Snapchat is evolving. What started as a photo-sharing app is turning into a content destination for a young and engaged audience. This coveted audience is attracting brands to the platform, and incubating new talent. The challenge, however, is building a following on a network largely known for its ephemerality.
It’s not just the short lifecycle of Snapchat content that makes building a following so challenging. Snapchat is a closed system in a couple ways:
It’s a mobile app and you can only access content via mobile device
Unlike open systems like Instagram, you can’t see Snaps unless you’re on Snapchat.
At least that was the case until smart creatives started cross-promoting. Some of Snapchat’s emerging influencers are also present on other social media channels. So while the platform is exclusive, longevity and follower growth requires promotion to communities outside of Snapchat.
In a profile of some of the first Snapchat influencers, Time contributor Laura Stampler noted this irony of being both exclusive and dependent on other networks for growth:
Snapchat celebrity: It depends on screengrabs from other social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. .. [Molly] Mitchell gained brief Snapchat celebrity after she created an Instagram account chronicling the Snapchats she sent her friends of her relationship with her boyfriend.
For the young digital creative Brent Rivera, who started out making YouTube videos and achieved social media stardom on Vine, Snapchat is one of his most frequently used platforms because “it just requires more daily activity.”
Still, Rivera said he grows his Snapchat audience through cross promotion. While Facebook and Vine are where he gains the most followers, he does try to get new followers to connect with him on Snapchat and other social profiles.
And it goes both ways: If he posts a YouTube video, he promotes that video with his Twitter and Snapchat audiences. But the first step is getting those subscribers to make the leap from Facebook or Vine
“Once you get them off of Vine or off of Facebook, the other platforms are really easy to connect [people] to,” Rivera says.
The article originally appears in Social Times.