When Not to Use Snapchat

With each passing month, Snapchat grows in popularity, quickly becoming one of the most widely used social networks to date. In fact, according to Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, there are now close to 100 million daily Snapchat users, 65% of whom upload photos—a particularly high number in terms of audience engagement.

Snapchat has reached 100 million daily users.
—CEO Evan Spiegel, 2015

Brands active on Snapchat have been using the channel for some time now to reach its primarily millennial audience. That said, the mobile-focused social network might not be ideal for every organization, and there are a few instances where its use doesn’t make sense for any business.

So, before jumping on the Snapchat bandwagon, consider the following circumstances where another social channel probably makes more sense for your brand.

During a Time of Crisis

News of all kinds is shared on Snapchat, with many major networks and publications even offering channels in the platform’s Discover section. Still, it’s not the best channel for sharing time-sensitive information that needs to get in front of your audience right away.

For instance, if your organization has a product recall, needs to alert staff of a critical issue at the office, is apologizing for a corporate misstep or is dealing with any other type of crisis, Snapchat is not the right communications channel. Bear in mind also that Snaps disappear within 24 hours, making it far less likely that you will reach the majority of your audience at all.

To Administer Customer Service

Snapchat’s ephemeral nature presents an obstacle to customer service, as you will probably miss critical messages. Of course, few people see Snapchat as the go-to place to resolve their customer service issues anyway, preferring networks such as Twitter instead.

If a customer service issue does arise on Snapchat, just direct it to a more appropriate channel for troubleshooting.

How Social Media is Changing Customer Service

For Sales-Driven Promotions

No social effort should be too self-promotional—especially when customers are clamoring for conversation.

This is especially true on Snapchat. Sending your audience a promotional Snap is considered off-putting, as it doesn’t sync with the laid-back, unscripted content typically shared in this space. Of course, being overly promotional on Snapchat would make your brand stand out—but for all the wrong reasons.

Think of Snapchat instead as a channel for facilitating a one-to-one connection with your audience, akin to direct text.

Targeting Campaigns to a Particular Audience Segment

If your brand has a campaign aimed at engaging a specific demographic, such as Latinas 24 years and older, Snapchat isn’t a good bet.

Currently, insights into Snapchat’s audience demographics are limited. While we were able to track down some information—in terms of gender, age and income—this doesn’t necessarily shed light on your own Snapchat following.


Even if your team has a general sense of who makes up your Snapchat audience, the platform doesn’t offer any targeting features, as you will find on many of the other major social networks. Thus, your Snaps have to either be added to your Story for your entire audience to see or you have to choose the individuals you’re looking to send Snaps to specifically.

Sharing Lengthy Content

If you’re trying to share a technical report, case study, documentary, blog post, longer video or other form of lengthy content, Snapchat is not the right medium.

Snapchat is built around bite-sized content that people can consume and interact with in a few short seconds. This doesn’t mean you can’t form a longer narrative by sharing a few Snaps in a row on your Story, but if you’re trying to encapsulate most of the points made in a three-minute YouTube video or an 800-word blog post, good luck.

Use Snapchat instead to create a quick video or photo that teases your more in-depth content—like a trailer of sorts.

The Best Uses for Snapchat

What works best for your brand on Snapchat? Share your experiences in the comments section below.