In April 2014, the World Wildlife Fund gave the world an inspiring lesson in social media and wildlife conservation by using Snapchat for its #LastSelfie campaign.
The photography app, which allows users to view shared pictures and video for a few seconds before they're automatically deleted, mimicked the very real disappearance threat that plagues animal populations today. The campaign itself was a call to action for Snapchat’s young audience, but it was also a wake-up call for brands that limit their social media presence to Facebook and Twitter.
According to BusinessInsider.com, Snapchat’s audience is mostly made up of young females in their teens and early 20s, and that audience is one of the hardest to reach. Was the WWF on to something?
Snapchat is not the only platform that is pulling the social rug under the more conventional social media. Tumblr and Instagram are also emerging as millennial-oriented, actionable social spaces in terms of marketing efforts and return on investment. Facebook took a hint and launched Messenger as a standalone app meant to enhance the private messaging experience, and while reviews have been mixed so far, the app is clearly rooted in the need to include money and business in the conversation.
As Caitlin Burns, a business strategist for media companies, puts it, it’s hard to tell which platforms will be the next big thing, but she sees a clear trend of moving away from data-hungry platforms into “public-ish” -- more private -- communities.
Let’s take a look at what each platform can bring to your brand.
A video or picture message on this platform will permanently delete itself after a few seconds, which makes each second invaluable real estate. Brands should view this feature as an advantage rather than a limitation.
Instead of trying to fit messages in such a time-constricted social environment, brands should use the time constriction as an angle to its message. A quick glimpse of an upcoming product, a suspense-filled video or an intimate invitation to meet on another platform are all suggestions that can be cleverly implemented. Remember, the sender decides how long a picture is viewed, from one to 10 seconds, so there are ways to control some of the effect.
It’s probably not a coincidence that the company just hired its first chief marketing officer, Stephanie Dolgins. A platform that largely caters to the prized millennials, Tumblr has become known for, among other things, its humorous GIFs, but the possibilities are endless.
With its unlimited post character count and the prominent place that is given to visual content, Tumblr is the platform of choice for many brands, such as Kraft or Sephora, to showcase the culture around their products. Recipes, tutorials and how-tos are some of the angles of a brand’s social storytelling that definitely belong on Tumblr.
Instagram allows you to show a curated version of your brand. If you look at Taylor Swift on Instagram, she projects this incredible idea of intimacy. She might post about her day, her cappuccino or how she’s decorating her house, but it’s a carefully chosen and aesthetically beautiful version of all of these things.
This is the same way teens and everyone else uses their accounts. You can show stylized images of your product, photos of people engaging with your brand or other photos that help potential customers feel intimate with your brand.
"All of these platforms are different tools you can use to be the voice of your business and to interact directly with your customer base, with the audience you’re trying to reach," Burns says. "Figuring out the best way to put your business out there in the world requires you to know yourself and understand how to feature your project."