By Lauren Kelley, Contributor
Snapchat has lived a full life in its short time on our iPhones and Androids. Since its inception in 2011 by three Stanford students, the app represented by an adorable ghost has been dismissed, disliked and disapproved of by parents of teenagers wondering if it’s just a way for their kids to send lewd photos and messages to their friends. However, in the past few years, we’ve seen an evolution of the functionality that has made Snapchat one of the most popular chat apps around. Although Facebook Messenger is projected to remain the leader of the chat apps, according to eMarketer, Snapchat will continue to grow in popularity through 2020. In January 2016, Bloomberg reported Snapchat already had more daily users than Twitter. What happened to make this app, once thought of as just for teens, blow up?
The thing that made Snapchat appealing in the first place was the fact that you can send a photo to an intended recipient, who has 10 seconds to see it, and then it disappears from the world. In a time where celebrities are seeing their private photos leaked almost regularly, this seems like an ideal solution. Of course, there’s the sexy route, but it’s also a way to send funny, unflattering pictures to your friends.
The Snapchat filters make it easy to take a hilarious photo. See yourself as an old man, a bee with a high-pitched voice, or if you’re into the slightly more vain approach, in perfect lighting.
They’re just like us! Kim Kardashian famously used Snapchat to record Kanye West’s conversation with Taylor Swift, even further elevating the app’s relevance in pop culture. It’s great for a celebrity’s personal brand and for the fans to feel like they’re really connected to someone’s day-to-day. Fans want to see as much of their idols’ lives as they can — and Snapchat re-invents that.
From fashion retail to food, there’s not a single industry that isn’t — and shouldn’t be — using Snapchat. Again, connection in an age of social media and constant communication is key. Brands need to use this app to show their users what’s going on in the studio and what they can expect in the future, and to broadcast what it means to be their brand. This is a wonderful new opportunity that requires relatively minimal effort and can seriously boost customer loyalty and engagement. If you need inspiration, follow The New Times, Amazon, and even McDonald’s and see how these mega-corps are snapping their way to the bank!
Users can experience almost everything without ever taking their eyes off their phone. Music festivals like Coachella, major cultural events like Fashion Week and even the Olympics have their own Snapchat stories. Users can tune in and see what people there are doing and snapping.
The truth is, this is why social media works. We want to broadcast everything we’re doing. We want people to see us looking pretty and being funny, and Snapchat not only lets us do that, but it also lets us see which of our contacts want to know what we’re up to by allowing us to see who has watched our Snap story. We all want an audience. Now, thanks to Snapchat, we have one.