Is Snapchat the right platform for you? Sometimes when a new platform emerges, we start to feel like we’re missing out on a potential opportunity. Before I speak specifically about Snapchat, let me just make a general statement about new platforms, and it’s this: I am a big advocate of getting an account and checking it out, whatever “it” is. Periscope, Meerkat, where’d they go? Snapchat, Musical.ly, Facebook, Instagram, all of them, because I do think you can fall into one of two camps. You can fall into the camp where you just ignore it, and then by the time everybody’s talking about it, you feel so far behind the eight ball that you actually are, and you never set up an account, and so you’re constantly playing catch-up.
That’s one type of entrepreneur. The second type is the type who, every single time they hear anyone talking about anything, they’re like, “Oh, I’d better get on it,” and they spread themselves so thin, and they don’t make the decisions each day on what they should be spending the majority of their time on, they don’t make those decisions wisely. I would love for you to kind of fall somewhere in the middle, where you figure out, “Okay, what is this app? Who is using it? What’s the demographic? How does it relate to me? What is it I need in my business?” That leads me to Snapchat, and please note that this is being recorded in August of 2016. I say that because things will change, as they always do. Every platform evolves, some platforms get bigger and better, every platform changes, every platform evolves. Some get bigger and better, some get smaller and disappear, and others are just a powerhouse, like Facebook, that is here to stay and not going anywhere for any time in the foreseeable future.
I’m writing this in August of 2016, so my opinions are based on what is happening right now on Snapchat, and I’m going to lay it out for you, and I’m going to give you my opinion, but always know, it’s your call. It’s yours, obviously, to make the decision, and sometimes I come across very definitive, but my goal is for you to look at things with an open mind and decide, “Well, you know, I’m the exception to the role,” or “Well, but Chalene, dot-dot-dot,” and I don’t know the dot-dot-dot, so you can make that decision for yourself.
Okay, Snapchat. First of all, I do not, at this time, think it is the platform where you should be spending any more than about five minutes a day figuring out how to use it. That’s all, unless you have a pretty sizable following. What do I mean by a sizable following? I mean you’ve got an audience that is so big you are certain that there are perhaps thousands of followers who aren’t yet doing business with you, don’t yet know you, don’t yet like you enough that they can trust you. If that’s the case, then that might be the right platform for you to build kind of a more intimate relationship with them, revealing a little bit more of yourself, allowing them to take a look in and go, “Oh, okay, I see who this is, I like them.” It’s like reality TV in ten-second snaps. You can’t put on any airs … Well, I guess you could, but it’s just a way to really go deeper with your existing fans.
Having said that, if you don’t have a big following, dude, Snapchat, at the moment, is not your jam. Here’s why: No one can find you. I have millions of followers, and they can’t freaking find me because I can’t use the name “Chalene Johnson.” It’s a long story. It’s a long, embarrassing story, but … It’s my own fault. I have to use the name “chaleneofficial,” no spaces, all one word, “chaleneofficial,” and even though I tell people that’s my Snapchat name, there’s still like hundreds of comments every day from people saying “I can’t find you, where are you?” Even if someone is specifically searching for you because they know your name and your Snapchat handle, it’s still difficult for them to find you.
Now, if someone is jumping onto Snapchat, and they’re trying to find someone who helps people build online businesses, they’re never going to find me. My point is, on Snapchat, at the moment, there is no ability to search for a particular type of content, or a particular type of feed, or a particular celebrity, or chef, or online marketer, none of that. You just can’t search, so the only people who are going to show up on your Snapchat are, number one, people who have been referred there by someone who knows you well enough to take the time to send your snapcode or your exact name, and then convince their friend to search for you to find you. That’s one, or number two, your existing fans and friends, who you say, “Hey, follow me here.”
In other words, if you think about it, the way it’s set up now … I keep saying that, because I know it’s going to change, like probably by the time I finish recording this, but the way it’s set up now, the only people who are viewing my snaps, if you will, are you and people who already know me. I’m not exposing myself to a new audience. In fact, what I’m doing is fragmenting my existing audience and saying, “Hey, why don’t some of you follow me over here,” and I’m doing that by going onto Instagram, or Facebook, or my podcast, or Twitter, and saying, “Hey, Twitter followers, hey, some of my Facebook fans, if you’re on Snapchat, follow me here.” I’m taking people who already know me, I’m not finding new people, per se.
