How Bauer radio station Kiss FM is using Snapchat

For media companies that haven’t landed a spot on Snapchat Discover, building up an organic presence is a steeper road. For Bauer Media’s youth-focussed radio station Kiss, that’s meant playing up unscripted moments and less polished fare.

“Our audience really like the not-so-glossy, behind-the-scenes look,” said Renée Alleyne, social media producer at Kiss Network. “Like an artist reaching the stage at a festival with a backdrop of lorries behind them: You couldn’t show that on Instagram but people love to see that on Snapchat. It’s the perfect platform give information in an organic and gritty way.”

Kiss has been using its Snapchat channel since January 2015, posting daily content from presenters — who are, helpfully, themselves millennials — talking about segments on air, snaps of artists when they come in, and particularly out at events and festivals. Within Bauer’s own stable, women’s lifestyle publisher The Debrief is the other main title consistently using the platform. Elsewhere, media companies like the BBC and ITV also use their own organic accounts to build following, but the market is still young.

On average Kiss Snapchat content receives 56,000 views a week, although for events, like last year’s Kiss Haunted House Party with headline act Rita Ora, the 41 snaps generated 120,000 views and 339 screenshots.

“It’s for something extra you’re not getting on other platforms,” added Alleyne. It also helps the media company that two thirds of all the videos played on Snapchat’s platform are played with the sound on, a fact a radio brand can play to its advantage.

Kiss Network, which has a Kiss TV channel on Sky and Freeview, digital radio stations like Kisstory and Kiss Fresh, and celebrity entertainment news videos made for social media, has been pushing itself as a multimedia platform — not just a terrestrial radio station — for some time, and two years ago brought in the tagline “hear it, see it, share it.” Until now Kiss’s entertainment news wasn’t available on Snapchat, but with the release of Memories, which lets users share and edit content later, Alleyne hopes to integrate it. Kiss Network has around 100 staffers, 40 of which are presenters. There is no dedicated Snapchat team, Alleyne supervises the account, and the presenters contribute to the snaps.

The answer ain’t nose picking; it’s singing (Rickie Haywood Williams from the Rickie, Melvin and Charlie Breakfast)

“It provides a different point of view for the same content,” said Alleyne, “Snapchat is important in that it’s the newest and everyone is using it. It’s the one changing the most often, there’s always an update with new lenses, different geofilter, it’s constantly moving and evolving.”

Ideally Kiss wanted to use the platform’s geofilters for its events, including a club night it holds regularly, Kisstory, but because Snapchat’s presence in the U.K. has previously been a small operation, creating bespoke campaigns for media companies has been tricky, according to Alleyne. Custom geofilters can be done for as little as $5 using Snapchat’s tool, and so go through an approval process, larger scale geofilters can be done with help from the platform. Kiss plans to have geofilters in place for its events at the end of August. From there, Alleyne is keen to create Kiss branded lenses and explore Discover partnerships, although said it is too soon to talk more specifically.

“As a brand we are inclusive, I like the thought of people adding their snaps to the overall experience. That said, that content we are sharing is still exclusive, like snaps from the side of the stage, ” she said. “We do have access but we wouldn’t be talking about it in a pretentious way.”

Kiss has been treading carefully with branded integrations, though, to preserve the user experience, something that the platform tries to maintain as well. “People don’t respond to well when ads are shoved down their throat,”she added.

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