Is Jack Settleman the First True Snapchat Star?
Every type of content creator comes with its own stereotype. YouTubers are long-winded and love a good call-out video. Instagram influencers are heavily curated with cliche captions. TikTok stars are … all over the place. But in its eight years of existence, Snapchat has yet to produce a well-known star based solely on their use of the app.
That was by design. Until this September, users could browse news and videos or send messages to their friends, but nobody had a standalone profile of their own to point people to. Now Snapchat content can live permanently on a brand or creator’s profile page. Jack Settleman, for one, is taking full advantage of it.
The 23-year-old is the face of SnapBack Sports, the largest sports page on Snapchat. It features opinions, highlights, memes, and conversations with his audience. In just three years, Settleman turned what started as an ecommerce design store into a brand with over 10 billion video views on Snapchat. He’s expanded it into all the expected areas: a podcast, Instagram, Twitter. But Settleman remains loyal to Snap.
“My core audience is on Snapchat. I want to be on Snapchat,” he says in a phone call. “Driving to other platforms isn't fun. It's not beneficial.”
Now, utilizing Snapchat’s creator profile feature, he sees a future where Snapchat can be SnapBack Sports’ only hub—pioneering what it could mean to truly be a “Snapchat star.”
Why do you think we don’t hear much about Snapchat stars?
Snapchat has its own stardom within itself. And while at this time it may not be Instagram-famous or something like that, it really has given me by far the best way to interact with an audience. Being able to respond to them and [earn] a fan for life, you don't really get that on a ton of other platforms. On Twitter you would have to send out a million different tweet replies. On Snapchat I can really zoom through and give these people the time of day, which I think is unique.
I’ve spoken to influencers who are sometimes frustrated that brands only care about Instagram. How have you navigated brand deals with Snapchat?
Originally the brands I would work with were ones that were looking for app installs or downloads and I specialize in that. I could drive you, you know, 10,000 app installs for a quarter of the price [of] an Instagram ad. What we weren't seeing right off the bat was, like, Pepsi coming to us and looking for what you would see as your typical influencer advertisement. But now we've really proved how effective Snap [is], and we've worked with Nerf, Wendy's, Puma—all the big brands that you would see on Instagram.
How have you utilized Snapchat’s new profile feature?
[I post] evergreen content on the profile page and it’s also a way to monetize. The Shopify integration within Snap is incredible. On your profile, you can put some of your top [merch] designs and people flip through and they're like, “Oh, I can shop right here on Snapchat.” In terms of content, I'll put pictures of me interviewing an athlete for the podcast and that's going to catch someone's eye.
There have been a lot of new apps and changes this year. What do you think the future of being a social media creator looks like?
One of the biggest things that I've noticed is this concept of owning your audience. If Snapchat went away tomorrow, or if Instagram went away tomorrow, who really would have ownership of that audience? What you start to see are platforms like Patreon, or even OnlyFans. Number two is where I think Snap is moving, which is giving you all the tools to create and make money. If I can create content that lives longform on the platform, if I can go live on the platform, if I could have people listen to the podcast on the platform, these are all things that no one platform can do.