The 126-year-old Wall Street Journal isn't exactly known as a first-read for millennials. And yet, the venerable Journal has set up shop on Snapchat in order to introduce the brand to a new, younger audience, said Executive Emerging Media Editor Carla Zanoni at a session of Social Media Week in New York Tuesday.
Despite Snapchat users' penchant for a feature that lets them puke rainbows, the Journal is staying true to its serious feel.
“It’s a misunderstanding that young people aren’t interested in business, markets and smart analysis. They’re not looking for someone that’s vomiting rainbows … that’s not what we’re going to do,” said Zanoni.
Instead, the Journal treats its Snapchat account and its channel of Snapchat’s exclusive Discover network as an extension of its paper. “I think it’s a new storytelling platform. It’s a mobile platform. We want to go where our audience is,” she said.
Snapchat touts more than 100 million daily active users and claims that an estimated 86 percent of them in the United States are between the ages of 13 and 34. The Journal signed on to Discover, joining a network of 22 other media companies, earlier this year.
However, not every media company and not every brand is on Snapchat, which Bridget Evans, account director at digital creative agency VaynerMedia, says is a missed chance. “I think there’s so much opportunity for brands to get attention,” Evans said.
In fact, one of the Journal’s most popular stories on Snapchat was a guide on how to use the app, a sign that the Journal is introducing its audience to the ephemeral messaging service.
But it's not just media brands taking advantage.
American Airlines uses the app to share footage from company executives traveling to exclusive parties that the company traditionally has not shared footage from. “This gives us the opportunity to tell the stories that we’ve never been able to tell before,” said Aaron Wolfe, social media specialist at American Airlines.
— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) February 22, 2016
For events, American Airlines broadcasts some from Twitter’s live-streaming app Periscope. But Wolfe claimed that Snapchat can be more powerful for the company because it lets them tell the story of an entire event.
Those posts would not be shared on Facebook or Twitter, but the companies did say that they see great value in what Twitter provides. For example, MTV’s Sarah Epler said fans of the media network will share screenshots of their Snapchat posts on Twitter. “It’s almost like a game,” Epler said. “It’s similar to what we see with television. They’ll go to Twitter to talk about it with us.”
— one_direction12 (@1d1321) February 14, 2016
The Journal’s Zanoni personally responds to tweets about her company’s Snapchat Discover channel on weekends. Her channel only publishes on weekdays and so, on Saturdays, Twitter users will often tweet at the Journal asking where it went.
“I respond to everyone personally that we didn’t just disappear,” Zanoni said. It’s also helped provide feedback on whether to publish daily, which she says the Journal is still considering.