Influencer collaboration on Snapchat just got a whole lot easier, with the introduction of custom Stories, which enable you to invite other users to contribute to your Story, or set a geoblock within which anyone can contribute.
As shown in the video, now, when you create a new Story, you'll have a new option to create your own Story, in addition to the normal 'My Story' (your personal story) and 'Our Story' (public Snaps around events/locations) options.
When you select 'Create Story', you'll be able to give your Story a name, then you can choose who can add to your story from your friends list. You can also select who, specifically, can view the story, and/or whether any friends, or friends of friends, within a one block geographic radius will be able to add their own contribution via the Geofence tool.
Custom Stories will appear on the Stories page for as long as they are live, and will disappear if no one adds anything new for 24 hours, or if the creator deletes the Story. Users will be able to contribute to as many custom Stories as they like, but will only be able to create three custom Stories at a given time.
This creates a whole new dynamic for Snapchat storytelling, a new way to connect with friends, and expand your on platform connections through extended exposure and sharing.
And for brands looking to maximize their use of Snapchat, it could provide a big boost.
The most obvious example that comes to mind is events - through the creation of a custom Snapchat story for your event, through the 'Geofence' option, you can invite attendees to connect, then add their own perspectives, creating a larger, more immersive story around your gathering. This could help generate greater exposure on the platform, with friends, and friends of friends, able to view your content, a great way to utilize the stories option.
But as noted, the most significant benefit could be for influencer marketing. Now, rather than having to use influencer takeovers - where you give control of your Snapchat account to an influencer - you can simply invite them to contribute to your story, enabling you to capitalize on their platform expertise and storytelling talent, while also exposing your audience to theirs through the 'friends of friends' option.
It's the latest in Snapchat's efforts to generate more exposure for Snaps and Snap content. The platform recently added a new search option, which enables users to find publicly posted Snaps by location, event or subject. Mashable has also reported that Snapchat's working with Tagboard on new efforts to showcase Snap content at major events.
Pretty cool to see Snapchat on the @usbankstadium video boards.- Scott Kegley (@ScottKegley) October 4, 2016
More to come with @tagboard & @Snapchat this season. #smsports pic.twitter.com/2aXCT5lEEH
Such efforts are part of the app's wider efforts to boost engagement and awareness of Snap content, which they're going to come under more pressure to do as the market looks to them to produce growth in order to justify increased ad spend.
Snapchat can be a great platform for reaching specific audiences and audience subsets - younger users, obviously, but there are also other groups whose communications are now entrenched within the app. Recent research published by TechCrunch showed that even amidst rising competition from Instagram, a significant proportion of Snapchat's audience still can't be reached in other apps:
"On any given day in the U.S., 35% of daily Snapchat users can't be reached on Facebook, 46% can't be reached on Instagram and 58% can't be reached on Messenger."
Given this, it's important to consider who your audience is, and where they're interacting, before writing off Snapchat, with reports suggesting that Instagram, and parent company Facebook, will eventually muscle it out of the social market.
The addition of collaborative Stories only adds to this - now, there's a new way for users to connect via Snap, which is likely to increase Snapchat use. Maybe not in a major way, the app is still facing extremely tough competition from Facebook, but still, any new engagement measures will count - and engagement is where Snap Inc. is suggesting it can win out, even if the other platforms have more overall users.
But then again, Instagram could also just copy it. And they probably will. But even so, as noted, Snapchat still has a unique audience - worth considering in your social marketing process.