Despite it coming up, we didn’t sort out a contingency plan for situations like this.
I try to rope Kath in to shoot today’s story but she’s just got back from a business trip to Singapore and has a tonne to be catching up with. Alex is on annual leave, and I suddenly get pulled into some urgent work on getting a piece of content done. Ultimately, we decided that we’re better off waiting to launch it properly when Connor returns, rather than make a poor attempt at it for the sake of launching. These things happen.
To be honest, it’s worked out okay. It’s given me a chance to get this diary edited properly and a chance to speak to Ales about how to best market our Snapcode through social media channels.
Snaps posted in story: 16
Story viewed by: 0
Connor is back in today! He and I met with Kath to finalise the content for the next 7 days and she’s really happy with what we’ve put together.
I’m putting the final touches to this diary while Ales sets up some campaigns to get our Snapcode out to the general public. Speaking of which, here it is!
Scan here using Snapchat to add Web Profits as a friend.
I’m going to continue updating this diary but I’m posting it now so you can see how we’ve got to where we are now. The updates to our progress will come over the next 90 days as we post more and understand how best to use it, so keep an eye on our blog for updates.
In the meantime, Connor and I have filmed a story just introducing what our Snapchat channel is going to be about. Be sure to watch and it and let me know what you think in the comments below!
Snaps posted in story: TBC
Story viewed by: TBC