Social media connects consumers directly with a digital product and/or service. That kind of reach, coupled with instant gratification, has changed how businesses offer products and services and even how they establish business structures. Take Snapchat, or Snap Inc., as it is now called. The company is now a camera company, not a social media company. On March 2 it went public and earned $3.4 billion on the first day of trading.
What follows is a quick timeline explaining how a social media app transformed into a high-tech company. Here’s a hint: self-confidence and adherence to a core mission.
By now, most people know that the Snapchat app distinguished itself from other social media apps by making pictures and posts disappear. For teens, whose social media is prone to adult monitoring, this fulfilled an essential need. It took some time before the app caught on, but once it did the number of Snapchat users surpassed the number of Poke users, the Facebook competitor. When Facebook offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion, Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel turned it down. That’s the example of self-confidence.
An example of core mission adherence is seen throughout Snapchat’s evolution. When Snapchat offered new services to remain competitive, they stuck with their original mission. They stuck with photos and pictures. From geo-filters to funny filters and photo-based stories, Snapchat never offered extraneous options or branched out into non-photo-based services.
Before going public, Snap Labs was hard at work on smart glasses. These glasses are meant to take pictures. Simultaneously, Snapchat shifted its industry description. It is now a camera company. Social media companies and start-ups should pay attention. Snap’s social media has become a platform for its products. The platform is no longer the product. Photos, not social media, were always the core mission.