Now, it’s possible to do that, and I’ll talk about that in a moment, but generally speaking, that’s what’s going to happen for most people. Now, the only new people who might be seeing my snaps, my stories, if you will, are those who have heard about them from a friend, and, you know, frankly, it’s a very small percentage, and it’s an even smaller percentage in the demographic that I’m trying to reach. I’m trying to reach people who are in the 25 to 55, of course there’s people younger and people older, but generally speaking, those are the individuals who I’m trying to reach. They are predominantly female, it’s like at least 70% female, they are online business builders, they have a sense of humor, they are serious about work, but they’re also very committed to their priorities and doing things right. I don’t appeal to that “sales, sales, sales, hustle, hustle, hustle” person. I just, I don’t.
I appeal to the person who is looking for some balance, they have enough crazy in their DNA, and they are probably a recovering workaholic, and so that’s who I’m looking for, and, frankly, they are not yet on Snapchat unless they have a teenager at home and they can say, “Okay, show me how to use this.” I’m just joking, but, you know, I’m actually not joking, that’s a majority of the people who are on Snapchat have figured it out from a teenager, or by just going, “I don’t even know what this is or if it’s interesting to me, but I’m going to look.”
Now, what about you? What if you don’t have a huge following, you’re actually trying to build your online business as it is right now? Would I recommend you go on Snapchat? Sure, I think you should go there to get your name, I think you should go there to see what it’s all about, I just urge you not to spend a lot of time on it creating anything, because, frankly, your time is best spent figuring out Facebook ads, or Instagram ads, or developing a better Pinterest strategy.
The deal is, it’s so fun because it’s fun, and it’s funny, and it’s very entertaining, so you’ve got all these crazy filters, and oh my gosh, that can become so addictive, and now suddenly you’re snapping, doing all these Snapchats like all day long, all day long, and you’ve got, I don’t know, if you’re lucky, two hundred, five hundred, let’s just say, go crazy, you have a thousand people viewing your snaps, what if you created like a five-minute killer video on Facebook? I guarantee, even if nobody showed up live, I guarantee by the end of the week, you’d have over a thousand people who actually can click and buy, and better still, you will reach people who don’t already know you, and isn’t that what we’re trying to do? Aren’t we trying to have people find out about our message and what it is we have to offer, because it’s what they’re looking for and they don’t yet know about us?
I mean, ultimately, that’s what 90% of you should be doing, is getting stuff out there to attract people who don’t already know you, and to stop creating content for the same people who are watching over and over and over and over and over again, and they’re just kind of fans of yours, but they’re never going to buy, they’re never going to act, or they’re your competitors, and they’re watching what you do. We need to reach people who don’t yet know about you and who have been searching for someone just like you, with your voice and your style and your personality, and, frankly, you can’t do that on Snapchat. It’s not the place to reach new people, at the moment. Could change.
Okay, so where do you do that? I would recommend you spend more time developing a podcast before I would recommend you developing a Snapchat strategy, like spending time there, per se? Why? Because you can search on podcasts. You can actually search for a type of content, you can put keywords in the descriptions of your titles of each podcast, and any platform, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, iTunes Podcast, any platform, even Pinterest, I love Pinterest, where you can use hashtags and key terms to find people who don’t know you, those platforms build your business.
“Well, Chalene, then why are you on there, and why is so-and-so on there?” I don’t think that you should base your strategy around people who already have a big following. I mean, let’s face it, I’m fortunate enough to have a nice following on all of my social media platforms, there’s millions of people who have bought my exercise DVDs, we’ve served over a half a million entrepreneurs with my business content and academies. That’s a big audience, so I can invite those people over to Snapchat, and they can see another side of me in 10-second snippets. I can make it fun, I can make it entertaining, and I can repurpose it, but I am also very clear in understanding that the people who are watching those snaps are people who already know me. They’re getting to see another side, they’re getting snaps from inside my house, my closet, my kitchen. You know what I mean? So it’s more personal, and how does that benefit me? Well, it’s that intimacy factor.
Let me give you an example. Last weekend, I was at an event in Nashville, Tennessee, for Beachbody’s Coach Summit. I met easily a thousand people. I took photos and talked to fans, and nearly 90% of the people who I met, and this was the first time this has ever happened, it happened a little bit last year, but this year, it was, like, massive. 90% of the people I met said, “I listen to your podcast and I feel like I know you. It’s because of your podcast that I invested in the Marketing Impact Academy. It is because of the things that I learned on Build Your Tribe, and then applied, that I had a level of trust with you. I didn’t even know you taught business, I didn’t even know about your background in business or entrepreneurship, all of which happened before fitness. I didn’t know any of that until I started listening to your podcast, and that gave me the confidence to invest in this program, or that program.”
