By Susan Solovic, THE Small Business Expert

They won’t give you the shirt off their backs, but they’ll sell it to you!

That seems to be part of the philosophy behind some of the first forays into selling via Snapchat. While Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram are putting “click to buy” buttons on social media posts, the road between posting a post and posting a sale is less direct on Snapchat.

Usually it’s trendy art films that make their debuts at Cannes, but this year Snapchat rolled into town and introduced its 3V advertising strategy…product…concept – I don’t know exactly how to label it. The three V’s stand for “vertical video views.” This is in contrast to the horizontal video view you enjoy on your television.
An early advertiser to try this out is ShopStyle. They are getting popular fashionistas to wear apparel they are featuring in a Snapchat video. Next, fans, as they view the video, are supposed to click on a link that takes them to a “Shop Snapchat” store at ShopStyle. Obviously, there are a few hoops to jump through before it’s possible to make a sale. This runs counter to conventional ecommerce wisdom that puts a premium on eliminating actions and streamlining the sales process.

No Goof Off needed

The company is also rolling out “geofilters” to advertisers. These are digital “stickers” you can slap on your Snapchat photo as a way of identifying where you are. In the old days, people would put a “Grand Canyon” bumper sticker on their Buicks. Today, people can put a “Disneyland” – or now “McDonalds” – emblem on their Snapchat digital social social media posts. (Hey, at least they don’t leave behind any adhesive residue!)
Snapchat has some 100 million users, but what it lacks are ways to monetize what it’s doing. Its value is somewhere between $10-20 billion and that must be almost entirely based on its size and growth rate. CEO Evan Spiegel says that they are planning an IPO.

This Snapchat news is interesting for two reasons. First, small business owners need to keep an eye on the social media platform and experiment with marketing strategies. Even before the new features, some businesses were finding ways to use Snapchat for branding and marketing.

Will the bubble burst?

If you’re an investor, Snapchat’s IPO will be interesting to watch. There seems to be a growing consensus that we’re in the middle of a tech bubble. As I’m writing this, Facebook shares are up about 30 percent so far this year and Apple has gained nearly 50 percent. A correction could knock the platform out from under Snapchat’s current estimated value.

In any case, this trendy social media platform will need to face the monetization monster soon, which means there will probably be more ways for you to promote your small business there. The platform trends young. For your small business to enjoy sustained success, you need to reach this group of consumers.

Ignore Snapchat at your own risk.

For more great insights from Susan Solovic please visit www.smallbizexpertacademy.com