Snapchat, the social network built on sending photos and videos to friends, that will self-destruct within 10 seconds of the time they are viewed. It also includes a chat function, much like Facebook messenger. Users also have the option to create a Snapchat “story”, which is nothing more than a 24-hour collection of photos and videos that users can choose to share only with their followers, or broadcast to the world. It has over 100 million users, and on any given day, the platform reaches 41% of all 18 to 34 year olds in the United States.
Let’s take a look at some of the numbers:
- 26 million active U.S. members
- Users send about 400 million snaps a day
- 70% of Snapchat users are women
- 18% of all iPhone owners are using Snapchat
- The core audience is between the ages of 13 and 25.
Snapchat is a prime social media channel for reaching and engaging with a Millennial audience. If you find your audience isn’t there, then obviously it’s not the channel for you, but, why else would you want to use it for your business?
One-on-One Engagement and Private Content
One of the things that sets Snapchat apart from the competition is that it allows you to have one-on-one engagement with your followers, something that many other social networks lack. Sure, there’s the Twitter DM, and Facebook Messenger, but these options aren’t as robust as sending snaps to individual followers.
With that individual Snaps feature, you can take advantage of the ability to deliver private content – special content your followers may not be able to get using other platforms. Fashion brands like Rebecca Minkoff use Snapchat to show off their new collections before they hit the runways – giving their most loyal fans a sneak preview of what’s to come before the rest of the world sees it. Check it out for yourself with username rebeccaminkoff.
You could even send personalized thank you videos to your most loyal customers, to show them how appreciative you are of their continued support.
Reach a Younger Audience
When Snapchat launched, the younger audience, particularly teens, left Facebook by the droves in favor of the new network. It resonated with them quite well as this is the only social network where they are consistently spending time. Facebook heard and responded with an offer to purchase Snapchat for $3 billion, which was declined.
Audi ran an ad during 2014’s Superbowl XLVIII – that’s Superbowl 48 for those who hate Roman numerals as much as I do – and partnered with Snapchat in an effort to reinforce their brand messaging with the Millennial market. Before the end of the game, they had gained over 5,500 followers, which remains one of the largest spikes seen in the mobile app’s history. You can watch the ad above.
Dove launched a “Self-Esteem Weekend” where followers were invited to share snaps of their insecurities – since those snaps would disappear within seconds. They hired a group of “self-esteem ambassadors” to respond to those snaps and give immediate feedback.
Influencers are on every social channel, and though the influencers on Snapchat may not be the same ones you’d find on Facebook or Instagram, they are a great way to increase your brand awareness. Partnering with the right Snapchat influencers can help you reach demographics that are harder to capture with traditional media.
The most skilled Snapchat influencers are great at creating video content that can enhance your brand personality and voice.
Popular food chain Cinnabon worked with snapchatters Evan Garber and Danny Berk to host a Snapchat takeover of the brand account. Together, they created a two minute long Snapchat story and asked fans to submit photos of their favorite sweet treat. That partnership helped Cinnabon get 2,000 new followers.
McDonald’s even reached out to LeBron James and let him do a Snapchat takeover of their account.
Show People Behind the Scenes
Whether it’s a company outing, a birthday party, or just a casual Friday afternoon, you can use Snapchat to provide a unique look at your company culture. There are countless possibilities here, but anytime you give people an inside look at what’s going on, it’s going to increase engagement, build trust, and improve credibility.
NFL team New Orleans Saints uses Snapchat to take advantage of the stories feature. The team joined in 2013, saying they’d use the platform to release behind-the-scenes footage, including photos of new merchandise, and a preview of what uniform the team will be wearing every week, and more. If you want to follow them – their username is Saints.
GrubHub, snapchat username grubhub, an online food ordering company, used Snapchat to find an intern to manage their own Snapchat account. With the Snapchat Stories feature, they posted a six image slideshow that explained how to apply, sending a snap of their best doodle.
If you want to use Snapchat as part of your strategy, but you’re not sure what kind of content will work best, you can start with curated content. All you have to do is look through the “Discover” section, and tap on one of the stories there. Once you find an image or video you want to share, simply tap and hold. Now, you’ll have the option to edit the content by adding your own text, emojis, and even your own drawings. You can turn off the sound for videos, the download the video or photo to your phone, and then send it as your own snap.
This is a particularly useful way to start engaging your following without having to record yourself, but you don’t want to abuse the option too much, because if your followers start to pick up on the lack of original content, you may start to fade away into the noise, in favor of more unique and original branded content.
Perks, Promotions, and Contests
Social media contests and promotions are everywhere, and social media is no different. This can be a great way to keep your followers coming back for more. Offer promo codes and discounts to the people who watch your entire Snapchat story, or ask them to post a snap while holding your product.
Taco Bell used Snapchat to announce the re-release of the Beefy Crunch Burrito. Anyone who was friends with the brand received a snap with a photo of the burrito and the release date. They used Twitter to encourage people to follow them on Snapchat to get the secret announcement. Their use of the network to announce the re-release earned them recognition in the 6th Annual Shorty Awards, as a finalist in Snapchat. Want to get in on the action for next time? Add username: tacobell.
The Brazilian division of Sprite, owned by Coca-Cola, decided to use their cans as a way to gain more Snapchat followers. They added their Snapchat QR codes to millions of their cans, in a campaign called RFRSH Na Lata (“refresh on the can” in Portuguese). The cans were paired with online videos, and a microsite where customers could submit their own Snapchat codes for a chance to be featured on the cans.
If you’ve got something special going on and you want to use some real-time social media marketing, you can give your audience direct access to live events. Use it for trade shows, product launches, and one-of-a-kind events.
Snapchat Live Stories allow all snapchatters who are attending the same event to contribute to the same story – which will remain live for 24 hours. So, if you want to provide different perspectives of the same event, get multiple employees on board to snap the experience from different angles and vantage points.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is also actively using Snapchat to connect with and engage their fans. They used Live Stories to post live updates of the Most Valuable Player award event, to make it more exciting and spread awareness.
Integrating Snapchat into Your Social Strategy
If you’ve decided you have the right audience to make investing time and energy into Snapchat for your business, it’s important to consider how you’ll integrate it into your existing strategy. There are countless ways to do this, including:
- Creating tutorials or offering a series of tips
- Hosting a contest
- Offering exclusive discounts and promotions to your followers
- Ask questions
- Answer the most frequently asked questions
- Flash sales
- Giving your audience a behind the scenes look at your business
When compared to the other social networks out there, Snapchat is unique, and while it may not be appropriate for all businesses, it certainly offers different ways to connect and engage with your audience.
Is your brand on Snapchat? How did you integrate it into your existing social strategy? How is it working out for you? Share your thoughts below.
Photo credit: Pixabay