How Can Marketers Use Snapchat?

Social Media Marketing | How to use Snapchat as a brand

You probably know Snapchat as this trending mobile app that millennials use to send each other pictures they would not publish anywhere else. But in reality, it's not just used by twenty-somethings, and it can serve for many other purposes.

1. First steps:

(If you already use Snapchat, you can skip this part)
First Steps with Snapchat
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The main difference between Snapchat and other similar platforms is that it self-destroys the content after a short period of time, so it gives a better sense of privacy and security.
Users determine how many seconds (from 1 to 10) the recipient can see each snap, before it gets deleted. The longest a snap can be displayed on Snapchat is 24 hours, when it is featured as a "story".

Snapchat can be used as any other messenger app, to exchange instant messages between friends. But what is really interesting, especially for brands, are those stories.

Stories are short videos or still photos that you can share with your audience for 24 hours. They are grouped together so others can watch them as a summary of everything you did during the day.

Taking your first snaps

The first screen that you'll see on Snapchat is the camera. You can use either of your phone cameras, the one pointing at you, or one at the back of your phone.
From the main camera screen, you can take a snap by tapping the circle at the bottom. And if you want to take a video, you just have to hold the circle down.

Once you have a snap or video that you like, you can add text, emojis, draw on it, and add filters and tags.
You can send that snap to specific contacts or publish them to your story.

How can your audience connect with you on Snapchat?

Snapchat has one very cool feature: your profile picture is also a QR code. You can add friends just by scanning their profile pictures from the app. So, if you spread your "QR-pic" on other social channels or feature it on your website, that's a very easy and fun way to invite followers to connect.
Another way is searching for the brand's Snapchat username. Not so fun, but equally effective. Therefore, make sure you choose a memorable username.

Check this video for some extra tips by Gary Vaynerchuk on how to grow your audience on Snapchat.

2. Should your business be on Snapchat? Why?

Top brands on Snapchat | Brands you should be following

Based on the way it works, one could think that Snapchat is an app focused on privacy, with little or no use for businesses. But many brands have already proved it is possible to use it as an effective branding and marketing tool.

Here are some positive aspects of Snapchat that you should consider:

  • The quality expectations on Snapchat are different from other social networks. The content is disposable, so it isn't expected to be perfect. On other platforms, you don't want to upload anything you don't feel proud of, but here it's going to disappear so it doesn't matter so much. It's supposed to look and feel more spontaneous and fun.
  • You can upload content you wouldn't normally share anywhere else, like behind-the-scenes snaps.
  • The (real or not) spontaneous feel of Snapchat can help brands connect with their audience and build trust in a different way.
  • The 24-hour time limit creates a sense of urgency that marketers should embrace. Eventually, your audience will learn that they need to check your Snapchat on a regular basis to find cool offers or special content.
  • Stories are not the only way to share content. You can also send messages directly to anyone in your contact list. They will be notified. It is a direct way to connect with your audience, almost like e-mail marketing.

Some of the real numbers behind Snapchat:

  • Snapchat has over 100 million daily active users.
  • Nearly 9000 snaps are shared every second.
  • Only 2-3% of businesses which are active on social media are currently using Snapchat. It is a golden opportunity to become one of the early adopters.
  • Most of Snapchat users don't perceive it as a way to interact with brands. Still, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't try. Know your audience, find out if they are on Snapchat, and experiment to find the best way to connect with them.
  • It is the fastest growing social network.
  • About three-quarters of the total users of Snapchat are millenials.
  • Roughly 70% of Snapchat users are women.
    Find more statistics at DRM.

3. Snapchat campaign ideas by brands doing it right:

What can brands share on Snapchat? Some of the most common cases of use include holding contests, sharing a sneak peak of a new product, coupons, behind-the-scenes snaps, photos of new members to introduce them, and targeted videos.
Here are some examples of real campaigns to inspire you.

Disney and McDonald's influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a great way to promote products or events on Snapchat. Influencers know their audience best, and they usually come up with creative ideas to promote it while being entertaining. You just need to find the right person, someone who will feel genuinely excited about trying and promoting your product.

Taco Bell's millenial-friendly campaigns

Taco Bell on Snapchat

Taco Bell has developed a solid content strategy on Snapchat in order to connect with millennials. Their campaigns are interactive, they look spontaneous, and have an element of fun. Also, they don't repeat the same ideas or the same content. Some examples are the 'Doodle War' and content related to their "Happier Hours" and "Fourth Meal" offers.

WWF's campaign #LastSelfie

WWF on Snapchat | LastSelfie campaign

World Wildlife Fund, along with their partner agency UncleGrey, and 41?29!, used the 10 second-disappearing snaps in order to illustrate the disappearance of endangered species. Thanks to this clever and moving campaign, they reached their goal for the entire month in just 3 days.

Jameson and Target's Geofilters

Snapchat Geofilters by Jameson and Target

Another cool feature that you should try is geofilters. They are special filters that you can use on your snaps based on your location. You can create a custom geofilter promoting your store or a special event, for example, and make it public for people in that area to use.

Target created a Christmas campaign sharing one different geofilter each day of the holidays. They were nicely designed, festive, and served to promote the company as well.

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