COM0015 – Blog #1 – Tools and Sources

Every day at 12:05pm I receive an email. I hear the ding, look at the time and instantly know that I’ve received my daily Google Alerts email. I have this set up on my work email so I can receive the latest news around words that I have flagged related to my job and employer. Words include the name of the organization, certain tourist attractions, different townships as well as the name of our CEO and Board members. This helps me keep an eye on what is being reported about our organization and to alert the Executive team of any red flag.

To keep up to date on the latest trends, I subscribe to Mashable through Snapchat. It’s the easiest way for me to get the latest tech news. If you aren’t familiar with Snapchat, the Snapchat Discover feature gives organizations full access to publicly visible snaps. They are updated daily and provide live breaking updates. For this reason, Snapchat is my main source of news.

What exactly is Snapchat Discover?! G2 explains it well: “Snapchat Discover is all about keeping you up-to-date on current events, pop culture, and more. Long gone are the days of Snapchat being used just to connect you and your friends. Now you can get the lowdown on breaking news, big events, and celeb gossip all at your fingertips. On the Discover screen you can watch your friends’ Snapchat Stories, Publisher Stories, Shows, and Our Stories.”

When I first started using Snapchat in 2013, the only “stories” users could see were posted by friends or celebrities. Snapchat Discover started in an effort to reach a wider audience and encourage people to sign up. Snapchat users are typically between the ages of 18 and 24, with the next largest demographic being 13-17. Although I am not part of this demographic, it is still a very attractive and centralized place for me to get all my news.


Users can subscribe to their favorite stories to ensure that they are seen first. I can honestly say that I rarely use Snapchat for its intended use of sending real time photos to friends, I spend most of my time on the app catching up on the latest. In one location I can get news from Vice, Now This News, CNN, The Washington Post, NBC, The Telegraph and The Daily Mail (to satisfy my gossip sweet tooth, of course). Each “story” can have anywhere from 10-20 screens. Each screen includes a headline, brief description and as the above video mentions, a full article that can be found by swiping up.


My second source of news is Buzzfeed. I subscribe to them on multiple platforms and get a lot of my information there. Their extensive cross-platform network includes things like articles, lists, quizzes and videos (which I LOVE) but I also spend a lot time on Buzzfeed News. Although they may not always be viewed as credible, they do provide the latest in “world-class reporting and investigative journalism”. As of March 24th 2019, 60% of millennials are reached by Buzzfeed and 70% of Buzzfeeds total site traffic comes from mobile devices. Social Blade reports that so far this month, Buzzfeed News has had over 1.45M views and in April of 2017, the website had an impressive 8.58M views.

I use these tools and sources because they became integrated into social media platforms that I have been using daily for years. It was not something I was looking or asked for but appeared over time. It is definitely out of convenience because all the sites I would need to visit individually are all in one location.


Reints, Renae (July 17, 2018) A New Snapchat Initiative Will Help Journalist Find and Verify Breaking News:

Wahl, Jordan (October 10 2018) What is Snapchat Discover: Fresh Content at your Fingertips:

Kunova, Marcela (July 13, 2018) How The Telegraph is reaching teenagers with news stories on Snapchat Discover :

Smith, Craig (May, 11, 2019) 38 Amazing Buzzfeed Statistics and Facts (2019):

Social Blade, Buzzfeed News:



SnapChat: The Next Frontier for Marketing?


Our class readings have touched on the ways in which businesses and brands utilise social media platforms to grow their brands as well as suggesting a few trends for 2017. While doing the readings, I noticed the absence of a huge social media entity: SnapChat. Which got me thinking, why aren’t more companies using SnapChat as a platform for their business? Businesses and brands have massive online presences and are reaching huge audiences through their social media accounts. Yet, despite having over 150 million daily users and reaching 11% of the U.S’s entire digital population, SnapChat remains a largely untapped resource as marketers are still grappling with how to use the app to their advantage. The app was developed in 2011 and has been steadily growing ever since. Snapchat reaches a huge audience: they have more users than Twitter and grew in one year as much as Twitter did in four. Snapchat means business.


The SnapChat logo is an adorable ghost

Why Should your Business be Using SnapChat?

