If you are working for a government body or even a political organisation, you might wonder how Snapchat could be integrated into your communication plans. I recall when the White House joined Snapchat at the beginning of 2016 their press office stated that they were joining the social network to connect with the population using it in new and creative ways.
During my session at New Media Europe I will be featuring case studies of business leaders who are using Snapchat for marketing.
One person who has really impressed me in their use of Snapchat is Cliona Connolly, a former print and broadcast/radio journalist from Co Monaghan in Ireland, currently working in political PR as the Irish Press Officer for the EPP political group in the European Parliament in Brussels Belgium. Find out below how she is using Snapchat to connect to new audiences as part of her communications role.
Krishna: When did you start using Snapchat?
Cliona: I had downloaded the App many months ago but had only followed some celebrities. I only started snapping myself about two months ago!
Krishna: How do you get your inspiration for your stories?
My Snapchat is a professional channel for me and I aim to snap about EU news, with simple, concise informational explainers on important EU matters from a pro-EU stance.
I look at the main topics of the week and consider what will interest people and what is important for me to communicate on. Sometimes I do more light-hearted snaps too as I don’t always want to have very heavy content.
Krishna: As you work for a large organisation, what if any clearance have you had to have for using Snapchat and what is your organisations POV about your use of the platform?
Luckily, we are given quite a bit of autonomy as press officers and spokespersons. I did inform my Head of Internet before I started snapping to say that I would try it. She was very positive and said she trusted my judgement.
I’m careful to always say if I am expressing a personal view. Indeed, we are encouraged to be relevant online in our roles and are very much encouraged to use social media to highlight our work and standpoints as well as that of the MEP’s we work with.
Krishna: What have been your objectives of using Snapchat to represent you professionally?
Cliona: I guess it is to build a new audience on social media, especially as Snapchat is so big in Ireland and especially to connect more with youth.
Often EU communications can be jargon-heavy and off-putting but it’s very relevant for our lives. I want to be an EU voice providing informed, factual information in an innovative format.
Krishna: What has been the impact of you using Snapchat for you?
Cliona: It’s been an amazingly positive experience for me. I’m only building my audience but I’ve only had positive feedback.
I’ve also created an interest in Snapchat amongst my colleagues who think my snaps are great examples and they want to learn from me, which I was not expecting. Unusually, I’ve gained Twitter followers as a direct result of using Snapchat which I was not expecting! So it’s increased my social media presence all-round!
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the reaction at EU/work/communications level to my Snapchat. People have asked my advice or guidance or want me to teach them. And these are social media experts themselves! So it’s been really encouraging! In a professional context I’ve had great feedback and its boosted my profile.
I enjoy Snapchat and I love emoji’s- I think Snapchat is fun and I hope people enjoy watching my stories. I prefer watching Snapchat stories over TV these days as it gives me a glimpse of life around the world!
Krishna: What has been the most successful way for you to build your Snapchat following?
Cliona: I was lucky enough to get mentioned in a blog by Irish Tech News as someone worth following and some others have very kindly recommended me in their Snapchat stories. So I gained followers there too.
However, I did find it difficult to promote it. I promote my feed on Twitter because Twitter is most important for news and politics. Snapchat not an easy App to promote. Ghost codes is helpful but still US dominated I think.
Krishna: You just used Snapchat as the platform where you made an announcement about an event taking place – and this was the first time that you did a Snapchat ‘exclusive’ – what gave you the idea to to that?
Cliona: I want to give my followers value. I appreciate their time so I want to give them an insiders view of EU news and life.
My value is perhaps knowing about news before its on the news so to speak as I often create it working with journalists. I think Twitter is dying a bit and I wanted to announce the event to SC because I see SC as the future.
I will definitely be disclosing more information before it hits the news stands so to speak as I continue. I think followers enjoy their special access! Plus I’m starting to get journalists following me so I want to maintain that interest.
Krishna: Do you see other organisations such as yourself and your organisation using Snapchat for their communications and if so who inspires you and why?
Cliona: I think many politicians and public reps are late getting onto Snapchat. A good example is the Hillary Clinton campaign account. A bad example is the Jeremy Corbyn account just because they fail to see the potential.
I soon realised that no one is doing what I’m doing on Snapchat at EU level – helpful explainers and short information announcements. And there is an appetite for it as I’ve had so many say to me that they learn so much from my feed. Even the news discovery channels seem to dumb down everything.
Young people are not stupid and they are interested. I don’t dumb down, I inform in a clear, concise and digestible way! I like to think so anyway!!
Krishna: You include some personal elements to your story – what if any things do you consider re privacy when it comes to storytelling on Snapchat?
Cliona: Yes, I was unsure of how much to share at first but I think in this digital age followers enjoy a snapshot of your life. I have people following me from all over the world who may never visit Europe or Brussels so it’s nice to show them what life is like and a little personality.
However, I advise anyone to think first and decide how professional they want their account. I decide what people see of my life and I check myself by asking “Am I happy for everyone I know including my boss etc seeing this?”
I’m conscious that I am representing my employer. You won’t ever see me dancing in a nightclub on Snapchat but I think it’s no harm to show I’m human and add some character.
Krishna: What one tool or tech has been essential to you in creating and publishing your Snaps that you could not live without?
Cliona: My iPhone! And thanks to your advice I now have a portable charger I can use as battery issues are a problem. Also wifi coverage is essential. And Ghostcodes is great but I think SC is missing a cross-promotional tool.
Krishna: Do you repurpose any of your stories for other platforms?
Cliona: I’ve started saving my stories or those I think are worth saving. I use the Slinger app, but I am not sure my audience are on there.
Some people have suggested I need a YouTube or Facebook page for my EU content but I am a little reluctant to go that far yet. Mostly I am seeing how it goes and saving my stories is good for showing interested colleagues examples of my work.
Krishna: What is the one thing that you have learnt from using Snapchat for business that you would like to share with the audience?
Cliona: Snapchat is not so scary once you get used to it! And the Snapchat community is really lovely and positive – more than any other network/messaging platform in my view.
Snapchat is for telling stories. You should always remember that you are a storyteller and you need to engage and keep the viewer turning the page and watching your feed.I think my journalism and radio background has helped inform my Snapchat style. I’m practiced in dealing with complex topics in brief simple ways on radio and in short clips so I think that has benefited me now. Also I think journalism experience enables me to focus on the key points and newsworthiness of particular subjects.
For business it’s more about brand recognition and image building – not snapping “buy my product now” but more so showing the passion behind your brand or product and building a positive reputation and fan base.
Get ideas from watching others who snap in a style you like.
Always save your snap story every day and critique it yourself as a viewer – we can all learn and improve as we go along! If your snap stories are good – the followers will follow.
If you would like to learn more about Cliona and his stories you can follow her on Snapchat here.
Resources To Help You Grow Your Business With Snapchat
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