Whilst the most prominent home for today’s influencers is Instagram, it is worth discussing if Snapchat does have a place in the influencer world. Its metrics and analytics are the perfect formula for a messaging platform, rather than a network to discover. You can’t access other Snapchatters outside of those you add/those few on the discover page, so it reduces exposure for influencers and the followers who want to find them. In which case, if you are going to influence on Snap, you have to step away from algorithms and discover pages, and into eWOM.
The middle ground between user and influencer isn’t there, and it’s difficult to build support without it. However, the key ways to build traction are WOM across your current follower base, and promoting your Snapchat channel through other, more findable, mediums (e.g. Instagram). To skip this difficult growing stage, collaborating with high-profile celebrities can be an easier way to build that sought-after traction. For example, in October 2018, Logan Paul worked with Sour Patch Kids for five days on their Snapchat channel doing pranks. This gained the Sour Patch Kids Snapchat account 120,000 new followers.
Writing this reminded me of an experience I had when I was younger! I thought it might be worth sharing.
In high school, I was on a very strict gym and eating routine. To help me get into this routine, I turned to Youtube and I started subscribing to professional athletes and fitness vloggers. After watching endless amounts of Youtube content, I would say I learnt a lot about health, nutrition, and numerous different workouts, but most importantly I learnt how to speak and act like a vlogger...well, I like to think that I did!
After watching a vlog, I would do two things. First, I would read through the comments of the vlog, because I loved to see how the vloggers impacted their fans; the majority of the fans would write long and meaningful thank you messages saying how much of an impact the vlogger made in their lives and how they had inspired them to start living a healthier lifestyle. The second thing I loved doing was quoting the vloggers that I watched, however it didn't bring me great satisfaction just quoting them as a joke to my friends, or even to my older sister when I felt like annoying her. I wanted to quote my favorite vloggers with meaning behind it! After a lot of thinking, I finally thought of a solution to my problem. With this solution I would have an excuse to quote the vloggers I watched… Snapchat! My plan was to simply treat all my contacts on Snapchat as if they were my “fans” and see how it goes.
Each day before going to the gym I prepared my pre-workout snack, which consisted of an elegantly made tuna salad: diced tomato, lettuce, cucumber and tuna, dressed with freshly squeezed lemon juice. This was washed down with a double scoop of a pre-workout powder mixed with water, which was called ‘Bonecrusher’. A double scoop of this pre-workout mix contained 280mg of caffeine...which is twice as much caffeine as a can of Redbull. The mix would literally make my skin ‘itch & crawl’ for a couple of hours! Needless to say, when my mother found an empty container of the mix in my room along with my creatine powder, she was not happy and I had A LOT of explaining to do. But that is a story for another day!
After my pre-workout prep, I would be hyped and ready for the gym. One day with far too much caffeine and hype running through my bloodstream, I decided that it was my time to shine. So, I pulled out my phone and started recording myself on Snapchat. Of course my opening sentence was “What's good guys…you know who it is...it's your boi Gotty!” (yes I did give myself a nickname on the spot). I then explained to my ”fans” what I did as my pre-workout prep, and what I was going to do for the workout itself. I made sure that I used as many of the quotes and catchphrases that the guys on YouTube used. I remember re-watching my first attempt at a vlog over and over again while I was walking towards the door to leave for the gym.
I thought to myself that if I laughed while watching myself trying to be a vlogger, surely other people would laugh too. Right?
Afterward, I decided to share my short vlog with my entire contact list. During this time Snapchat was very popular and everyone seemed to be using it. I had over 200 friends on it, including people I barely knew. After hitting ‘send’, a streak of excitement ran through my body - or it may have just been the ‘Bonecrusher’ pre-workout playing games with me. I think I was genuinely just excited to see everyone's reaction to my first vlog.
And guess what...people seemed to actually enjoy my mockery of a vlog! Boys in my year would come to me asking for workout programs, diet plans, and to invite me to a gym session with them.
After my short ride on the micro-influencer wave (about 3 weeks) I realised how attainable it actually was to become a micro-influencer. Whilst I had no desire to actually create an audience with my vlogs, I managed to. Even though I wasn't even taking myself seriously and my audience even knew that. I always think to myself what would've happened if I had put more effort into my vlogs, and used a social media platform where I had more friends/followers such as Instagram or Facebook. However, I liked the idea of being “micro” and just sending my vlogs to the couple of contacts I had on Snapchat; if I used Instagram or Facebook I know more people would have seen them.
It is interesting to compare my experience to the big influencers that do this as a career. If I wanted to become a famous influencer it would take years of hard work, and even after all the hard work it isn't even guaranteed that I would develop a large audience. However, when I was micro-influencing I developed a small audience over a couple days! This shows that it actually is possible and not too challenging to become a micro-influencer.
My elder cousin first introduced me to the whole fitness scene. I would say he was a greater influence than any other of the vloggers out there; he was the guy that set me on the right path to get started. At first, I was joking around trying to act like a vlogger, but it started to feel really rewarding when I gave out advice to my “fans”. Now I have a better understanding as to why influencers do what they do; it is not all just for fame (maybe for some it is!), but it is also can be for the opportunity to make a positive impact on others.