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Want to reach a young audience? Snapchat might be the next big thing.



SnapchatWhen you’re a marketer, it’s up to you to find out where the people are so you can reach them with your message. It was the newspaper, then radio, then TV, the internet and now social media – especially the mobile kind. If you’re trying to reach potential customers under the age of 30, then it’s an even tougher job because by the time you discover the next big thing. . . it isn’t anymore.

Here’s my tip of the day: Snapchat.

Snapchat is a mobile messaging app with one very unusual feature. Unless one party takes a screengrab, the text and images disappear when you’re done chatting.

Perfect for teens with parents who routinely check their text logs or unfaithful partners worried about getting caught.

It’s also useful for prolific chatters who simply don’t want to spend precious time deleting all that old data from their phones.

Last week, Snapchat added video to the service and seriously, there’s no stopping them now. With a quick swipe, you can connect with your friends face-to-virtual-face. You can ask them to choose a box of cereal while you’re doing the grocery shopping or show off your new puppy or line-up your phone just right so you can see if those her drapes would work in your house. The possibilities are endless!

And that’s why brands want in. Look what Taco Bell sent out via Twitter last week:

According to TechCrunch, this sets the scene for a very interesting ad option. Brands can send snaps to anyone who friends them (kind of like Facebook used to do!) but Snapchat can send snaps to everyone on the system. Imagine if a brand paid the bucks to send a delightfully hilarious snap to every user. Done right and kept to a minimum, it could work. Users will likely tolerate a certain amount of branded messaging as long as it’s on-point and not overwhelming. And to reach this particular audience – ages 13 to 25 – oh my what companies would pay. . .

Now that there’s a video option, more trendy, youth-oriented companies are coming up with new ways to reach out through the app. Think instant fashion shows, office walk-throughs, community manager Q & A sessions – it’s good stuff.

If you’re thinking about joining the Snapchat community, may I suggest one thing – get yourself a young graphics person who understands the audience. A 13 year-old can spot a phony in less time than it takes for your Snapchat photo to disappear.