Building acquaintance brands via Snapchat for the college student market

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College students are inseparable from their smartphones, and heavily engaged in Snapchat. This social media app allows low-consequence expression: messages disappear within 10 seconds to 24 hours of their receipt, depending on the content. Because college students seem strongly attracted to Snapchat, the implications for brand managers interested in reaching this target market deserve exploration. Four focus groups of self-described heavy users show that this media app allows college students to enter the virtual Snapchatverse and find a sweet spot of acquaintances. The sweet spot is associated with feelings of relatability, inclusion, and effortlessness and has the potential to produce empowering experiences. The verbal protocols of college students suggest that Snapchat is an ideal social media for developing acquaintance brands: brands that aim to make themselves part of an inclusive, feel-good experience or highly relatable acquaintances.



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