September 25, 2018

To Snap or Not to Snap? Shuttering an Award-Winning Snapchat Program

The WeAreCisco Talent Brand Team took a calculated gamble in 2016 and became one of the earliest adopters of Snapchat for employer branding. We were betting that raw, unscripted, employee takeovers (yes, we handed non-marketers the username and password, along with some guidelines) would speak the language of the early-career talent we were trying to entice.

What came next were payoffs in metrics, then accolades, articles, and awards.

If you thought we were crazy because of how we started this journey, you’re definitely going to think we’re crazy for ending it.

Yes, that’s right. We shut down our award-winning Snapchat program. 😳

It wasn’t a decision made lightly. Just as we took our time deciding the best path forward on a largely untried platform two years ago, we took our time looking at the metrics.

Snapchat’s redesign, a general shift of our employee ambassadors to Instagram Stories and live video (they are the key to our entire employee-generated-content EGC strategy for the @WeAreCisco channels), and limited resources were all factors in our conversations. However, we don’t give up that easily, so we planned one “last hurrah” to see if Snapchat could stay viable for us.

In June, we launched our Summer of Interns on Snapchat. All interns. All the time. (And yes, we gave interns the username and password.) We saw a massive uptick in all of our metrics, which made perfect sense. The interns represented the target demographic, they were users of the Snapchat platform, they were super enthusiastic to be trusted as ambassadors, and we had two months of continued great success.

While not reaching our metrics highs pre-Snapchat redesign, our daily views tripled over the previous few months, our completion rates also spiked, and we drove double our monthly average of clicks to the Careers site via the swipe up functionality.

But then August came. Back to school for our interns. Our key ambassadors having returned to their universities, we now had to decide whether the program made sense without them.

When people ask me if Snapchat is dead yet, my answer is always “that’s the wrong question.” The right questions to ask are:

1. Who is our audience?
2. Where do they choose to engage us in social media?
3. How can we provide value to them?
4. What are our business goals?

When we asked ourselves those questions, we felt that, for now, our resources and next award-winning ideas should focus elsewhere. (We have a few plans up our sleeves.)

That doesn’t mean that Snapchat is “over,” it just means that we make key, strategic business decisions based on the Awareness, Consideration, Decision, and Advocacy funnel, and for us, we wanted to go out on top of our game.

If Snapchat changes that game again–which is a complete possibility–then we may come out of retirement.

Carmen Collins is the Senior Social Media and Talent Brand Manager at Cisco.

Tags: Influencer Marketing, Instagram, Snapchat

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