What Snapchat Needs

This article is about what functionality I think Snapchat should add. The motivation behind writing this article is centered around Instagram’s recent adoption of live disappearing stories, Snapchats lack of innovation, and features I want as a consumer.

GROUPS

It is amazing to me that Snapchat has not added this function yet. I have roughly 200 people on my friends list for Snapchat. The list includes school friends, relatives, work colleagues and everything in between. As a result of this mix it is very rare that I will post anything to my public story unless it is basically G rated. In addition, when I do send personal snapchats, I only send them to my Recent Friends or people who’s name starts with an A or B.

Snapchat needs to add a way for users to group contacts, so users could press one button and send a message to all of their “fraternity brothers” or “coworkers”. This would increase user engagement because people could send certain things to select groups without the hassle of choosing everyone individually. While it’s not a drastic enhancement, I do think it would have a significant effect on snaps sent.

In order to be a successful social app it is important to have a sense of community. Snapchat does a great job of creating a broad sense of community with stories that everyone can see, similar to how Facebook has perfected the community feeling with News Feed. However, Facebook was wise in that it created a broad community and then maintained a sense of intimacy because of its groups, events and messenger application. Snapchat is lacking in its group intimacy offerings because as of now content is either for individuals or everyone.

Suggestion…create a grouping feature so Snapchat can gain some of the benefit associated with apps like GroupMe.

PROMOTE CELEBRITY ACCOUNTS

Twitter is alive for basically one reason and that is public figures. People use Twitter because of the direct connection/access it gives them to important people. Twitter has expanded this connection with the use of Periscope and Facebook with FB Live, but they haven’t reached their full potential. Enter Snapchat, which could connect celebrities to their fans. Snapchat should reach out to celebrities to garner strong followings similar to DJ Khaled. If Snapchat can resurrect a washed up rap producer, it can definitely be more effective for more relevant public figures.

Suggestion…the unfiltered spontaneity of public figures on Twitter made it successful and the same formula can be applied to Snapchat.

LOCAL DISCOVERY

You could call this one more of a prediction, but Snapchat didn’t spend $110 million for nothing. Vurb is a “local app helping consumers find local things to do and let them save their ideas”…Translated I believe this means that Snapchat is going to expand into helping users find activities around them with hyper-local stories. Currently Snapchat does Live Stories for major events around the world, but with this recent acquisition I think they will shift it to local. Imagine a bar is hosting a local band in San Francisco and you live less than a mile away. The story would pop up on your application and you could check it out. Snapchat has experimented with this through college stories, but I’m talking about an even tighter geographic area and for a different purpose.

In addition to discovering events, Snapchat should help connect people by having the Discovery feature like Instagram. Again, this is an easy feature to add to the application and it would enhance engagement of people who would be motivated to build a following.

CREATE YOUR OWN STORIES

If you have a millennial friend who has been married in the past year then I can guarantee they had a custom geo-filter for the occasion. I love these just as they are, but think it could be taken a step further. Instead of a geotag, what if you could create a private story for your event that could only be viewed/contributed to by people at the party. In the wedding invitation include a QR code that everyone can scan on their phones, which then invites them to the Snapchat wedding group.

This feature would have two different aspects. First, those invited to the wedding could follow the wedding in the weeks/months leading up to the big night through a personal story of the bride and groom. The couple could upload the cake tasting, bachelor party snapshots and location scouting. In addition to moments leading up to the wedding submitted by the bride and groom, on the day of the wedding it would be opened up to everyone in the group and everyone could post the wedding from their perspectives. At the end of the wedding you would have a wedding video curated with everyone at the wedding with all different perspectives captured. Imagine looking back at your wedding day and having it chronicled by all of your friends at instead of a random video photographer.

Suggestion…Let me create a local Snapchat story for my event that only people invited could watch and contribute toward.

Summarized

As you can tell none of my ideas are original here and I’m simply stealing from competitors, but hey this all started when Instagram stole from Snapchat, so lets bring it full circle.

In order for Snapchat to maintain user engagement and relevancy they need to do something and these are my suggestions:


GROUPS –
Let me segment my friends and message them in bulk.

PROMOTE CELEBRITY ACCOUNTS – Learn from Khaled and take your celebrity interaction to the next level.

LOCAL DISCOVERY – Let me find events/people around me through hyper-local stories

CREATE YOUR OWN STORY – Let me create a story for my local event that is curated by everyone at the event.

Maybe not all of these ideas are great, but they are feasible implementations for a company worth nearly $20 billion that could turn out to be the shot of espresso Snapchat needs.

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