During Legends of La Cienega here in LA a couple of weeks ago, Sophie Donelson, Editor-in-Chief of House Beautiful invited a panel discussion audience to ease themselves into using Snapchat by following the magazine’s account. If you have kids, you probably know about Snapchat, a mobile app that allows—100 million—users to send photos and video that self-destruct. Operating on the premise that time is fleeting, it’s also the app that’s brought the term “ghosting” into the zeitgeist.
Are you at the Louvre? Touring a celebrity home that is off-limits to the public? Or do you want to send a message that is direct and personal? Snapchat is an opportunity to give a select audience inside access into your world. Even though using it seems like the height of visibility, there is an anonymous quality when you use the app because others must know your exact handle name to find you.
I’m way too paranoid—and honestly don’t feel the love—for Snapchat but like with every social platform, I’m paying attention to where my people go. It’s why I could no longer ignore, and thankfully have fallen in love with, instagram. House Beautiful has always been pretty aggressive about building its digital footprint and cultivating relationships with younger readers, and if you plan to be in business for at least another 20 years, heck even 10 years from now, you should too.
Think about it. Snapchat says its users are 13-34 which means ten years from now, the oldest user will be 44, smack in the middle of their highest income earning years. Although depending on what part of the country you live in, you might be a 28-year-old tech mogul with some cash, a new penthouse and not a whole lot of education when it comes to design right now.
Now I’m not suggesting you get onto snapchat “in the hopes of”, although if you have products, or if your design brand has roots as a blog/entertainment space, you really need to be investigating Snapchat hard. Many designers are quite frankly, too busy and because your work is referral-driven, you just don’t see the point. That works if you like the quality of your referrals and as long as the economy is buoyant.
But you might also want to consider the average age of your referrals. Do they have more than one residence, and if yes, are they all in North America? What stage of life are they in? Again, although life offers up many twists and turns to people of all ages and stages, it’s wise to build relationships with people who represent a wide spectrum of the market. Maybe it’s not Snapchat, but you would be very unwise to ignore Facebook. (That and virtual reality, but I’ll save that for another post!)
At a tech conference I attended last month, I heard several variations of this theme, “There are successful companies that are obsessed with FB and then there are unsuccessful companies.” I’m not just talking about your FB business page, many platforms are integrating FB APIs into their service delivery. For example, if you have products and you use a platform like Shopify, the messenger app in your Shopify store will send an order confirmation when a customer makes a purchase from Facebook. It sends another confirmation with tracking information, when the order is being delivered.
So what does all of this have to do with you? If you’re confused about social media, you need to start asking better questions. Do you know where your ideal client lives online? Have you asked them? Are they on FB to look at their grandkids photos? What about Instagram or Pinterest? Or LinkedIn? When you get to know your clients digitally, you’ll spend less time wondering and more time reaching.