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How to market on Snapchat when brands are signing up but getting nowhere

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Brands are hearing the call to sign up for Snapchat, but most are already dormant (aka failed). What is so different about this environment?




You’re here, now what?

Surprise, surprise, tons of brands are grabbing up Snapchat accounts then doing absolutely nothing with them. Although Snapchat is at the forefront of brand adoption, most branded accounts are abandoned pretty quickly.

According to eMarketer, 90 percent of active wear brands, 78 percent of beauty and fashion brands, and around two-thirds of retail, watch, and jewelry brands had Snapchat accounts as of September 2016. However, only 70 percent of those remained active after the initial sign up. Why such an abysmal attendance rate?

Snapchat is the new frontier

It is a wild west of marketing where although anything can go, not everything sticks. And honestly, I’m down for brands who just don’t get it to get out of town. This Snap Story isn’t big enough for the two of us. Especially not if the presence is forced.

For a brand to succeed on Snapchat, they need to understand the medium. Snapchat is a more personal media than Facebook or Twitter in some regards.Click To Tweet

Although its evolution has allowed for hours of endless scrolling and neurotic checking of friend’s posts, Snapchat remains the most immediate of social media. I can provide real time updates to friends in microsessions, sending slice of life clips in a way that is more intuitive than Periscope or other live video sharing.

Personally, I don’t want branded content popping up when I’m trying to show my brother how cute our cat is sleeping. My Snapchat experiences with brands are mostly inorganic. They are a forced presence that often signifies a lack of understanding for how and why users choose the platform.

If you advertise to me on Snapchat, I am not interested. If you engage me though, I’ll listen. Maybe.

How some brands have garnered attention

Some brands have had success with featured stories, an aspect of Snapchat that has quickly evolved. Initially, Snapchat offered a dozen or so brands like Cosmo, Vice, and CNN a place in the Discover tab.

Now, Discover features over 30 different brands, ranging from lifestyle to sports, established news publications, trending music, and magazines.

Instead of showing up as featured ads like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, brands on Snapchat offer users the illusion of choice. If I don’t want to see branded content, I simply don’t venture over to the Discover tab. But if I’m camping out in bed because it’s cold, I might find myself flipping through MTV or the Food Network’s stories for the day.

Creating a brand presence on Snapchat is tricky

Marketers need to figure out how to stake out a name for themselves without forcing their way in. If I’m on Snapchat, I expect the focus to be on me and my friends. When brands understand this, I’m fine with it. I might even share some of their content via Snapchat.

But brands that can’t figure out the intimate culture of Snapchat? I’m totally fine with the bones of their accounts rotting in the metaphorical desert.


Lindsay is an editor for The American Genius with a Communication Studies degree and English minor from Southwestern University. Lindsay is interested in social interactions across and through various media, particularly television, and will gladly hyper-analyze cartoons and comics with anyone, cats included.

Social Media

Zillow launches real estate brokerage after eons of swearing they wouldn’t

(MEDIA) We’ve warned of this for years, the industry funded it, and Zillow Homes brokerage has launched, and there are serious questions at hand.



zillow group

Zillow Homes was announced today, a Zillow licensed brokerage that will be fully operational in 2021 in Phoenix, Tucson, and Atlanta.

Whoa, big huge yawn-inducing shocker, y’all.

We’ve been warning for more than a decade that this was the end game, and the company blackballed us for our screams (and other criticisms, despite praise when merited here and there).

Blog posts were penned in fiery effigy calling naysayers like us stupid and paranoid.

Well color me unsurprised that the clarity of the gameplan was clear as day all along over here, and the paid talking heads sent out to astroturf, gaslight, and threaten us are now all quiet.

Continue reading…

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Social Media

We watched The Social Dilemma – here are some social media tips that stuck with us

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Here are some takeaways from watching Netflix’s The Social Dilemma that helped me to eliminate some social media burnout.



Neon social media like heart with a 0

Last weekend, I made the risky decision to watch The Social Dilemma on Netflix. I knew it was an important thing to watch, but the risk was that I also knew it would wig me out a bit. As much as I’m someone who is active “online,” the concept of social media overwhelms me almost more than it entertains (or enlightens) me.

The constant sharing of information, the accessibility to information, and the endless barrage of notifications are just a few of the ways social media can cause overwhelm. The documentary went in deeper than this surface-level content and got into the nitty gritty of how people behind the scenes use your data and track your usage.

Former employees of high-profile platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, and Pinterest gave their two cents on the dangers of social media from a technological standpoint. Basically, our data isn’t just being tracked to be passed along for newsletters and the like. But rather, humans are seen as products that are manipulated to buy and click all day every day in order to make others money and perpetuate information that has astronomical effects. (I’m not nearly as intelligent as these people, so watch the documentary to get the in-depth look at how all of this operates.)

One of the major elements that stuck with me was the end credits of The Social Dilemma where they asked interviewees about the ways they are working to eliminate social media overwhelm in their own lives. Some of these I’ve implemented myself and can attest to. Here’s a short list of things you can do to keep from burning out online.

  1. Turn off notifications – unless there are things you need to know about immediately (texts, emails, etc.) turn it off. Getting 100 individual notifications within an hour from those who liked your Instagram post will do nothing but burn you (and your battery) out.
  2. Know how to use these technologies to change the conversation and not perpetuate things like “fake news” and clickbait.
  3. Uninstall apps that are wasting your time. If you feel yourself wasting hours per week mindlessly scrolling through Facebook but not actually using it, consider deleting the app and only checking the site from a desktop or Internet browser.
  4. Research and consider using other search tools instead of Google (one interviewee mentioned that Qwant specifically does not collect/store your information the way Google does).
  5. Don’t perpetuate by watching recommended videos on YouTube, those are tailored to try and sway or sell you things. Pick your own content.
  6. Research the many extensions that remove these recommendations and help stop the collection of your data.

At the end of the day, just be mindful of how you’re using social media and what you’re sharing – not just about yourself, but the information you’re passing along from and to others. Do your part to make sure what you are sharing is accurate and useful in this conversation.

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Social Media

WeChat ban blocked by California judge, but for how long?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) WeChat is protected by First Amendment concerns for now, but it’s unclear how long the app will remain as pressure mounts.



WeChat app icon on an iPhone screen

WeChat barely avoided a US ban after a Californian judge stepped in to temporarily block President Trump’s executive order. Judge Laurel Beeler cited the effects of the ban on US-based WeChat users and how it threatened the First Amendment rights of those users.

“The plaintiffs’ evidence reflects that WeChat is effectively the only means of communication for many in the community, not only because China bans other apps, but also because Chinese speakers with limited English proficiency have no options other than WeChat,” Beeler wrote.

WeChat is a Chinese instant messaging and social media/mobile transaction app with over 1 billion active monthly users. The WeChat Alliance, a group of users who filed the lawsuit in August, pointed out that the ban unfairly targets Chinese-Americans as it’s the primary app used by the demographic to communicate with loved ones, engage in political discussions, and receive news.

The app, along with TikTok, has come under fire as a means for China to collect data on its users. U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has stated, “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.”

This example is yet another symptom of our ever-globalizing society where we are learning to navigate between connectivity and privacy. The plaintiffs also pointed out alternatives to an outright ban. One example cited was in Australia, where WeChat is now banned from government officials’ phones but not others.

Beeler has said that the range in alternatives to preserving national security affected her decision to strike down the ban. She also explained that in regards to dealing with national security, there is “scant little evidence that (the Commerce Department’s) effective ban of WeChat for all US users addresses those concerns.”

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