social media for businessRecently two new social media, featuring content for 10 seconds or less, have been dominating app downloads and the free time of people under 30 years old. Maybe it’s a sign of the times, but Snapchat and Vine cater to the young market’s need to read less. We all have short attention spans and want to consume media as quickly as possible.

While some brands have immediately jumped on Vine for marketing, Snapchat has been slower to catch on. Snapchat launched in September 2011 but really became popular within the last year. Everyone could see it was catching on with a young crowd but among marketing blogs it was labeled “advertising-impossible.” We heard statements like, ‘How can you market to someone when they can only see what they actually WANT to for less than 10 seconds?’ The problem was that people were thinking in terms of in-app banners and pop-ups. However, really innovative marketers can think outside the box and come up with something truly memorable.

Take 16 Handles, for example. An east coast-based fro-yo company created a completely out-of-the-box campaign in which users sent a “snap” of their frozen treat (in January, no less) to a specified Snapchat handle and were sent back an image that they opened at the register. It contained a coupon for a discount.

16 Handles reportedly exchanged 1,400 snaps during the campaign and their business had their busiest week for social media sites to date.

Their willingness to see the potential in a largely ‘un-marketable’ media paid off. 16 Handles was recognized as an authority on inventive marketing. If you search for Snapchat marketing case studies, they’re the only ones out there.

The moral of the story here is that the combination of inventive marketers and new media (that is not necessarily “designed for advertising”) does not have to end in disaster. Never discount a platform just because you can’t think of a way to reach your target effectively. Keep thinking, because if you don’t, someone else will.

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