Digital Marketing Interview Series with the Founder and CEO of Sniply
In this interview, Sniply founder and CEO Mike Cheng talks about the importance of content marketing and how he thinks marketing professionals must adapt to new trends.
What do you see as the most important skills for today’s marketing teams?It’s a really interesting time to be a marketer right now. The return on investment for conventional marketing strategies have been gradually declining over time. Billboards and radio spots lost their popularity to pop-ups and banner ads. Now, pop-ups and banner ads are losing their effectiveness as well. The best marketing teams today focus on everything content. Content marketing, sponsored content, native advertising within content—all content related.
What are two or three trends in the coming 12 months that will impact social media managers and why?The reason that the world of content has grown so vastly within such a short period of time is due to the virality of social networks. Things get shared, things go viral, and massive companies have been built through these simple activities. The previous trend was to get more ‘likes’ and more followers to build up your audience and enhance your reach.
The new trend is to ask “so what?” What will you do with your followers? How will you keep them engaged? Most importantly, how will you convert them into a customer? In the past few years, companies have invested in building social reach, and now they’re desperate trying to understand their return on investment. A million followers sound great, but what’s the ROI?
How did you begin your career at Sniply? What is your background?My background is in digital entrepreneurship and product design. Prior to Sniply, I ran several other startups where social media was a core part of our marketing strategies. I spent a lot of time as a content curator, picking out valuable and relevant content to build an engaged follower base. One day, someone asked me what my ROI was for all the time I spent curating content. Despite spending so many hours doing this, I simply didn’t have an answer. I then realized that in order for there to be tangible ROI with content curation, there needs to be a conversion opportunity. Henceforth, I started working on a new technology that could enable conversions through every piece of content I share. Over time, that became Sniply and we’ve generated over 15 million clicks for our users since.
What advice would you give to young people who want to manage social media marketing programs?Social media marketing is half about your passion in building relationships, and half about your understanding of technology. The key to becoming a successful social media marketer in today’s world is to always leverage new tools and apps to scale online relationships. Take the time to experiment with different tools and always keep an eye out for new product launches. At Sniply, we do a lot of integration work with numerous apps, and we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing the difference between users who utilize a network of tools and those who stick with the basics.
What excites you the most about your industry?The most exciting thing about the industry is that it’s changing so rapidly. The internet opened up a whole new world and now social media is taking that world to the next level. A few years ago, your news feed was still stacked with status updates. Nowadays, most of what you’ll find will be articles shared by your connections. This trend has enabled new business opportunities, which is why Sniply exists in the first place. The rate of change is a little frightening, but also absolutely exhilarating. Startups like us need to always be on our toes and take the data we gather today to decipher what the future holds. It’s a lot of work but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Michael Cheng, CEO of Sniply
Michael is a serial entrepreneur who has founded over 10 companies, projects, and organizations throughout his career. He is the founder of Sniply, WittyCookie, Beta Collective, Covr.fm, Needle HR, QC Productions, TEDxSFU, Dinstinct Marketing, Rush Entertainment, and other ventures across various sectors.
Michael has been featured on Maclean’s Magazine as one of Canada’s Future Leaders, on BCBusiness Magazine as one of Top 30 Under 30, and on 24 Hours as one of Top 24 Under 24. He also earned the title of SFU Entrepreneur of the Year and received awards including the Next 36 Satchu Prize, Coast Capital Venture Prize, and Surrey Business Excellence Award.
As a thought leader in entrepreneurship, Michael has been a keynote speaker for organizations such as the United Nations Association of Canada and the Thiel Fellowship. He is also a judge of the Enactus Student Entrepreneur National Competition and the SFU Entrepreneur of the Year Competition.