It’s Different: SnapChat is different from other social media platforms because it allows users to create temporary content such as pictures and videos that “self-destruct” by disappearing in 10 seconds or less. Users can edit their content with text features, drawing tools, emojis, stickers, and animated filters.

Less Competition: Although usage is steadily on the rise, there is currently less brand competition for ads on SnapChat as many businesses are working out the kinks on how to harness the power of the platform.

Reach a Coveted Audience: SnapChat has the largest amount of young users out of any social media platform with 71% of its users under the age of 25. This means reaching the millennial demographic, who typically don’t respond well to conventional marketing, in fresh ways.

Creates a Personable Brand Image: Unlike the images posted to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter; SnapChat presents content in a more causal, unedited way that is appealing to users and creates an authentic and personable online presence for brands.

How to Utilise SnapChat for Marketing

In 2015, SnapChat launched its advertising capabilities called 3V. These ads can appear in a number of ways be it sponsored geotags or lenses which allow special filters baring your logo to be added to users’ content or ads between stories and live ads which appear in the context of other snaps.


A few examples of branded filters used on SnapChat

SnapChat also has a Discover section which allows businesses to put out new content daily. It is used primarily by huge corporations such as National Geographic, Buzzfeed, or CNN. Ads in the Discover section are among the most expensive ads available for purchase, starting around $40,000.


The Discover page as it appears in the app

For smaller businesses or businesses who are working on a budget, there are several ways in which you can utilise SnapChat for marketing without purchasing advertisements. Snapchat provides each of its users with a QR code that can be posted to other social media posts as well as positing your Snapchat handle on other posts as a means to quickly reach out to your existing market and let them know that your brand has expanded to Snapchat.

Real Time Access to Live Events: Using SnapChat to showcase events hosted by your brand or product launches gives users the chance to experience an authentic account of the event. SnapChat can also effectively be used to build anticipation around product launches – your brand can capitalize on the hype you create leading up to the big reveal!

Tutorials: Many brands reach out to their users by creating a series of short snaps which come together to deliver a product tutorial to users

Behind the Scenes: Using SnapChat to show case the making of new products can be a fun interaction for users. Behind the scenes content which shows the company having fun or showing company culture like activities or outings can also help to develop your personable brand image.

Exclusive Promotions: SnapChat can be a fun was to deliver content which consumers won’t be getting from any of your other platforms. Anything from perks to discounts to contests to coupon codes is fair game and doable with the app. The best part of this is that all of your content is trackable. You can see who has viewed your stories, who has responded, and who has engaged via chat. Brands can use these stats to track the effectiveness of their ads. Creating urgency surrounding these promotions can also act as a natural motivator to get your following to engage with the special promotions.

Connect with Influencers: Influencers can be used on SnapChat in the same way that they are utilized on other forms of social media – spreading awareness to harder to reach demographics and creating quality content to enhance your brand’s voice.

To me, SnapChat seems like the perfect marketing tool to brands wanting to reach out to a young market in a fresh, unique way. It provides an absolutely massive platform and the opportunity to grow your business. If you have been thinking about starting a Snapchat account for your business, the time is now! What are you waiting for?

What do you think, is SnapChat the next frontier for marketers? Would you use SnapChat as a means to connect to your consumers?


——————————————–Social Media Links ————————————————

Twitter: Is there a new frontier for marketing? Find out here! 

Facebook: SanpChat: The Next Frontier for Marketing? What it is, how to use it, and why your business should be using SnapChat to Market.


COM0011 – Can Snapchat Become a Primary Social Media Tool for Small Business Marketing?


By: Kamal Hylton

When it comes to how useful a social media platform is to the business world, I zero in on how effective it is at interacting with an audience, sharing ideas and/or getting a message across.

During the current era of social media boom, the impact of tools like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn on big business have made a clear impression. However it has made an even bigger mark on small businesses, startup companies and given local entrepreneurs marketing power and global reach like never before. Twitter have allowed owner/customer relations to blossom and build productive long-term relationships through short and simple messages, Facebook has enabled startups to unleash detailed marketing campaigns that are professional quality at little to no cost, Instagram is tailor-made for video or image marketing equal to any big advertising firm and LinkedIn has done away with the old rolodex in its ability to keep up with contacts and find like-minded professionals.