I know that there is great power in having the ability to connect with people on a more intimate level. That’s powerful, especially when you already have attracted those people, and that’s why Snapchat is working for me to some … I hope, I mean, I don’t know, there’s really no way of truly measuring it. I know it works in podcasts, and I know the concept is similar on Snapchat in terms of serving my existing fanbase. Okay, so soak that in. Snapchat is ideal for serving your existing followers fanbase. It is not the ideal platform to have people find you who don’t know about you.
I mean, unless Buzzfeed is featuring you as the most entertaining Snapchatter of this decade, and if you’re on MSNBC talking about Snapchat, yeah, yeah, of course, people are going to find you who don’t already know about you, but the Gary Vaynerchuks of the world, that’s far and few between, you guys. Even Gary, recently, he actually spoke at the same conference that I was at. He killed it, by the way. Whoo, did he serve up some dish that day. I’ve got to tell you, I was like “oh boy,” I was looking around, like, he was speaking the truth, and people were either receiving it or they had their fingers in their ears, but he was putting it out there hardcore. The only thing I would disagree with him on is how passionate he is about Snapchat, because I think it does work for him, and I think it does work for people like my friend Natalie Jill.
She’s a perfect example of someone who, it really benefits her to be on Snapchat. Here’s why: She has a huge fanbase, so she can invite them over, and when they follow her on Snapchat, they are going to see silly, goofy, funny, sweet, intelligent, loaded with content, super-duper likable, so normal, kids, dogs, you know, a mess on the floor, a husband who’s annoyed by all of this. It’s so real that you’re like, “Oh, I know her, I like her,” and that’s not that easy to do when you are as beautiful and as fit and as seemingly perfect as Natalie can appear when all you’re seeing is her chiseled abs on the front of a DVD cover. This is a way for her to go, “Look, I’m a real person,” and I think it works for her. I think it’s, obviously it works for Gary, but I would disagree with the fact that so many social media leaders are telling everybody to get on Snapchat.
Just, maybe if you want to be working 24/7, but I know you, and you don’t have a lot of extra time, and there’s some social media platforms that are kind of working for you, and if you dug in a little deeper, if you actually interacted with those people, and you built those relationships, and you figured out a better strategy to actually convert followers into customers into lifers, and to figure out what you can do to better understand advertising on YouTube, Facebook ads for as little as pennies per day. I mean, it’s just about, where is your time best spent? We can’t just look at these things from an ego standpoint, like “oh, wow, I’m really funny, people think my snaps are funny.” So what? That doesn’t pay the bills, if it’s the same people who are following you on other platforms and they’re still not buying for you. Gary’s recommendation was to tell everyone to get on Snapchat. I agree, but don’t spend too much time there yet. Wait.
Here’s the other reason why I’m telling you to wait, because you might be thinking, “But then if I wait, won’t it be too late?” No, because at the moment, all of your content disappears. I mean, there’s a way for you to save it, but if you follow me today on Snapchat, which I hope you will, I am chaleneofficial, you won’t see the content I posted on the day that I recorded this, and you won’t see the content that I posted three weeks ago, so it’s not like I’m building up and building up tons and tons of content. I might be building up followers, but, my goodness, you can wait until that opportunity is searchable. That could happen tomorrow, it might not happen for a year, I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet.
The app is also incredibly non-intuitive. You know when you hand your phone to your mom or your dad, and you show them a picture on Instagram, and they try to, like, use their fingertips to spread it wide, which is funny that they even know how to do that, and then they get all flustered, and then it goes back, and then they’re like “oh no,” and then your phone shuts down, and they act like it’s a bomb handing it back to you? That’s kind of how you’re going to feel when you first start using Snapchat. It’s like nothing is intuitive, and I would definitely recommend … In fact, I’ll put a link in the description to our show notes for you to take a look at a couple of quick “how to use Snapchat,” couple of quick guides so you can see how to just get started, and set up your name, and follow a few people like yours truly.
Of course, I’m going to do a follow-up podcast as soon as I think, “Okay, it’s time to start snapping,” but in the meantime, I really do think it is an amazingly fun, cool app that does not serve an entrepreneur who doesn’t yet have a pretty big following. That’s what you need. You need new eyeballs, you need people who don’t know about you to find you, and at the moment, the best place to do that is all the good old standbys, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, I’m going to put Twitter a little bit lower on that list. I think people ignore or don’t realize how easy it is to attract people on Pinterest, and how easy it is from the standpoint of use of your time, because you don’t have to build a community there. You don’t have to interact and engage the way that you really need to on Instagram, or even YouTube, and especially Facebook.
