Now Batting... Snapchat.

If you were to ask me just 4 months ago if I was on Snapchat or if I intended to get on Snapchat I would tell you “no… that’s for kids.” I would go on to say, “Why would I want to be on a social network with a bunch of teenagers doing inappropriate things?” Snapchat seemed foolish and a waste of time. It wasn’t until my best friend, Matt LaMarsh, an entrepreneur and student of social media master, Gary Vaynerchuck, encouraged me to download the app, sign up for an account and give it a try. I did just that.

For weeks I fought Matt on it’s merit and poor functionality. He persisted that this was the next big thing and I better get on it and be an early adopter. I also began listening to Gary Vaynerchuck who was also extremely bullish on the burgeoning social platform. I reluctantly conceded and began learning the ins and outs of this new and interesting app.

I believe in the power of social media and have for a very long time. Heck, I am the exact same age as Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. He was a freshman at Harvard, while I was a freshman at Jacksonville State in the fall of 2003. I remember my first encounter with “The Facebook,” as it was called then, I was with one of my best friends at the University of West Georgia. I distinctly remember him saying, “dude you need to check out this site, it’s called The Facebook and it has tons of hot girls on it from all over campus!”  It would not be for another year before Facebook came to Jacksonville State and I started my Facebook account in the spring 2005 and I've been on it ever since.

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It's kind of crazy to think that I've been around social media from its very beginning. I remember when advertising on Facebook wasn't even possible. I remember when Twitter started getting popular and had not penetrated the teenage market. I recall asking some high schoolers on my wife's volleyball team if they were on Twitter and they asked me “what is that?” It wasn't but 6 months later that every high schooler in that school had a Twitter account! It's amazing how fast Some of these platforms have been adopted.

Now it's 2016 and Snapchat is next at bat. Continuing with the baseball analogy, you have a lot of other platforms that are decent team players but they are not home run hitters. Snapchat has been working hard in the batting cages. The social networking team already has several all-stars: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Can Snapchat hang with the big boys?

Snapchat has many unique features that help differentiate it from the other major social platforms. It's unique 15 sec video snap and limited time availability to it’s viewers command instant attention and focus. No other social platform requires the level attention that Snapchat commands. This is and will become one of it’s most valuable assets and one of the hardest to maintain. This limited and instant command of attention is the foundation on which marketeers, advertisers and communicators will learn to live, move and have their being.

Our attention spans are not getting longer, if anything they are getting shorter. Snapchat capitalizes on this short attention span and dominates it’s competition. The limited time that Snapchat allows breeds creativity, just as the 140 character limit does in Twitter. Limitation breeds creativity.

The story feature of Snapchat instantly combines multiple 10 sec video snaps into a longer more detailed “story.” In my own personal experience I found that I stay tuned in longer because of the combining of the 10 second snaps allow the user to take video in multiple locations and add different filters to make a compelling and captivating story. It is proving to be a very powerful platform to communicate and provide value to viewers.  

The filter feature is where Snapchat will make it’s money. We've already seen businesses utilize filters to promote specials, deals and sales. Paid filters will only get more popular with time it will be interesting to see how Snapchat determines the priority and cost of these filters. The Geofilters are proving to be a fun way to promote the community in which you are snapping and/or doing business. We will also see filters becoming popular with major events and even weddings. Hold on, the filter feature is only going to get more powerful.

Ahhh yes… The UI/UX, in layman's terms, how it looks and experienced. This is the biggest area of improvement for Snapchat. After using numerous mobile apps, Snapchat has some catching up to do. The functionality definitely has a learning curve and can take a little getting used to. I hope the next version sets the stage for it to become the heavy hitter it deserves to be. Snapchat’s user experience must equal it’s unique and powerful attributes and features.

Early adopters to Snapchat have taken hold of it’s unique position in the digital marketing space and are exploiting it’s features and benefits. These “influencers” have amassed huge followings and hustled to maintain and grow their influence. The rise of these influencers or social media “celebrities” is changing the way brands think about marketing and promoting their products or services. By partnering with one of these influencers, brands can get in front of thousands of people and turn, what some deemed to be a silly, teenage app, into a platform to make huge profits. No longer do you need the likes of Ashton Kutcher or Beyonce to sell your brand, CyreneQ, Snapchat power-user and influencer, can do the trick.

So here we are, I’m now an avid Snapchat user and evangelist. I also believe that Snapchat will be the “it” social network and platform of 2017 and beyond. The time is now to get on board. You do not want to be left in the dust on this. The attention is shifting and will be squarely on the power and unique features of Snapchat. It’s time to sign up and start snapping.

Add me on Snapchat, phil-goodman, and snap me up!