Come Hither

How Snapchat Should Work for Brands

Persuasion is one of the cornerstones of our industry (advertising) we are constantly pushing and pulling communications, eager to find new ways for people to react to the messages we put in front of them.

Our boundaries of creativity are always looking for something new to push it to higher limits yet we are often shackled by the way we choose to measure what we do. Our methods of measurement lack the same creativity we put into making our shiny objects.

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest. Repeat.

The left side of our brain is winning while the right is craving the ability to color outside of the lines. Social Networks today are very much like coloring books. We think we need to stay within the lines and match the colors that are traditionally intended to be applied to the pictures we are coloring.

However we rarely think about how we can break those lines in order to reinvent the way people will enjoy engaging with our messages. We try and emulate what consumers are already doing on these networks and hope that by emulating them they will simply let us in.

Not gonna happen.

Brands need to change the way they behave on networks because they are not people.

Enter Snapchat. Ephemeral social media, like digital fliers that some people will take and others will discard. There is no way to know who saw what and when, only that something was sent and possibly consumed and then destroyed.

Impressions, eyeballs, views, screenshots, engagement… no one has truly figured out how to wrangle this new beast. We as advertisers become obsessed with codifying the way we communicate across networks and typically keep sticking our old round peg into very different shaped holes.

Snapchat should be looked at as the social challenge we have been waiting for. A way to get us to rethink the way we engage and the stressor we need to test the boundaries of our creativity.

When you have a network nearing 50 million rabidly active users you can’t help but fawn over the opportunity to engage those people. You can send them all the same message (equivalent to nuclear spam) and hope one or two bite the bait, but even if they do happen to get a glimpse of your fleeting branded doodle, then what? The mechanics of the platform do not resemble those of traditional networks and need to be looked at through the lens of a real salesman.

Nice words, but what the hell am I talking about?

“Come Hither” is the strategy that I think needs to be applied to a platform like Snapchat. There needs to be an ephemeral carrot dangling on the other side of a brand’s Snapchat account that makes consumers want to engage brands first.

Brands should not be sending unsolicited Snaps to people, rather getting people to trigger the brand’s content to return something back that is both valuable, entertaining and serendipitous.

Again, what the hell am I talking about?

If a consumer knows that by sending Nike a Snap it will “unlock” something unique to them, they will be curious as to what that is. They will want to trigger the brand to Snap them back something of value or entertainment.

They will want to engage the brand because they know that it will respond in kind, immediately and fleetingly, with something that may tickle their fancy in a way only that particular brand can do.

Do you want an exclusive peek at the new Air Jordan shoes that haven’t launched yet? Hell yea! Do you want a behind the scenes Snap of LeBron training with his new limited edition color ways that may or may not come out? Hell yea! Do you want a limited time coupon that will get you running to the nearest Footlocker for access to an exclusive shoe? Yes, yes, yes!

“Come Hither” should be the strategy behind how brands grant its enthusiasts with the ability to engage with them on Snapchat, its like a scratch off card, you never know what is behind that silver acrylic until you rub it off.

By promising consumers that they will indeed get something in return brands can now invite them to engage without having to seem pushy or intrusive. They can measure those engagements by the way they drive consumers to Snap and then start to figure out how to use Snapchat as a way to target specific users to ask for even more customized responses rather than engage in a volley of useless silly doodles.

Snapchat is less about the novelty of ephemeral media and more about our ability to find a meaningful way to communicate using it on behalf of our brands. It borrows from an age old way of communicating in a modern day format and gives us the ability to lure and persuade rather than intrude and annoy. It is a platform that is highly contextual, ultra attentive and must be responsive immediately.

I shared some additional thoughts here

Would love to hear from others about how they see the network being a successful driver of engagement for them and their brands.

Thank you, this article will now self destruct in 10 seconds… Just kidding.