With more daily users than Twitter, Snapchat has pushed its way on to the screens and strategies of influencers and marketers as quick as a food blogger (or celebrity or third grader) can vomit rainbows.
Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey acknowledged that the new kid on the social scene is "very modern" and said that his team is addressing how alienating and confusing his own platform can be. The functionality of Snapchat, a group of influencers recently told WOMMA at a Wine Wednesday panel hosted by member 360i, isn't exactly simple or intuitive. Still, these four panelists, and crowds of others whose social presence and income depends on sponsored campaigns and brand relationships, worked through the challenges to make a place on Snapchat.
"SnapChat is dead to me," photographer John Stoffer said definitively. Why? It's as plain as this to the influencer who most recently partnered with Kohler to renovate his family kitchen: Instagram Stories.
Launching Snapchat-like filters and video confirmed for Stoffer that he needs to be where his audience already is. And that audience of 63,000 fans is on Instagram.
Stoffer's declaration was quickly countered by a "Noooo it's not!" interruption by Sian-Pierre Regis, the founder and editor-in-chief of Swagger New York.
"Stories is exciting because we already have audiences there," Nicole Balch of Making It Lovely chimed in. And just like that -- in a snap -- the conversation turned to paid engagement on platforms and how the influencers choose to use or avoid the options to pay for play when doing brand work.
But the question itself will keep be asked and answered: Which platform will win out with influencer campaigns -- #snapvsstories?
Even Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom says Snapchat "deserves all the credit."
He doesn't stop there (and doesn't refrain from giving credit to the company he sold to Facebook for a reported near-billion dollars, either).
"When you are an innovator, that’s awesome. Just like Instagram deserves all the credit for bringing filters to the forefront. This isn’t about who invented something. This is about a format, and how you take it to a network and put your own spin on it," Systrom told TechCrunch. "You can’t just recreate another product. But you can say ‘what’s really awesome about a format? And does it apply to our network?'"
Similarly, influencers may now be asking how can a new format or product apply to their own network, and how might they use it to put a spin on their own narrative, authentically reach the audience they have, and beyond that.
While Snapchat's 18-24-year old audience is double (or more) of any other major social media platform, all other age categories are pretty equal among users. Maybe younger influencers and those coming up will see a very different picture, sticking with the network they get, know and where their peers are happily at home. If other (older or established) influencers are challenged to master functionality they don't find intuitive or useful, and if they already can count on the number of fans and followers elsewhere, it's no surprise that they'd move on from the doggie-face filters and disappearing videos one place to use their new skills in more familiar (and friendly) territory. But if being an influencer also means being quick, adept and ever-adapting, then may Snapchat really is here to say for a segment of paid content creators and publishers.
What about for marketers? Will be just as divided as our influencers on whether campaigns should live on Snapchat or Instagram Stories? Or will they trust influencers they work with to choose the platform they read works best?
While both Snapchat and Stories exist, where will we see brand integration filtered through the most seamlessly and successfully? We shall see -- at least for 24 hours.
Tell us whether you think Stories just killed Snapchat for marketers and influencers, or if one or both are here to stay.
Watch the full panel "Influencers Selling a Lifestyle," here, streamed on Facebook Live.
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