If you’re a social media professional, chances are you’ve been thinking about Snapchat for a while. The platform is 🔥. Celebrities and influencers are all over it. All the cool brands are building channels. But does it make sense for your business?
We have a lot of fun at Hootsuite, but at our core we’re B2B marketers, laser-focused on helping businesses succeed with social media and telling stories about the awesome things social marketers do. Without the ability to attribute results directly from Snapchat, it’s been tough for us to prioritize spending time there, or to allocate resources to building the channel. But we knew we had to get going. We had to to make the business case, and get buy-in from Hootsuite’s marketing leadership. It was time for… the executive pitch. Wondering how to pitch Snapchat to your boss? Here’s how we made our case:
1. Pitch the channel first
Before we could get executive signoff for Hootsuite’s Snapchat channel, we had to get buy-in for Snapchat itself as a marketing platform. Despite the buzz, it’s not immediately clear to non-users how content is delivered and consumed, or at what scale people are logging in and engaging with brands.
To make a case for the value of Snapchat you need two things: An emotional hook and supporting statistics. In our case, Hootsuite takes social video seriously, and that value is well understood at all levels. Building on that foundation, we titled our pitch presentation: “Snapchat: The Future of Social Video,” a statement which immediately grabbed attention and evoked emotional reaction. Then we followed up with supporting statistics to drive the point home. Specifically, these three:
- Snapchat users watch 7 billion videos per day and upload 8,800 photos per second
- Snapchat is catching Facebook in social video volume (Facebook reports around 8 billion views daily)
- More than 100 million people use Snapchat every day
Whoa. Now we had their attention. On to step two.
2. Find your company’s ‘why’
Once we’d shown that Snapchat matters, it was time to make the case for why it matters to us. Sure, it’s big, it’s huge. But why should Hootsuite be on there?
Job one was to define our audience. It’s important to be clear about who you’re talking to on any social platform, but Snapchat in particular requires crystal-clarity to dispel the myth that the platform is “just for teenagers” or “ only used by millennials.” We started by relating the channel strategy to our customer personas: social media professionals in organizations ranging from tiny (one-person agencies and solopreneurs) to massive (Fortune 1,000 brands that trust Hootsuite). These social professionals are evangelists and early adopters—quick to jump on new platforms and figure out how to leverage them. These are our people and they’re on Snapchat. With our audience defined, Snapchat’s role becomes clear, a channel to connect with our customers, prospects, and community where they already are.
If you already have customer personas developed—awesome! You’re ahead of the game. Work to relate the audience statement in your Snapchat strategy to those personas, or to a persona segment. For those who haven’t yet built customer personas, take a few minutes to develop an audience statement that clarifies specifically which types of people you’re trying to reach with Snapchat. Pro tip: use your social media data to get started.
Once you know who you’re talking to, the second part of the “why” informs your content strategy, and will help set your direction for the channel. Hootsuite’s “why” for Snapchat is simple: We’re there to inspire, educate, and engage our community with social media storytelling. These guiding principles form the foundation of our evolving content strategy. They’ll help us choose what we snap, how and when we snap it, and how we engage with our Friends.
Note that this part of the “why” is concise and simple. Content strategy flows from this guiding principle, not the other way around. It’s also very clear for an executive audience. So when your CMO asks your Director “Why are we on Snapchat again?” they’ll be able to easily speak to the high-level business value of the platform. That’s a win for both of you.
3. Map the journey to success
Any good strategy clearly articulates the major 🔑s on your journey to success. How will you measure your progress? What metrics will you look at? How will you capture insights?
With Snapchat in its infancy as a brand platform, this isn’t an easy thing to do. Unless you’re making a media buy with Snapchat to place content in the “Discover” feed or creating branded engagement options (like Gatorade did during the Super Bowl), it’s tough to get much from the platform in the way of analytics. Unfortunately when you’re pitching your boss, you’ll have a tough time making a compelling business case from “metrics are hard to get so we just won’t measure this.” You need to have something to show for your efforts.
There are two key (free) metrics you can get from Snapchat: Story Views and Friends. For the purposes of our pitch, we tweaked the language for consistency with our other social media platforms, referring to them as “Video Views” instead of “Story Views” and “Followers” instead of “Friends”. These words are well-understood and build clarity through familiarity, allowing us to easily equate the value of these metrics to the same types of numbers we report for our other social channels. That consistency is super important when making the case for impact.
The qualitative side of success matters as well. For smart social marketers, it’s not just about the numbers but about storytelling and engagement. While that idea isn’t new, how it’s done with Snapchat isn’t immediately clear unless you experience it yourself. We found that including examples of branded Snapchat Stories in our pitch (shoutout to Callaway Golf, lululemon, and Warby Parker for the screenshots) helped us paint a compelling picture of what’s possible with the platform—branded stories that are truly immersive, engaging, and memorable.
4. Be prepared for the “Yes!”
If you’ve done your homework and built a strong business case, there’s a good chance you’re going to get the thumbs-up. Congrats—you did it! Now make sure you’re prepared to speak about next steps.
An appendix to your pitch should be a project plan, with a proposed timeline. Include what you’ll need to get started, outline who’s going to be involved, and demonstrate how you’re going to build traction for the new channel. Our appendix included our proposed launch date (today!), a project plan with stakeholders and dependencies, and a promo plan outlining how we would tell our friends about the new channel (write a blog post.. check). It doesn’t need to be exhaustive, but make sure you can answer the “Now what?” question in an effective way.
Now it’s all about trying new things and testing, zeroing in on what resonates with your audience. This is when social gets fun, when you start to engage with your audience on the world’s hottest channel. We’ll see you on the journey to success. Bless up 🙏
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