It’s official: Snapchat has gone from teenybopper app to mainstream personal publisher.
And now you’re wondering if Snapchat might be your association’s new secret weapon to get content to your next generation of members (or prospects). You’re not alone.
Some backstory: When it launched the fall of 2011, it was easy for brands to dismiss the ghost-icon social channel most associated with racy sexting. After all, what could content that disappears in 10 seconds do for a thought leader? But the rising traffic did the talking and minds started changing. Within five years, Snapchat’s mobile video numbers skyrocketed to 10 billion videos views per day.
According to Nielsen, Snapchat now reaches 41 percent of all 18- to 34-year-olds in the United States—the very audience demo topping the wish lists of almost every association marketing director out there.
Snapchat’s impressive stats made a lot of association execs sit up and pay attention. Gen Z and millennials have long challenged the traditional association membership model, and most organizations have trouble connecting with these audiences. With visions of hip, young members joining in droves, they pondered whether snapping to it could be the magical solution.
Some, like early adopter Association of Surfing Professionals, were a no-brainer. The group was an association pioneer when it tapped Snapchat several years ago to showcase dramatic shots of waves and surfers—connecting fans and members to boarding events with tons of colorful, interactive snaps and stories.
But is Snapchat still a good fit today for groups a little more serious than the surfer crowd? Heads turned last fall when top-tier and oh-so-serious The Economist and The Wall Street Journal started publishing stories in Snapchat’s Discover section. If those two mighty gods of thought leadership are on Snapchat, many associations wondered, should we be too?
Not really, it turns out. Discover is an exclusive club: Snapchat negotiated deals with a group of just 20 or so publishers, and those limited partnerships come with a sky-high price tag. (Rumor has it they go for as much as $5 million per year and demand intense ad-revenue minimums).
This leaves most associations with two choices. One: Open an organic Snapchat account, which makes discovery difficult and demands long-term commitment to see gains. Or Two (the option most associations have chosen): Don’t play on the platform at all.