As early as March, Snapchat began inviting select creators to private meetings at its headquarters in Venice Beach to discuss partnership opportunities. Sources close to the situation confirm that multiple influencers have been contacted, leaving some excited and others unimpressed.
After years of being dismissed with “Snapchat is for friends, not creators,” it’s no surprise that business-minded creators would be suspicious. Snap is facing serious competition from Facebook and Instagram—and creators know it—making sudden, onset appreciation for creators seem disingenuous.
“I think this is an effort to bring creators back to the platform, which will certainly work to an extent,” a Snapchat creator contacted by the company who requested to remain anonymous told ION. “Being ‘verified’ on any platform absolutely gives a user–especially a content creator–a sense of validation in their work, which in turn makes them more inclined to continue posting.
“However, Snapchat’s historical lack of interest in helping their creators is only really half of what has been making us shift our focus elsewhere. Views have been steadily dropping for almost a year now, despite a constant growth in our following. Unless getting an emoji next to our username truly grabs the attention of our audience and more people actually watch our content, I think it might be too little too late.”
Many Snapchat creators ignored by the company have simply focused on other platforms in favor of verification, analytics and creator support.
Cyrene Quiamco, aka “CyreneQ,” a Snapchat artist with over 100,000 followers, for years had her help requests ignored while traditional celebrities were fawned over. Earlier this year, Snapchat reached out to her for a meeting at the company’s headquarters, where she was given a branded backpack full of swag, a pair of Spectacles and her long-awaited verification emoji.
“I was like, ‘Wow, they actually acknowledged me, they’re the ones reaching out to me,'” Quiamco told Business Insider.
Despite Snapchat’s claims of keeping the app “just for friends,” the company has introduced numerous features that say otherwise, giving influencers mixed messages. The newly-added paperclip feature allows users to add links to their Stories. Being able to save Stories, record with Spectacles and location-based features also allude to partnership opportunities.
Now that Snapchat is realizing the importance of influencers on its platform, it sends a message to creators and brands alike that the popular app for young consumers is ready to do business. For veteran creators on the platform, however, Snapchat is going to have to make up for lost time–a branded backpack may not be enough to win back trust.