What Can Snapchat Teach Us About The Highs And Lows Of Running A Business?

Snapchat is one of the most recognizable brands in the world right now. It’s a business that shot to fame a few years ago, and it’s fair to say they’ve been going through some turbulent times since.

Recently, they’ve made a couple of big headlines in the last couple of months. Firstly, they updated their app and received a lot of well-documented disgust from users – including some massive celebrities. Then, more recently, they were under fire when an ad was shown on their app that referenced the infamous Rihanna/Chris Brown domestic violence case from a few years ago. As you can see in this article, things didn’t go too well for them after that. So, two separate news stories that brought in a lot of negative coverage.

What did this mean for the company? Well, statistics show their stock has plummeted as a result of both these instances. At the same time, more and more people are moving to Instagram and using their features instead of Snapchat. All in all, it wouldn’t be a wild statement to say that the app is going through it’s lowest point right now. This all seems so strange for a company that really burst onto the scene and reinvented social media when the app was first launched. These days, almost every single social media platform has a ‘story’ feature of some sort. In fact, so many platforms implemented one that it became a meme at one point! This came directly from the success of Snapchat, and it just shows how they were on top of the world at one point.

Why am I talking about all of this? Well, Snapchat is the perfect case study and an example of the highs and lows of running a business. If you currently run a company – or are thinking about it – then you’ll benefit from learning about this business. As such, I’ve created this piece that’s dedicated to what Snapchat can teach us about the highs and lows of running a business!

The Highs

We start off at the beginning when Snapchat was at the peak of its powers. It came into the world as a quirky new app – something we’d not seen before. We were given an app that let you take pictures and send them, but they’d disappear after a set time. What’s more, if someone screenshotted your photo, you’d receive a notification. It took the world by storm. Then, the story feature came along, and the app really soared to the top of the charts. Stories are a fun way of showing people what you’re doing through photos and short videos, which opened up a whole world of possibilities for creative types.

When you look at Snapchats success, you can identify a few key things that are relatable to the general business world:

  1. A gap in the market: First off, Snapchat is a prime example of a company finding a gap in the market. Yes, there were social media apps out, but there wasn’t one like this. It was all about sharing visual content and keeping things brief. No one had seen it before, which is why it sparked so much interest. As it stated in this article here, many people saw it as unique.
  2. Responding to trends: Secondly, the main reason this app was so successful is that it fell in line with the current trends. It was released in 2011 when social media was really starting to become a mainstream thing. Everyone was going social media crazy, the developers recognized this, and rode the wave. Had it been released a few years earlier, the instant success might not have been replicated.
  3. Constant improvements: I wrote an article here about gaining an advantage in a saturated market. One of my points was that you need continuous improvements to stay ahead of the competition. Snapchat did this all the time, and it kept it ahead of the likes of Facebook and Instagram for a long time. As mentioned earlier, they brought in the Story feature. But, they also added filters and kept changing which ones were available and bringing in new features too. Later on, they added the Memories feature, along with the Map as well. In essence, they achieved success because they kept adapting and improving the app.

So, if you’re an aspiring business owner, you can look at the Snapchat model and apply these three core concepts to everything you do.

It’s vital that you search long and hard for a gap in the market. There’s always going to be one somewhere, you just need to find it. Here’s an article that can help you do just that; Filling a gap means your business will cater to the market needs, which sparks interest and can help generate customers from the word go.

Naturally, you should always be conscious of trends as well. If you notice a trend happening, then try and get onboard with it. You don’t even have to style your business around a trend like they did, but use trends to help push your company forward.

Finally, you have to learn how to adapt and improve at all times. Don’t keep things the same forever and ever; try and change when you start to fall flat. Invest money in new things to help your business adapt and be more flexible. As it mentions on you can grow your business with significant funding. So, get an influx of cash and use it to improve your company, so you can constantly adapt and move forward.

The Lows

Snapchat hasn’t experienced many lows, but they’re struggling a bit at the moment. Of course, ‘struggling’ is a relative term, they’re still a massive company churning out a big profit. However, as detailed earlier, they’ve had some bad press lately. First, they had an update that received a lot of stick. In fact, this article here shows there was a petition to change it that got millions of votes. Then, as mentioned, there was the Rihanna debacle.

Again, when you look at their lows, you will learn a lot.

  1. Don’t underestimate the power of the customer: The update issue showed Snapchat that customers have a very powerful voice these days. As a business, you can’t afford to underestimate this. They release a new update that people don’t like, and within days there are petitions and countless news headlines about how rubbish it is. The customer has a loud voice, and you’d do well to remember that.
  2. Know who you’re working with: In the Rihanna incident, it was purely a case of Snapchat running an ad from a different company. It wasn’t their ad, it was just shown on their platform. The lesson to take from this is that you need to know who you’re doing business with. Something another company does will impact on you if you’re seen to be affiliated with them in some way.
  3. A damaged reputation hurts: Lastly, the main takeaway from the Snapchat lows is that a damaged reputation can hurt a lot. 2018 hasn’t started off well for the company, and these two incidents firmly harmed their public perception. What did this lead to? A decline in their stock market price, and a considerable loss of money.

If you’re reading this as a business owner, what lessons can you learn and apply to your company?

For one, make sure you always think about the customer and take their needs and interests into account. Before you do anything, consult your customers and run tests to see how they respond. Trial periods are a great idea, this gives you a good view of how well-received a new idea may be. This helps you avoid instances where customers don’t like something, respond on social media, and cause a massive story that brings lots of negative press for your company.

Secondly, as it explains here, networking with other businesses is important. However, to avoid cases where a partner business creates controversy, and it falls back on you, you need to research who you work with.

Finally, manage your reputation at all times to assume that it remains positive. Try and diffuse any bad situations before they burst into flames and burn down the reputation you spent years trying to build. You will see problems arising from a damaged reputation, so you need to try and avoid all this hurt.

That brings us to the end of this article, and it’s time to wrap everything up. I believe that Snapchat is a great example of how businesses experience highs and lows. Their story can teach us a lot about getting to the top and then being brought back down a peg or two. Use all the information and resources in this article to help you run your business better and avoid making some big mistakes that cost you lots of money.  

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Ive been blogging now for 5 years on various sites for the love of knowledge share. I decided to start my own blog a few years back to share everything from tech to business news. Follow me on twitter for more.