That said, one social media platform I personally can’t wrap my head around as a “go to” tool for small businesses social media marketing is Snapchat – the video messaging app that allows viewers to see short videos up to 10 seconds in length before being deleted permanently.

Being a writer/social media marketer on behalf of a media company, part of my job is to help startups acquire and sustain an online following. Typically these are companies with little to no advertising budgets or are in fields like healthcare, data security and employment services that although important aren’t exactly sexy or exude excitement like the music or art industries nor do they have the ability to get a big star like Justin Bieber or Drake to do a social media takeover of their brand. When it comes to Snapchat, I’ve found it hard even suggest as a primary tool to our clients simply due to its premise and main selling points not making sense for them. There are some good selling points to Snapchat that I’d love to use for specific projects like the “Discover” feature, giving companies a 24 hour channel of videos and short articles. The easy way Sanpchat can be used to promote specific events is also a plus, its immediacy perfect for pop up giveaways or the creation of citywide treasure hunts all in the name of publicity.

The issues I’m presented with in regard to Snapchat could come down to demographic  or nature, with more than half of Snapchat users under the age of 25 and companies I tend to work with not catering to the flashy nature of the app. It could also be as simple as Snapchat still being a new tool that hasn’t reached its full potential enough to make it a primary social media pillar like the others mentioned. Whatever the case, right now I can’t recommend Snapchat for a company right out of the gate in the same vein as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

I’d love to hear from you (especially if you are a regular Snapchat user). What makes Snapchat appeal to you? How could a small business make best use of Snapchat? How do you see Snapchat evolving in the future?

Reference Material:

Snapchat for Beginners: 6 Ways To Use It For Business –

Making Sense of Snapchat for your Small Business

Guide to How Snapchat is being used today

Lets Chat… or Shall we Snap(chat)?


Snapchat, is this a new trend for young and up-comers in the industry? Is it simple to use or am I just too old for Snapchat? Is that an odd thing to ask at 26? 

With all the different types of Social media platforms out there it is hard for every business to be the best in every platform, however Snapchat is the number one way to reach the younger generation. This generation ranges from 13 to 34 years of age.

Snapchat defined by the atlantic “is a photo-sharing service with one key distinguishing feature: the photos you send disappear. Seconds after opening “snaps,” users can no longer access them and the images are deleted from the company’s servers.”

Snapchat was first made to send nude photos of yourself to others, since the photos could not be saved, it was a “safe” way of making sure those nudes didn’t end up in the wrong hands. However Snapchat quickly evolved and is now one of the fastest growing apps out there. The company tapped into a desire among younger internet users to be able to share photos without having it logged. It is stated that almost 350 million photos are shared on this device daily, that is a little less than seven times the number of pictures that instagram users post.

My question is, how does an app that was made to send nudes, help businesses?

Here are 7 ways that snapchat can help businesses and why your business needs to be using snapchat:

  1. Provide Access to Live Events; real-time social media marketing is key. It can give audience members direct access to live events, this can be anything from trade shows, to product launches to one of a kind events. With live access it gets your audience more excited as they have a different, more unique view of the event.
  2. Deliver Private Content; with snapchat you can show your audience special content that they might not be able to see on any other social media sites.  Certain brands will often use snapchat to show a sneak peek of the line before it is released.
  3. Offer promos and coupons; You can release contest on snapchat and have special promos that are only done through snapchat, this creates a buzz around your brand and that of your social media. Some contest you could do is take a snap of them using your product, chances are they will put that in their story and you will receive free advertisement.
  4. Its popular; Snapchat is one of the most used apps at the moment, you need to get your marketing in where you can. If people are using it now they will continue to use it in the future.
  5. Behind the scenes; by showing the audience a behind the scenes look into your company, makes you a little more human and less a big company. The audience wants to see how products are made, and the people working for the company, Snapchat can help make that happen for you.
  6. Quick tips; if you show quick tips on how to use your products, your audience is going to quickly grow, as they will be excited to see what else you can use your product for and any knowledge that you have. By showing this on social media, it makes the consumer feel like an insider on your product.
  7. Snapchat stories; Small business trends website states that snapchat stories are “One of the strongest tools for marketing on Snapchat is a story. These series of images and/or videos can be used to lay out a sequential campaign that sticks around for 24 hours.”

