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A Snapchat Story, by Jon Corra

a man with a camera

If you would have approached me at this time last year and asked me about Snapchat I would have laughed at you and made condescending comments about your favorite sports team. Jump ahead 9 months, and my local paper claimed that I invented the product. In almost the same time it takes to create a human baby I went from despising Snapchat to being mistaken for the person who created it. So, how did I get from one extreme to the other? Well, that’s an interesting story, and I’d love for you to join me.

First of all, I need to clarify something; I did not invent Snapchat. That fact that I don’t own millions of dollars is the first sign that I wasn’t as ambitious as Evan Spiegel, the actual inventor of Snapchat. What happened was I created Snapchat filters for a local Pop Culture Convention. Our local newspaper covered the event, and they were curious about how it worked. The reporter was not as familiar with the product and claimed I invented Snapchat. It’s a great inside joke now around my friends.

Keep in mind though, a year ago I hated Snapchat. When I first heard about the application I thought it was like Chat Roulette. In my mind it was just for deviants. One day though, my sister and I were hanging out and she was playing with Snapchat. She showed me something that I now believe is the coolest thing ever, geofilters. We were in Marietta, OH and she showed me that the city had its own Geofilter. For those of you who don’t know, a geofilter is a location based filter that you can place over a photo. However, your GPS must be turned on in order for it to work. To give you a better idea of how this works, let’s take a hypothetical trip to New York. While in Ney York, we take the “Sex in the City Bus Tour.” While visiting the spot where Mr. Big proposed to Carrie Bradshaw in Manhattan, we take a photo with Snapchat. After I take the photo, we swipe through the available filters, and there is one that reads “Manhattan.” It’s only available in that area. You have to be in Manhattan to get that Snapchat filter.

Geofilters are awesome. Individuals create the filters, submit them to Snapchat, and if they are approved, they can be used by anyone on Snapchat. These filters are referred to as community filters. Essentially this means that they are intended to celebrate an area or location. When a new filter is submitted, the user must state why that area deserves to have a filter. They are a lot of fun. I created a filter for my hometown. Several months after I submitted the filter, it was approved by Snapchat. It’s cool to see so many people use it every day.

As a business owner or a marketer, On-Demand Geofilters are where you need to be spending your time. An on-demand filter is still location based, but it’s not about the area. You can essentially create anything you want with an on-demand filter. The first time I used an on demand geofilter was at our local Easter parade this year. We covered the entire parade route. Doing this was quite simple because Snapchat uses an interactive map. All you have to do is go online, search the address you want to use, and draw a fence around the area you need. The map shows all the buildings, and there is a 3D option too.

Honestly, the parade was not the event for us. I found out that our filter, thanks to Snapchat’s Analytics, wasn’t used very much that day. I didn’t give up though. I decided that an event geared towards Snapchat’s target demographic, millennials. As the school year was about to begin, I had a meeting with an athletic director from our local high school. I asked if we could be the official Snapchat Filter provider for our local high school football games, and he agreed. The first time our firm created a filter for a home football game, it was seen by more than 11,000 people. The cost was less than $20.00. To say it was a success would be an understatement. We were supporting our community and getting our name out there too. We provided filters for the rest of the home games, as well as some other community events. Not to mention some fun work functions just for our employees too. Overall, I created 25 filters this year, and they were seen more than 35,000 times. All this exposure cost me less than $300.

Some critics may say that we are targeting people who aren’t our customers, and we aren’t going to get any customers from this type of marketing. That may be true…for now. However, as a law firm, it can be difficult to reach individuals through emerging social media platforms. But, we like to think of the big picture. Those people who used the filter at the high school game may not need us now, but who knows what will happen in a few years. They will remember which law firm helped them have fun at their local high school football games.

If you’re on the fence about using Snapchat for your marketing efforts, at least try it out. It’s not expensive. Find an event in your area in which you know there will be a lot of people in attendance, and create a filter for it. You will get a lot of exposure and the cost will be very little. Just promote your filter on your other social media sites so that everyone will be aware of your efforts.

Snapchat is my favorite current social media platform. It’s growing by the minute too. If I see an organization participating in Snapchat filter creation, I am much more likely to buy their product. Most Snapshot users feel the same way.

That’s “My Story.”

About the Author: Jon Corra is the Social Media and Community Outreach Specialist at Jan Dils Attorneys at Law, a West Virginia personal injury lawyer.

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