As the user base for the popular messaging app continues to grow, the pressure for artists to get on Snapchat continues to grow, and while it may seem to be one of the harder social media platforms to break into, to not attempt to do so is to ignore a whole host of potential fans.
The ephemeral messaging app has been around for over five years, and in a short span of time has grown exponentially, to 150 million daily active users producing 10,000 photos uploaded per second and 10 BILLION daily video views.
And all this growth has happened right in front of you. Half your staff already use it multiple times a day, especially if they are under 25. Larger acts have been on the service for years, with varying degrees of success.
Quite a few of you have dipped your toes in the water, but for one reason or another, may have given up on the app — there's no instruction manual, it's hard to find all the features, that Faceswap thing is just silly, it's hard to measure results — etc. etc. etc. — trust me, I've heard it all.
And yet despite all these counter-intuitive notions, the app's usage rate continues to increase. Sure, Pokemon Go and Instagram Stories put a dent in those numbers this summer, but the fact remains — at this point, Snapchat is simply too big to ignore.
I just published Snapchat 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started on Snapchat, not because I expect to get rich off of book sales (have you seen the royalty rates and marketing costs for books? They make the music biz look like Daddy Warbucks!), but because the time is right to hop in, and I wanted to make it easy for the uninitiated to get involved.
Sooo, why should you join Snapchat, and why now? Here are five quick reasons:
1) Snapchat is on the Verge of Its Oprah Moment
Snapchat launched over five years ago, and after being a single-use messaging tool known for sending and receiving disappearing pictures in its early days, the platform has added a number of useful features, most notably audio and video chat, as well as the professionally-produced Discover channel, with partners such as MTV, Vice, and iheartradio.
Its buzz has steadily grown, and its utility is becoming more apparent with each month. Sure, The Kids may scream and complain the moment Oprah ushers her followers into this space, but the secret is, adults are already moving in, with notables such as the White House, Michelle Obama, and more mainstream celebrities leading regular people into the space every day.
2) Adults are Starting to Trickle In. And Use It like Adults.
I get it, you are a serious musician, you don't have time for chipmunk voices and dog face filters!
But, three of the largest overriding themes on Snapchat — authenticity, positivity, and inspiration — can play to your favor, and can reach your fans in ways you may have never imagined.
Want to preview a quick riff, have fans vote on a new merch design, or post a 10-second view of the desert from the tour van? Or how about build a Story every Thursday morning about How / Why I Wrote That Song? Trust me, adults eat that stuff up just as much as The Kids do.
3) Your Younger Fans Have Been There for Years
Snapchat is an odd bird in the fact that it is a very closed garden — sure, there are ways for users to save and share their Snaps to other services, but its very opaque nature may have held you back from committing to the service.
Regardless, your fans are on the platform, and they are talking about you, making Snaps with your music in the background, and creating Stories from your shows — now it's time to open up the channel for your fans to peek a little more into your world, and to give them a little something extra to talk about.
4) Discover pulls your fans' Snaps and reuses them for broadcast in Stories — free publicity for your show!
This is big. Yeah, you want the kids to put down the phone and watch your show. But one of Snapchat's coolest features is the local / big Stories curated from users' Snaps in lots of communities around the world — it's one thing for fans to post a pic or a video from a show for their friends to see, but locally-curated Stories can magnify the reach of those Snaps even further.
5) You gotta start somewhere. Hopefully a lot of you signed up a while ago, if only to reserve a username that matches your real name. And as the CEO of your own identity, you have to decide which tools you use to promote your work, how much time to put into that platform, and what your return on investment can be.
We all start at zero at some point, and in all honesty, Snapchat is not the most transparent platform for user metrics. But by devoting a couple minutes to the platform every day, you can build your base and gain followers as you decide whether to go deeper down the rabbit hole.
So whether you use Snapchat to follow other musicians, outlets, and venues, show fans behind the scenes footage of your life, or communicate directly with others, Snapchat's user base is large enough at this point for you to see results for your efforts.
And if you need to learn how to use Snapchat in a matter of minutes but don't have a 15-year old around to teach you, we got a book for that.
Who are your favorite musicians and venues to follow, and why? Reply in the comments section below, and we'll write another piece about best practices at a later date.