snapchatSnapchat may get some bad connotations when thinking about the social media platform, but a number of brands have seen past the poor stigma and leveraged the platform for their benefit.

Young adult authors and publishers may consider doing the same.

For those who don’t know about Snapchat, it’s an app that allows users to share photos and videos that last anywhere from 1 to 10 seconds before it disappears. The negative attention to the app had to do with sexting.

In this article on Brand Driven Digital, Nick Westergaard gives Snapchat a look and explains why it matters. Here’s why young adult authors and publishers should pay attention: “nearly half of Americans 12–24 use Snapchat.”

Oh? The exact audience that young adult writers crave.

Many authors and publishers already use Facebook and Twitter where the demographics are wide and often older. Here, Snapchat targets that important younger audience.

It’s a rather interesting app to consider part of your marketing plan.

Here are a few tips to decide if it’s right for you:

– Join the site and look around for a few weeks. Understand how it works and why it’s popular for a younger audience.
– Watch what some of the bigger, more popular users do. See if there are ways you can emulate their ideas to create your own content.
– Ask a teen about it. If you have children or friends who have children in that age range, talk to them about the site and learn what is important to them.

The key to any new plan is research. You may learn that Snapchat is not for you, but it should be something that you check out before dismissing it.


  1. I appreciate your enthusiasm, but I wonder if you fully understand the service. Snapchat isn’t a website that one can browse. It’s a private messaging app on your smartphone. One must have friends on the service first in order to use it. I am on the service because my daughters use it, but unsurprisingly, there are no other adults my age for me to “converse” with. Although text can be put on top of an image, the service is mostly used to send silly faces at each other. And as you mentioned, the sexting aspect of Snapchat is real for many users (Search “Snapchat [insert naughty bit here]” on google).

    There is no way to lurk on the service for weeks like one can with Twitter. They’d have to jump right in and friend people. Would an author really want to let readers send unsolicited photos to the author’s phone? Also, there would be no way to screen the photos first, so minors sending inappropriate photos of their anatomy as a prank (or a misguided compliment) could get you in trouble with child pornography laws. By law you’re supposed to report it, but the images disappear so you’d have to screen cap them for evidence, which has obvious implications. Never mind minors. Most women I know wouldn’t want to see photos of strangers’ junk. A banned user can just create a new account and keep harassing. It just seems dangerous to me.

    The only way I could see this happening is if the author has a separate work phone just for Snapchat that’s turned on only during posted chat times. And Snapchatters would have to submit their identifying info to a screener, then be verified before getting access to the author. Then somebody would have to go through all those requests for friends and compare the names to the approved list. It can be done, but it’s a bit of work.

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