All right. I hope that was helpful to you. I do think all parents need to know what’s happening on Snapchat. It is kind of crazy. I don’t think that most parents know that there’s a feature that allows you to Skype, basically, to go live, video to video, not 10-second videos, but like full-on, live video to video, with another person who is on Snapchat. After they’re done doing whatever they’re doing live on video, that disappears. All of their content disappears after 24 hours. They can record stuff on Snapchat that they don’t want Mom and Dad to see. They can send it to all their friends, and you’ll never see it, Mom and Dad. Even if you have access to their phones, even if you have access to their accounts and you log back in, by the time you log back in, it’s gone, and it’s already out there. You can’t find it, but if somebody who it was sent to decided to screenshot it or record it with another phone pointing at their phone, which has happened, then it’s out there for the world to see.
Snapchat is very popular amongst the kids because it’s hard for parents to use. It’s not intuitive. Snapchat is popular with a younger demographic because they don’t want to be searched, they don’t want to be found, so it’s really been serving them up to this point. Of course, all the social media marketers, we’re all going to show up and ruin it for everybody, and then all the kids will leave and be on to the next app, but at the moment, it’s kind of built for them. It’s built for a little bit of privacy, it’s built because they know we wouldn’t like it, because our content disappears. We’re like, “Well, how do I maximize my conversions by making sure that this content lives on?” They just want it to disappear.
I witnessed … Oh, gosh. Well, okay, I guess now I’ll just tell you. I had a fake Snapchat account for about a year under the name “katiestrong99.” Oh, and don’t even sit there listening, judging me, because y’all need to know what you don’t know, you see. I trust my kids, but they’re ninjas, and all of their little friends are ninjas too, and I need to know which one of those ninjas were deadly ninjas, so katiestrong99 followed all of the kids at my kid’s high school on Snapchat, and oh, lordy, lordy, lordy. Lordy, lordy. Like, I can’t even. I can’t even. Now, these weren’t always kids that were in my children’s tight circle of friends, but I’m like, “Oh, that girl. Mm-hmm.” I see her, and it would be content that they’re recording from school, that you’re like, “Are you kidding me? This is illegal! Crazy!” And it would disappear.
That’s what happened, and then I uninstalled the app and went to go reinstall it, and karma bit me in the butt, and for some reason, suddenly Katie Strong’s name showed up as Chalene Johnson, and I got text messages from both my kids like “Mom, are you on Snapchat?” So the jig was up. I panicked and I deleted that account, just so that there would be no evidence in case all of my kids’ friends were to, I don’t know, come to my house with pitchforks and fire. I deleted the account, and now, that’s why I’m chaleneofficial. There you go, there’s the embarrassing story.
Nonetheless, let me tell you, even the good kids, even the ones where I’m like, “I am not seeing this, this is not happening,” I was shocked, and some of the parents need to know. At a minimum, you need to know what is possible on these apps, and does your kid need it, right, and how old are they, and what are they being exposed to, and … It’s a scary world. I can’t even open up that can of worms, but it’s scary. Think about the things our kids are being exposed to just because … I was going to say “because they have phones” … I’m really on a tangent now, aren’t I, but I mean, just look at prime time TV. I mean, prime time TV, some of the content, I see it and I think to myself, “When I was growing up, this would have qualified as a rated R movie.” Call me a prude, but it does scare me.
Okay, so now the decision is yours. I would love to hear from you. What do you think? Are you using Snapchat? Does it sound like it’s the right platform for you? Where is your time best spent? And let’s set up some accountability. Why don’t you leave me a comment on my last Instagram post, under, and Instagram, that would be chalenejohnson, and let me know what you’ve decided. Have you decided to go deep into Snapchat, or was this a wake-up call, and you realize you are already really well-established on Facebook, it is time to figure out how to run Facebook ads that convert for you, or YoUTube ads, or Instagram ads. Use the hashtag #snapdecision, and then let me know what you’ve decided. It’s virtual accountability. I’ll be looking for your comments on my Instagram.
Thank you so much for your patience, your understanding, and, one more thing, don’t forget to go listen to the Chalene Show episode of me taking my kid back to college. I think it’s called “Honor Your Priorities.” Yeah. Anyways, I love you guys, and you’re the bomb, and you’re amazing. It’s my goal to be brief, to be bright, to make it fun, and then be done. Until next time, we’re done! I love you guys. Talk to you soon.
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