You have a solid Facebook presence? Great. And your Twitter following is growing? Fantastic! How is your Snapchat? Snap-chat. You are on Snapchat….aren’t you?
If you’re not using Snapchat, you might as well forget about connecting with young adults today. Gone are the days when millennials flocked to social networks like Facebook or Twitter. Today, this highly sought-after demographic is turning to Snapchat to connect with friends and follow brands, more so than any other audience using the platform. In fact, 7 out of every 10 Snapchat users is a millennial — that’s huge. Put simply, it’s the network for 18-29-year-olds.
According to a breakdown of US Snapchat users conducted by CivicScience in 2014, the number of respondents who said that they “loved” the social network was heavily skewed toward millennials. Looking closer at the numbers, those in the 18-24 age group accounted for 43% of all Snapchat fans, those under 18 came in second, while older millennials accounted for 15% of US Snapchat users.
Okay, so Snapchat is the network that millennials are turning to, but why does this demographic use the platform more than any other group? What is it about Snapchat that millennials love so much?
Snapchat is unlike any other social network out there. While it lets you post text, photos, and videos like the other popular platforms, there are several things about Snapchat that make it stand out from the rest and appeal specifically to young adults.
Here are just a few of the reasons why millennials love Snapchat.
With more moms, dads, and older people in general signing on to social networks like Instagram and Facebook every day, millennials have turned to Snapchat partly to avoid the ever-present gaze of family and friends. While everyone and their grandmother has a Facebook page these days, not nearly as many adults use Snapchat — therefore, it’s instantly more hip. Teens in the 1950s probably didn’t like the idea of parents crashing their sock hops, and young adults today want to connect with their friends without having to worry about their lame mom or dad showing up. It automatically has more cachet to millennials for this reason. Parents and authority figures need not apply.
For millennials, the Internet has been a part of daily life since they were very young. They understand better than anyone the power of and dangers of posting content to social networks, how posts on platforms like Twitter and Facebook never really “disappear.” Snaps, however, are gone in a matter of seconds, never to be seen again. While a Twitter post might come back to haunt a millennial later on, it’s much less likely for a there-and-it’s-gone Snap to cause harm to a user’s reputation. That is a huge selling point for young adults.
How many social networks allow users to animate their faces with dog ears or rainbow vomit? How many let users speed up videos so their voice sounds like a chipmunk? Snapchat is built around sharing fun, quick content, and the company provides many cool features that appeal to millennials. For example, a user can take a selfie, use a face-recognition filter to make themselves look like a zombie, add text and emoticons, and send away. It’s not stuffy or serious. It’s fun and easy to digest, making it the ideal platform for millennials.
Attention spans across the board are shrinking more every day, and millennials’ attention spans are, well, often incredibly short. Gone are the days where long Facebook screeds would draw the attention of young adults; millennials don’t have the time or the patience to sit through something so dull. Snapchat, on the other hand, is fast — short little bursts of photo and video, each lasting no more than a few seconds. It’s a lot easier for a millennial to sit through a Snapchat Story consisting of multiple 3-second clips than it is for them to read a wall of text on another social network. Less is more.
Tailor your Snapchat content to millennials
For the time being, Snapchat is almost exclusively the social meeting place for millennials. Ask a millennial if they use Facebook or Twitter anymore, and you’re likely to hear a “no.” Sure, there are many older adults using the platform — 3 percent is still somewhat substantial — but it’s clear that if you’re using the platform to connect with prospective customers, you should know that your content is mostly being seen by millennials. For that reason, it’s good practice to build content that appeals to those in that demographic, using the platform differently and sharing different content than you would on other more “ancient” platforms like Facebook.
When figuring out what type of photos to share or filters to use, you need to make it appealing to millennials. Snapchat is not the place to post straight-up ads or be overly “marketing-y.” Snapchat is the last place where you would want to openly “sell” — the millennials using the platform will be instantly turned off and likely won’t continue to view your Snaps if you’re too pushy with your message. In regards to Snapchat filters, if you’re going to create a geofilter for a location or event, make sure that it isn’t something stuffy or sales-oriented. Millennials can see that from a mile away, and your efforts will be completely for naught.
Whatever your brand, you have to be using Snapchat if you want to connect with a younger audience today; the numbers don’t lie. It’s clear from the statistics that Snapchat isn’t just some fly-by-night trend, some goofy network not to take seriously. It’s where millennials are, and it’s where you need to be, whether you like wacky filters or not.
Consider other demographics when using Snapchat for your brand, but keep in mind that glaring 70% figure. This is the millennial network of today, and you should treat it as a brand-building tool. Young adults love Snapchat, and you should love it too — it has the potential to do wonders for your brand, if you play it cool.