Everything Workplace Managers Need to Know About Snapchat

by Kaitlan Whitteberry on May 20, 2016

Yes, there is another social media network gaining steam. It’s called Snapchat, and we bet your teenager is using it. Before you brush it off as oh that necessary for your business keep this in mind, it has between 100 – 200 million users. That’s more than LinkedIn and Pinterest. Users of the app also send over 700 million messages, per day. It also just pushed over Instagram as the most popular social network among teens. The same teens that will be employed by your workplace in the next 10 years. Got your attention now? Here’s everything you need to know about this new social media powerhouse, and what it means for the future of social media in the workplace.

Person using phone

What is Snapchat?

Originally and infamously created for users to send private disappearing photos,  the app has evolved from its humble 2011 beginnings. The simplest way to describe it is an application that allowsWhat is Snapchat? users to send photos or videos to a select audience or to their entire friend list that can only be viewed once and last between 1 to 10 seconds. The messages are then automatically deleted. The types of messages people usually send are photos that they wouldn’t want stored in their phone. It’s a way to share what you’re doing at the moment, without having to take a photo, send it to someone in a text and then go back and delete the photo. Snapchat does all of those things in one click.

Like we mentioned before, users can send a “snap” to one person, multiple or to their “story” which is a place where all of their friends can view a particular snap. These stories stay live for 24 hours, where they are then automatically deleted. Also, users can see who viewed their story. The social platform just released a new update which enhances the snapping experience. Users can respond to stories or private snaps through a more robust messaging tool. Users can add photos, add video, send emojis or even call the other individual. It takes communication to a new level, where everything you arguably need to keep in touch is right there in the same application.

Who is Using Snapchat?

Its current audience is definitely in the younger crowd, with 60% being 13 to 24-year-olds, and 45% are between 18 and 24. This demographic may seem young, but keep in mind the second category is your next entry-level employee. It’s also a good idea to consider that where the youngins go, the older generations often follow. Just take a look at Facebook.

Users have described Snapchat’s appeal as a way to keep those they are closest with informed about things they are doing. Instead of sharing a photo on Facebook, where hundreds of people can see it, Snapchat gives users a place to share with a smaller group. Some experts belive this is what makes the social app so popular with the younger crowd, their parents aren’t using it, at least not yet.

What Does This Mean for Work?

Snapchat is a mobile-only app, which is different than other social networks, Instagram is arguably mobile-only too, but even it has a working desktop version. Users can only access Snapchat from a mobile device. This confirms our understanding that mobile is becoming a must-do from marketing to work. People want to connect with their devices, and so much so in fact that some applications are only available through phones.

Our society is “leaning toward mobile-first, and perhaps more importantly mobile-only habits.” – Business Insider

Now, we understand that your goal as a workplace management leader is to interact on the social networks where your customers are active. They may not be active on Snapchat, just yet. However, it’s important to keep in mind the changing landscape of social, and the online habits of users. Because in just a few short years, those snapping and chatting 18-24 year-olds are going to be filling your workplace, and you’re going to have to understand what they want from an office and how to connect with them in some meaningful way.

What Snapchat’s popularity can tell us is that attention spans are short, but engagement is still important. Your employees are going to want to work hard and feel connected when they feel wanted, and actively involved with the team. This is definitely important for workplace managers, but really any manager. This generation wants to be seen, yes, but more importantly they want to be acknowledged. Give feedback, negative and positive, recognize their accomplishments and make it known that their work matters.

Does this mean you have to go run out and get your facility a Snapchat account? Probably not. However it’s important to stay on top of the trends in every age group, because this behavior is a pretty good indicator of what this generation defines as important. Also, facilities management is such a people-centered business that staying up-to-date on the latest trends is never going to hurt you. And, you just might impress your teenager next time she’s taking a photo of her dinner, by asking if it’s going to be a hit on her “story”.


Kaitlan Whitteberry

Kaitlan Whitteberry is a Magna Cum Laude graduate from the University of Missouri's journalism program, and currently focuses on iOFFICE press releases, software updates and related news.

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