Disappearing messages in 10 seconds or less?


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.

Facebook's Poke App

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?

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5 Responses to Disappearing messages in 10 seconds or less?

  1. Kayla Pologa says:

    As much as public relations is about staying at the forefront, and even sometimes ahead of the latest trends for a client, I honestly can’t see how SnapChat or Poke can be a conducive tool. Sure social media has been successful, but really these apps seem to be only for personal and social use.

    I see these tools being more detrimental than helpful in the world of PR. Just look at the world of Twitter, one accidental risque picture leaked and a full-blown crisis lands in a PR team’s lap.

    Though these apps are the latest fad in social media, that doesn’t mean PR should jump on the bandwagon.

  2. Kelsey Pfeffer says:

    Interesting post! Snap Chat and Poke would be great marketing platforms for companies that are not afraid to associate their brand with sexuality. However, in general I think PR practitioners need to focus on other ways of interacting with their target audience. This app is used as a tool for tech-savvy young adults to communicate with their friends, and I don’t think they would respond well to promotions from big name companies on this medium.

  3. Danielle Chavez says:

    Because SnapChat’s content is so temporary, I can’t see it being used as a public relations tool. There isn’t any real interaction between users other than between the person sending a SnapChat and the person receiving one. This means even if a company received thousands of SnapChats, no one would ever know. This defeats the purpose of using social media in the first place.

  4. Devon Shaw says:

    I think SnapChat or Poke could definitely be an interesting marketing tool for companies to utilize. Companies could send disappearing pictures with coupon codes or challenges to create a little competition for redeeming deals. The lingerie store’s use of Poke was absolutely genius and entirely appropriate. However, I think that 16 Handles, the ice cream store, using SnapChat or Poke to market their typically child-directed product is a little inappropriate due to the app’s association with sexting.

  5. Clare Hahne says:

    Where Snap Chat is a clever way for friends to interact with one another, I cannot help but think that the stigma of other purposes of the app may cause some to overlook it. It could be used as an innovative way to interact with customers and stakeholders. Another thing to consider is who the primary users of it are. Does the app really appeal to an older audience? If so, the sky could be the limit with ways for companies to reach their audience.

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