In conclusion, Snapchat is widely used by members aged 13-34. If you sell to the under 34 demographic, then snapchat is worth a serious look. Social media is key nowadays to market to the younger generation. Snapchat is the new thing, and to keep with the times, businesses need to jump on the Snapchat train and hold on until Snapchat makes it final trip.


COM0011 Blog 3 —Social Media and Poor Sleep: Cause or Effect?

Two recently completed research projects looked at the relation between social media use and sleep. While they came to two different conclusions, they seem to point to a potential spiral effect.

High social media use causes sleep problems

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh studied 1,788 Americans ages 19 to 32 from across the country in 2014. Participants filled out questionnaires about the time they spent each day on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, SnapChat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine and LinkedIn and the frequency each week. Researchers also assess sleep disturbances with an established scientific system.

On average, participants used social media about an hour per day and 30 times per week. Nearly 30 per cent had high levels of sleep disturbance.

Adjusting for socio-demographic differences, researchers found that participants in the highest 25 per cent of use per day were nearly twice as likely to have sleep disturbances as those in the lowest quartile. Participants in the highest 25 per cent of frequency per week were nearly three times as likely to have sleep problems as those in the lowest quartile. According to lead researcher Jessica C. Levenson:

“This may indicate that frequency of social media visits is a better predictor of sleep difficulty than overall time spent on social media…. If this is the case, then interventions that counter obsessive checking behavior may be most effective.”

The researcher team suggests physicians consider asking patients about social media habits when assessing sleep issues. Interestingly, though, they acknowledge the possibility that participants used social media to pass the time when they could not fall asleep or return to sleep.

Sleep problems cause high Facebook use

While a significant amount of research has looked at how technology affects sleep, researchers at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) turned the idea around and looked at how sleep affected technology usage.

The researchers collected data from 24 male and 42 female UCI undergraduate students for seven days during the spring of 2014. Taking into consideration the students’ gender, age, course load and deadlines, the team of researchers measured students’ behaviour, activities and stress levels. The team did this by using sensors and installing software on the participants’ computers and smart phones that logged and time stamped when they switched from one application window to another or used their phones. Students also completed a sleep survey each morning and an end-of-day survey each night.

The UCI team found that a lack of sleep — which causes tiredness, irritability (bad mood) and distractibility — leads to more frequent online activities, such as browsing Facebook. According to lead researcher Gloria Mark:

“When you get less sleep, you’re more prone to distraction…. If you’re being distracted, what do you do? You go to Facebook. It’s lightweight, it’s easy, and you’re tired.”

Mark and her team found that the less sleep students had, the more frequently their attention shifted among different computer screens, suggesting heightened distractibility.

The UCI researchers say their results reveal a direct link among chronic lack of sleep, worsening mood and greater reliance on Facebook browsing. The Pittsburgh researchers say high social media use is linked to sleep disturbances. So lack of sleep can cause higher social media use, which, in turn, can cause sleep problems, which, in turn, can cause… a spiralling problem. The question now becomes how best to break the spiral.

COMM 0015 Blog Post # 4 Out of the Box

So I admit it! I don’t get it! Snapchat is one of the most popular social media platforms these days, but I can’t fathom why something that disappears a few seconds after it is received, can have such wide appeal. But it does!

Old Guy in Glasses Looking at Phone Confused

Is it a fad, or is Snapchat here to stay? Well, this recent blog I read suggests it will be around for a while.

So, I wanted to know whether any colleges had figured out a way to utilize Snapchat as a recruitment tool? Most colleges are widely using social media to connect with prospective students, but how can you use a messaging system that has a shelf life of about ten seconds?

It turns out Time Magazine was also curious about the same thing. They found six American colleges and universities that were testing Snapchat as a means of letting applicants know they had been accepted into a program.

At a time when post-secondary schools are fighting to attract students, Snapchat is a good example of how some schools are thinking out of the box by connecting with students in their personal social space. With social media, that space can change in a heartbeat, and organizations that stay on top of these trends will benefit, while others will miss opportunities. With social media, there is no “box.”

