Snapchat continues to grow its user base with consumers from all walks of life jumping in. Delving past the obsessive pre-adult crowd and the growing millennial base, one area where Snapchat is not proving to be so successful is with female influencers.
This past June, a study was published analyzing the social media networks female influencers prefer to use to connect with their audiences. This study found Snapchat to be the least important social network to this demographic of influencers. The top rated social network among female influencers was Instagram at 28.4 percent, with Pinterest at a close second with 26.4 percent of respondents calling it the most important social media platform to them. Both, Facebook and Twitter were less preferred but still scored significantly higher than Snapchat.
So why is Snapchat not really catching the eye of female influencers – well, it’s hard to say. One theory is in the network’s design. Snapchat is meant to target a select group of people with short-form content, compared to Instagram which does the same short-form content concept but towards a more general collection of followers and general audience members. Therefore, Instagram might be ideal to reach out to new, interested parties compared to Snapchat which would only be advertising to the same audience again and again. When it comes to influencer marketing, the goal of an influencer is to earn money off of products and brands that they advertise. There’s more opportunity to hit more people on Instagram and other social media than there is on Snapchat.
If anything, Snapchat has discouraged influencers from its platform. With users craving a more intimate, personalized experience, Snapchat differs from Instagram which provides more generalized content. Despite Snapchat being a hub of younger users, it is not a platform that has figured out how to incorporate influencers into its business model.
Now, that may change. Reportedly, this past August, Snapchat extended its ‘verified’ feature to include influencers with significant followings. The platform also allowed these influencers to use its Official Stories feature, an aspect of Snapchat once reserved strictly for pop culture celebrities.
Despite these changes, Snapchat still falls way behind other social media channels in creating a welcoming, appealing environment for influencers. Far and above, female influencers still prefer Instagram alongside features such as Instagram stories, its carousel albums, and Instagram Live.
From a marketer’s standpoint, though it may appear that Snapchat is limited, it is simply a different model than Instagram or its competitors. The relationship between a user and their followers is different on Snapchat than it is on Instagram, and that is something that can be weighed by influencers who are considering using it.
On a competitive level, Snapchat is certainly being challenged by other platforms. As the social media playing field continues to develop, Snapchat is going to have to adapt in a way that continues to distinguish it for its own unique value. It’s not yet certain that Snapchat has the capability to do that. The worry among industry insiders is that, if it doesn’t adapt, similar forms of social media such as Pinterest and Instagram may eventually overtake the market share that belongs to Snapchat. Time will tell.