Initially called Picaboo, Snapchat was founded by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, who were students at Stanford at the time.
In 2020, Snapchat grew to become a social media giant with over 100,000,000 daily active users & $10b+ revenue. While this is applaudable, there are 4 business lessons entrepreneurs and business owners can learn from their strategy.
- Great Positioning
Unlike most social media platforms, Snapchat attacks conventional wisdom and proposes a radically different alternative – that what you share online doesn’t have to be permanent.
Also, instead of getting people to start uploading pictures all over again to their platform( when Facebook and Instagram would already have sufficed), Snapchat made it easy and accessible to send pictures one on one to your friends.
The interaction feels simple, different, ‘natural’.
Business Lesson – Stop trying to reinvent the wheels in your industry, embrace innovation and creativity
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2. Strong ‘viral loop’
This was created from creating the social obligation to reply to one-to-one communications
This is a great point observed by Ryan Hoover.
Because Snapchat requires users to select who you send messages to, and doesn’t let you know if the message you’ve received is just for you, every message you receive feels like it was meant just for you. This creates a perceived pressure to reciprocate.
So there’s a strong ‘viral loop’ in the product– Snapchat users feel like they’re receiving personal messages, and that they’re obliged to respond.
This makes the app very addictive.
Business Lesson – Ensure your business appeals to people’s fundamental social needs. The urge to reciprocate is a strongly established human tendency.
3. Great Content:
‘Our Story’ takes user-generated content and packages it into novel, interesting interactions, stated Spiegel.
Every day, Snapchat shares “stories” from around the world.
These stories are compilations of everyday Snapchat users’ Snaps from a particular region. You might see Mumbai, Moscow or Mecca through the eyes of dozens of locals, as they share their daily lives.
It’s a really compelling insight into what’s going on in the world, and it feels much more interesting and unscripted than ‘regular’ media. And you never quite know what to expect tomorrow, so you log in again.
Business Lesson – Every business has a compelling story to tell that will keep people hooked to your brand, find that story for your business, and tell it with style.
4. Snapchat earned legitimacy and cool among its early adopters with its quirky style.
The App’s mascot is called “Ghostface Chillah”, which is cheekily derived from Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan.
Snapchat doesn’t try to be easily accessible to everybody. Instead, it appeals to insiders. While the app itself is technically easy to use, the precise use-case has a bit of a learning curve
Business Lesson – Know Your Audience. The best way to do that, of course, is to make something that you yourself really, really want.