It's really been a pleasure following and getting to know Mike via Snapchat over the past year. We've found that we have a lot in common. We're both dads, we're both in digital marketing, we even got our kids similar Christmas gifts (Nerf guns)! You'll usually catch Mike snapping on his commute to the office, prior to client meetings, or even just before his speaking gigs. He does a great job of verbalizing his thoughts during his snaps. He also does a great job of catching you referencing his website via Google's real-time analytics while writing blog posts about him! He's just that good!
Mike's Thoughts on Snapchat in 2016
1. Who are you and how have you leveraged the Snap platform in 2016?
I'm Mike McGrail, a marketing consultant (running Velocity Digital) and speaker based in Scotland. 2016 was a year of Snapchat experimentation for me, I knew that I had something to offer via it, but I just wasn't sure what that was! I've been blogging for years and have a podcast, and I've always used these to share my opinions and give advice, but I felt Snapchat had to have more to it. In early 2016, I left my consultancy to join a tech startup and that seemed like a natural starting point - my journey from self-employed to being part of a business and learning the marketing side of a SaaS company. That's what I started snapping about and quickly started to build an audience.
As the year went on, I started to get featured on 'must-follow' lists and getting shout-outs from popular snappers and the momentum continued. I've made some great connections via Snapchat and I love the fact it's, so raw; just the lens, me and what I want to share, no editing etc, it's just so 'in-the-moment'. In December 2016 I left my role at the SaaS company (I missed running my own business too much) and now I'm snapping about that transition and giving marketing, business and productivity advice. I have a lot more freedom now, and intend to make even more of Snapchat in 2017.
Key to me growing an engaged Snapchat audience has been the fact that I try to send a thank you video snap to everyone that follows me. This gets an amazing reaction and also starts off the 'relationship' in the right way - I don't just want to broadcast, I want questions etc too! In 2017, I'm going to bring more people into my snaps, those who can deliver great advice etc, I think it's nice to give people more than just you!
2. What are your favorite/ most useful features that Snapchat offers?
I'm not a heavy user of filters etc, although they do add a bit of fun and I think things like face-swap have been a great user acquisition tool for Snapchat as people show the feature to people who may not be a user and then want to sign up to use them. For me, the best thing about Snapchat is that accessibility I mentioned - you just launch it, get your point across and send!
3. Do you have any thoughts on Snapchat Spectacles and their launch campaign?
Spectacles has to go down as one of the best launches ever! Scarcity is a brilliant strategy and by dropping the vending bots in random places, it caused such a big buzz. They've also nailed the look and feel of the hardware to tap right into their key user demographic. I feel like Snap Inc is building a real brand that people want to be associated with, with Snapchat as the focal point of it. I don't think people have that level of affinity with other social platform. As I wrote here Snapchat/Snap Inc was the great social innovator in 2016.
4. Who are two people (or accounts) that you recommend following and why?
I love to follow Mark Suster (msuster), he's got amazing advice on startups, marketing and a nice delivery style. Another must-follow is Hillel Fuld (hilzfuld), he's got great opinions on technology and is superb at bringing other people in to his snaps.
5. Are there any emerging threats you see coming for Snapchat?
I think Snapchat has enough loyalty to stay strong in the face of all of the challenges that have been thrown its way. All the other social platforms have copied it in one way or another in 2016 and there'll be more of the same in 2017. They need make sure they don't lose the simplicity of it, I think that's key to their growth.
I want to thank Mike for taking the time to share his thoughts here on Minimum Viable Media. Make sure you follow Mike on Snap! User name: mike_mcgrail
Make sure to read the thoughts of Justin Wu and Ashley Kruempel too!
Father, husband, driver of digital traffic. Digital advertising professional by day, aspiring storyteller and growth hacker by night. Minimum Viable Media is my sandbox, my classroom, my business card, and my escape (Oxford comma for life!).