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Snapchat

Three Snapchat logos with 'We are Macmillan Cancer Support' written within them.

Why we should bother with Snapchat

Our Social Media Officer, Jessie Donnelly, discusses the value of Snapchat for charities and why it shouldn’t be dismissed.

Like all the other big social media platforms, Snapchat is becoming a word that everybody knows. It’s the home of puppy filters and the birthplace of the now ubiquitous Stories feature. Still, there’s no way Snapchat can be a seriously helpful tool for brands, right?

Wrong.

The sheer numbers of Snapchat’s audience prove it’s a mistake to ignore it. The app has a global audience somewhere in the region of 170 million – if Snapchat were a country populated by its users, it would have the eighth largest population in the world. By the end of 2016, around 11.2 million of those users were in the UK, which is expected to rise to over 13 million by the end of 2017. It’s estimated that a quarter of all UK smartphone users have Snapchat installed, which will rise to a third by the end of the year. That’s a pretty big audience!

For us here at Macmillan, the news is even better as Snapchat is dominated by users outside of our usual demographics. 51% of adult Snapchat users are aged 34 or under and 23% of adults on Snapchat in the UK are aged 18-24. In the longer term, this is the next generation of people affected by cancer but, in the short term, it’s an audience of potential volunteers, fundraisers and interns.

But what does that huge, committed user base mean for organisations like Macmillan?

Brand awareness.

For a platform that’s largely built on content of 10 seconds or less, Snapchat holds its audience – the average time spent on the app by users is 25-30 minutes every day! That means there’s plenty of time to reach your audience and boost your brand awareness on Snapchat, and there are two main ways to do this: Snapchat Stories and On-Demand Geofilters.

 

 Snapchat Stories

Two Macmillan employees fundraising outside the Ritz.

 Snapchat Stories are a great way to tell the story of a day or an event in small bite-sized installments that can be viewed (again and again) by your audience until they expire after 24 hours. The temporary nature of Stories is a great way to spotlight events and give people an insight into life within Team Macmillan, while the somewhat less polished nature of it all gives the content a more authentic edge. As it’s quick content that disappears, you can be playful and more humorous than on other channels (especially as the audience is younger) while it’s also a great platform to introduce people from around the organisation who our audience might not ordinarily meet (from interns to volunteers to the social media team itself!).

 While our Snapchat following is still relatively small here at Macmillan, our viewing figures are consistently growing on our Stories, as is our number of followers so it’s definitely a platform for us to continue building on! The only major drawback to Stories is that the content is only viewable to those who already follow you, but that’s where On-Demand Geofilters come in.

 

On-Demand Geofilters

Geofilter for the London Marathon with silhouttes of the London Eye and the Big Ben at the bottom. Text reads 'One mile to go!'

 If you’ve ever used Snapchat, you’ve likely added a geofilter at some point. Most towns and cities have at least one, as do landmarks, airports and a whole heap of other places. Tacking a geofilter onto your Snap is a fun way of letting your friends and followers know where you are (perfect for making people jealous if you’re off on holiday!).

But aside from the geofilters that Snapchat provides, it’s possible to design and upload your own to be visible to people in a certain location at a certain time. Compared to Snapchat Stories, this is an excellent way to boost awareness of your brand as they’re visible to everyone in that location at that time, not just your existing followers. Cost-wise, geofilters are an incredibly efficient to spend money – unless you’re competing for prime territory like Buckingham Palace, you can generally cover the space you want for less than £20 per day.

Even better, that geofilter will be seen by whoever a user sends it to or whoever views a story it’s been added to. This is how geofilters set up for events attended by several hundred people can eventually be seen by thousands of people. Take the Macmillan Volunteer Conference earlier this year – though the conference was attended by around 400 people, the geofilter we designed to run on the evening of the Awards Ceremony was seen more than 39,000 times!

Geofilter from the Macmillan Volunteer Awards 2017.Text reads: 'Recognise. Reward. Celebrate.'

This geofilter gained over 39,000 views!

 

Not every geofilter will perform as well as this – even we’re slightly surprised by it. The number of times they’re used can’t be predicted, but competing with several other brands (as could happen at big events like the London Marathon) can have an effect. But as a cheap, fun way to get your brand out there, on-demand geofilters are a fantastic tool!

 

You can follow Jessie on Twitter @JessieDonnelly  and add Macmillan Cancer Support on Snapchat by searching ‘macmillancancer’.

Snapchat logo with QR code background

Get snap-happy

If you’ve had the pleasure of seeing a dog-face or rainbow vomit lens and felt scared, confused, or indeed delighted, you have Snapchat to thank for that. Social Media Officer, Hayley Devlin explains the who, what, and why of Snapchat - the five-year-old chat app that’s surprised everyone.

