Yvan Rodic — better known as photographer and blogger, Facehunter — has been leveraging his social media savvy and keen eye for photography since 2006, when he launched one of the world's first streestyle blogs. Ever the innovator, Rodic is again on the frontier of social media marketing, championing a new full service agency built solely around Snapchat.
When I met Yvan several years ago, after holding his book launch at my old store and cafe, A Curious Teepee, it was obvious why he'd chosen social media as his medium. Rodic is a natural multi-tasker: He would be having a riveting conversation with one person, and still somehow manage to spot the next stylish person to walk into the room, snap their picture, post it, and go back to chatting without skipping a beat. Consummately curious and always switched on, I guess it's not surprising that he's become infatuated with the engaging ghost that is Snapchat. But to build a business around it — my big question was why?
Congratulations on your new agency, A Little Nation. It's an interesting name, what's the meaning behind it?
Calling ourselves A Little Nation is a symbolic way to say that we want to be more than just a company, we want to invent our culture.
What does it mean to be the world's first Snapchat agency?
It's an ambitious and humble desire to create content that people associate more with [pop] culture than typical marketing communication. We are the first agency and production company in the market that specifically helps brands to embrace the Snapchat revolution. The Venice Beach-based app has become the most powerful mobile social media platform over the last few months, and brands are just realising it right now, but don't necessarily know how to approach it. So it is a ginormous business opportunity. And surprisingly, no one has filled the gap yet. We are offering full services: Strategy, creative concepts, production and analytics for any Snapchat-centric project.
How did the idea come about and how did you get started?
A year ago, I started to get obsessed with Snapchat. People were asking me questions all the time about it. Then I realised how much curiosity and, at the same time, mystery, the application was generating. I have two friends, Nils Ringmar and Natan Zlotnik, who have a production company, Djurdansen, based in Stockholm that I work with a lot. We thought it would make sense to connect my social media skills with their production know-how to create a new entity. And since there was a massive need for Snapchat expertise, we became the experts.
What does your typical work day look like?
I don't have a typical day, but I often wake up in a plane for some reason. Brainstorming with my partners on Snapchat campaigns, editing pictures, updating my blogs and then going out to shoot either an event, a project or just on the street. Evenings are usually filled with art openings, fashion shows and socialising.
So how exactly does one use Snapchat as a marketing tool?
Snapchat is becoming a major entertainment destination for Millennials. People don't just login to find out what their friends have been up to, but more and more, to watch sports, games, concerts, awards ceremony, etc. Brands actually have multiple ways to be associated to this content. Besides having their own Snapchat account, they can use branded geofilters, lenses, appear on an influencer's channel, make their own Discover channel, or have commercials inserted in the Live or Discover sections. It's essential for brands to understand that Snapchat can't just be approached like any other social media platform. Because no pre-produced content can be uploaded on the app, all the content has to be created live so it requires a total custom-made strategy.
For the new generation, photos and videos are not memories anymore, they are more like a conversation, used to communicate a message only once.I'm sure some businesses might ask, why spend money on ephemeral content. What would you say to them?
How many times do you check out a picture on Instagram? Or how often do you scroll past content created more than 24hrs ago? On Snapchat, the FOMO excitement is much stronger than the potential fear of losing content. For the new generation, photos and videos are not memories anymore, they are more like a conversation, used to communicate a message only once. There are enough platforms out there where people can stock content, but Snapchat is all about being in the moment. The fact that the content is ephemeral gives people the comfort to create genuine footage that they probably wouldn't have shared otherwise. I believe that this is one of the key factors behind the app's success.
Has Snapchat greatly affected the way you see and do things? How does it complement the streetstyle photography you do as Facehunter?
On my blogs and other social media platforms, I'm sharing more proper art directed images, but not always instantly. Snapchat is allowing me — without much effort — to post more genuine, quasi-live, experiences and adventures. In some ways, I give away more of my personality on Snapchat and people enjoy that. Snapchat footage is not perfect, but it's real and live. This is what people are craving.
In which countries do you see the most growth for Snapchat and your agency's services?
Europe, Brazil and the Middle East are going crazy for it and South East Asia is picking up.
Who are some of the influencers you work with at the moment?
We just collaborated with Susie Bubble for Emilio Pucci.
Do you ever feel overwhelmed by social media and the need to be constantly switched on and plugged in?
Of course. We are all becoming 'FOMO-slaves'. It's the beginning of an era in which human beings will need, more than ever, to digital detox. But in the meantime, how can you resist being connected?
Please share with our Buro readers, five tips on how best to use Snapchat.
1. Be a storyteller: Create snaps in a sequence, not one snap and than another one. Link them in some way.
2. Play with all the effects: Mix-and-match snaps with type, or emojis, a bit of slow-mo here and fast-forward there. And sometimes, try adding some drawings to your snaps.
3. Please be funny and weird: People don't want to follow a boring account.
4. It's OK to not post every second: Focus on the highlights of your day or week.
5. Follow the Snapchat King: DJ Khaled (see below).