Recently in New Zealand, a story about a politician that was using Snapchatin a somewhat unconventional way made headlines and the general consensus seemed to be that MP Chris Bishop is a bit of a creep, and he’s since acknowledged concerns and adjusted his strategy.

Sure, he made a judgement call that crossed some lines, but at the same time he was doing something none of his peers were even considering — attempting a new platform for communicating with his constituents.

I don’t agree at all with the way he attempted this expansion of his campaign marketing, but I do feel there is a lesson to learn here, and that lesson is notfor politicians, businesses and brands to stay off of new, emerging social platforms.

Every social network is a niche, with a specific audience that communicate in a very specific way.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to social media marketing. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing anymore. You can’t afford to take the shotgun approach to your marketing and think that whoever spends the most wins. The game has changed — the new currency is attention, and there are a variety of denominations as well.

Social State Of Mind

When people go to social media, they’re not all in the same headspace. You have people on Facebook who just want to catch up with family, friends and memes.

On Snapchat people are sharing relatively intimate, pictures and short-form video bites of their lives.

The point I’m getting at is that people are in a different state of mind when they visit different places on the internet. They have a purpose, and that purpose is what sets the tone for your interactions.

You have to understand your audience to be able to engage them effectively.

Tips for Safe Snapping

OK, so you’re a local politician or business who wants to get on Snapchat and engage with the next generation of voters/customers. Here are some tips and ideas for using Snapchat effectively to market you business or personal brand.

1. Stick with Stories & Ads

Both stories and ads are are indirect, and a great way to get your message across.

DO: Use stories. Be creative. Show us you are human and eat at McDonald’s.

DON’T: Send anyone, anything directly or unsolicited… or both.

2. Focus on Your Business/Area/Issues

Show your campaign staff encouraging younger voters to enrol to vote. Show what a day in your life is like. Have a tour of the cool parts of the office. Answer the burning questions people have like “are you allowed dogs at The Beehive?”. Show the field-trip kids doing a tour of the beehive.

Remember to engage with the people. On Snapchat the people happen to be younger. They want light content. They don’t all care about the intricacies of how a bill is passed into law (yet).

DO: Tell people whether you are allowed dogs at The Beehive.

DON’T: Show us the cupboard under the stairs where you hide Stephen Joyce and his “$11b hole”.

3. Avoid Inappropriate Selfies

This kind of goes without saying if you have a bit of a face for radio, but avoid the selfies unless they directly relative to #2. If you’re not sure if it’s creepy, it’s creepy.

DO: Take a selfie of you riding a chair to the water cooler if it fits your business’ image.

DON’T: Take a TGIF selfie where you are blind drunk hitting on a stranger.

4. Host a Takeover

Find a responsible young constituent or student through one of the many student-run groups that interact with local business and politicians, and give them the opportunity to run your account for the day or week.

It’s an excellent way to engage with a younger demographic, it builds trust and it’s a fantastic way to generate new content.

DO: Choose someone you can trust with your reputation and that has a genuine interest in your business.

DON’T: Wing it.

5. Make a Filter

Filters are a great way for people to share their support for a cause, and a well designed one in the right hands may even go viral. Take the time to engage with the kids and young adults at ground zero and maybe even have a competition to pick the best design.

DO: Design something meaningful that will resonate with the right demographic.

DON’T: Make it lame/cheesy. There is a fine line between effective viral campaign and becoming the next meme.

About The Author

Drian Naude

Technical Director at Bitlab. Drian writes about engineering, management and a little design.

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