COM0015 Blog #4: Thinking Outside the Ƀɸ͏͏͏Ж

Only a few years ago, Twitter and Facebook campaigns might have been the most innovative and cutting edge way to communicate with your target audience, but now things have changed. There is a noticeable trend of consumers taking interest in brands who use new, sometimes unconventional social media platforms to get their message across.



Here are a few brands that are absolutely killing it by thinking outside the box and some up-and-coming features that we see a lot of value in!

  • VINE + OREO: Vine is where video sharing is really thriving right now – every second at least five tweets published contain a Vine link (source: Unruly). It’s an extremely effective app in reaching consumers as well as entertaining them.

Oreo, specifically is doing some awesome stuff on Vine. Their frequent Vine content revolves mostly around clever #OreoSnackHacks and #OreoMagic videos. I’m also a big fan of their most recent video featuring the “Dunk Perfect Machine”!

Dunk Perfect Machine

Source: Oreo’s Vine Site

  • SNAPCHAT + GEOFILTERS: While many of us might have thought/hoped Snapchat was simply a fad, it’s clear now that is app has become a huge game changer for social media. Disappearing messaging is an emerging trend that is catching on like wildfire.

Snapchat recently launched Geofilters in Los Angeles and New York, but have yet to make their way to Canada (maybe soon!). This feature is relatively new but offers a lot from businesses. Geofilters allow you to add special filters for the location you are in. This will open up a lot of opportunities for brands to showcase their location on consumers’ snaps. For example, when you’re sending a snap from a place like Disneyland or perhaps a college you’ll be able to swipe right and add a Geofilter to your photo.

Source: Business Insider

Source: Business Insider

Thinking outside of the box is an important way to stand out amongst all of the noise. Creating intriguingly different content captures the attention of your audience and can help get your message across in a new and exciting way, hopefully resulting in more people than ever actively engaging with your brand!

SnapChat – Not Just For Inappropriate Photos

Working on our case study assignment got me thinking about ways in which companies have thought “outside the box” with social media based marketing campaigns. I came across a couple articles on a New York based frozen-yogurt company, 16 Handles, that used at the time, an up-and-coming mobile app, SnapChat, to offer customers discounted yogurt.


SnapChat Logo

SnapChat allows users to snap and share a photo with “friends,” but with one caveat—it disappears after up to 10 seconds. And from January 1–4 and 7–11, 2013, 16 Handles offered guests at participating units a chance to get 16, 50, or 100 percent off their yogurt purchase, simply by sending 16 Handles a SnapChat photo of themselves with their yogurt treats.


16 Handles SnapChat promotion

The chain came up with the idea to use SnapChat while designing a similar promo for Twitter, says Adam Britten, 16 Handles’ community manager.

“But it’s so much easier for a customer to steal a coupon that wasn’t necessarily intended for them, or for a customer to share it with their other friends on Twitter, because the images there last forever, whereas SnapChat is more instant,” he says. “It’s intended for that one person, and then also, we are the only person to see the customers photos.”

Not only did the promotion get guests talking about the brand, but the buzz also got 16 Handles some attention on other social media channels.

“We had our strongest week on Twitter ever during our SnapChat campaign,” Britten says. “We got way more Facebook likes in a day than we usually do, because we were putting ourselves out there in a new way in the social media space, and people took notice elsewhere.”

Britten says because the brand has a “young, socially active consumer base,” it wants to be an innovator on social-media platforms. And though he says there’s always a risk with employing new marketing platforms, the brand ultimately had little to lose.

“There wasn’t a lot of cost; we just had to make sure that our store employees were aware of what was going on and knew how to handle the promotion, and then it just involved our time monitoring it,” he says. “It wasn’t like we were building anything out that was too overly complicated or would absorb too much of our resources, so it was like, why not?”

SnapChat isn’t really built for marketers in the same sense as Facebook because it’s private, not broadcasted for everyone to see, and everyone to observe and criticize and critique and compare.

In my opinion, this is a clever way to appropriate an app that has a reputation as a conduit for teens and young adults to send inappropriate photos to one another,


Example of photo content created with SnapChat app.

Have you had any positive or negative experiences with SnapChat? Does the thought of your kids having access to an app like this make you nervous?