Should we be looking at Snapchat as a PR tool?
Snapchat is an app-based service that allows its users to send messages that delete themselves after 10 seconds or less. The time period before the photo self-destructs is up to the sender. The application launched in September 2011 and by October 2012, one billion photos were shared using the service. Riding on the momentum of Snapchat, Facebook launched a similar self-destructing messaging app called Poke.
According to PR Newser and Ad Age, frozen yogurt shop 16 Handles and lingerie company Delta Lingerie have been able to utilize the two services. Delta Lingerie used the application Poke to send a racy video of a model trying on the company’s lingerie and 16 Handles sent coupons to users who entered the company’s Snapchat challenge. Delta Lingerie received free media coverage and 16 Handles received more than 1,400 photos from customers.
Yet, services like Snapchat have become synonymous with teenagers sexting each other with photos that cannot be traced to them. Ad Age warns marketers that there is a certain stigma attached to impermanent messaging applications.
“Marketers using these channels risk being too closely associated with sexting, sending sexually explicit photos via smartphones. Snapchat and Poke are seemingly designed for users to securely send sexual messages to one another.”
The audiences for apps such as Snapchat is growing but is it something PR practitioners should utilize? Outside of coupon sending and risqué advertisements where do we find true value for these services?