Snapchat is having its moment in the sun. Since launching in 2011 the platform has grown rapidly and is hailed as the go to app for teens and millennials. In 2015 Snapchat’s estimated project revenue was $50 million and its creators turned down an offer of $3 billion from Facebook. Not bad for disappearing images.

But why? What is it is about Snapchat that’s taken it from faddy-app to social media powerhouse? And why is it that ‘old’ people just can’t seem to get on board? (As of March 2015 over 71% of all Snapchat users were under the age of 34).
On a personal level, Snapchat is great fun and is a growing platform; in 2015 it had 100 million daily active users. It’s a platform that businesses and organisations simply can’t choose to ignore.
Snapchat is like being the star of your own reality TV show. To me, that’s why so many teens and millennials can’t seem to put it down. Thanks to the ‘My Story’ function, we’ve been able to film our lives in 10 second clips and pictures and leave them for all our friends to see for 24 hours. Snapchat gives users the chance to share intimate/funny/personal moments with the people they care about in a way that feels more personal and private than Facebook or Instagram.
Snapchat is creative. The ‘draw’ feature (the pencil icon that appears in the top right corner when once you’ve taken a picture) allows users to turn their pictures into works of art and ‘face swap’ has turned into a craze. If you haven’t had a play with the face filters yet, I’d highly recommend entertaining yourself for 15 minutes or so. Simply switch to your front facing camera, hold a finger on your face until Snapchat recognises it and swipe through the filters you want.

The real, and new found, power of Snapchat comes when you step away from the personal and begin harnessing it to reach a much wider audience. Some of the biggest players in online news and entertainment produce content for Snapchat’s ‘Discover’ channel on a daily basis. Celebrities such as Chris Pratt, the Kardashian-Jenner clan and DJ Khaled (king of Snapchat) are using the platform to deliver self produced content straight to their fans. Football teams and brands are also on board with the likes of Manchester City, FC Barcelona, Selfridges, Nike and McDonalds all creating content to add to their ‘Stories’ on daily basis. You can even follow the White House.
It’s also being used for good. In India, Rajshekar Patil, Avani Parekh and Nida Sheriff are using the app in a way that allows young people in abusive relationships to reach out to them and get help they wanted to create a helpline that young people would feel safe enough to use. To add them and see for yourselves just search for ‘lovedoctordotin’ on the app.

In February, Snapchat released it’s ‘On Demand Geofilters’ and opened up another way to advertise on the platform. Geofilters are banners you can add to your pictures according to where you are. To access them you have to have allowed Snapchat location access and all major cities, landmarks and universities have them.The Shard with Snapchat Geofilter applied. Text reads, ' The City'.

These Geofilters are free and known as ‘Community Geofilters’. ‘On Demand Geofilters’ give brands the opportunity to pay for and create their own geofilters set to a location of their choosing. Individuals can do this on too, with Snapchat touting weddings as the perfect excuse for something so personalised. With prices starting from $5 they’ve made them affordable and accessible. The process is fairly simply, you design your geofilter, upload it to Snapchat, select the date and how long you’d like it to run, select the location, and send it off to Snapchat for approval or denial. If they deny, they’ll usually give you a reason why.

 It was a no brainer that Macmillan had to have Geofilters for the upcoming London Marathon, so I worked with the creative team to get a few designed. We’ve got four filters being used across the day, so if you happen to be at our cheer points in Monument, Embankment or Canary Wharf, be sure to snap and use our filter. There’s also one at the finish line. You can find them by taking a picture and then swiping left or right until you find ours.

Beyond the frivolous fun of Geofilters, Snapchat opens Macmillan up to a wider audience. It’s an opportunity to showcase our various challenge events and adds extra buzz to our fundraising events. It gives us the opportunity to run intimate Q&As with our experts that will remain on the platform for 24 hours at a time. We already know that our main demographic is women aged 35-55 and at a time where we’re trying to get younger audiences to care about our cause, Snapchat could be the key we need.

Snapchat how-tos

Find a Geofilter:

  1. Take a photo.
  2. Swipe right or left until you come across an image like the one above.
  3. Press the arrow in the bottom right corner, select who you’d like to send it to and send your snap.

Take a selfie with a filter:

  1. Switch to front facing camera by tapping the camera icon in the top right hand corner.
  2. Hold a finger on your face until Snapchat recognises it.
  3. Swipe through filters (rainbow vomit is my favourite).
  4. Press the circular button to take a picture or hold it down to film.
  5. Tap the arrow in the bottom right corner, select who you’d like to send you snap to and send it!

 

Three different Snapchat lenses - Aged, rainbow vomit, and scary.

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