Jul 21, 2016

A Beginner’s Guide to Snapchat for Business

by Digital Marketing Institute

A few years ago, Snapchat was simply a way for millennials to keep themselves entertained, send the occasional questionable selfie, and share other short-lived content. As the app’s messages “self-destruct” after a few seconds, users appreciated the novelty and security unique to this app.

But things have changed. At four years old, Snapchat now has over 150 million users – making it bigger than Twitter. And while the majority of these users are still females between the ages of 13 and 34, the demographic is quickly expanding into older (and male) audiences.

Despite the rapid growth and massive audience available on Snapchat, businesses and marketers have been slow to adopt the platform for promotional purposes. After all, how can you make videos and photos that disappear within 10 seconds to 24 hours a worthwhile investment?

As it turns out, it’s not impossible to leverage Snapchat in order to create a lasting impression of your brand on its users! From Starbucks to taco trucks, businesses of every size, in every industry are discovering valuable, affordable ways in which to incorporate Snapchat into their social media strategies.

Below, we’ll outline how your business can benefit from and implement effective Snapchat marketing, whatever your budget.

Why should your business use Snapchat?

Considering that 41% of 18-34 year olds in the US watch over 10 billion videos on Snapchat every day, and 76% of Snapchat users made a purchase online within the last month, there’s a lot of opportunity to introduce your brand to willing and eager potential customers. Snapchat’s audience is young, active, and technologically competent.

With 51% of US internet visits occurring on mobile devices, connecting with consumers through Snapchat and other mobile apps is no longer a novelty – mobile is an essential component of any business’s marketing plan in 2016.

Fortunately, marketing through Snapchat can be accessible to any business with any budget. As with most social media platforms, there are both free and paid ways to access this growing community.

Snapchat advertising: free methods

Although Snapchat requires a bit more effort than the occasional status update on Facebook or Twitter, it’s still possible to connect with and grow a Snapchat following without a substantial investment.

If you’re looking to connect with your community in a new way, without increasing your advertising budget, consider implementing one or more of the following three strategies:

1. Share behind the scenes footage

What's going on in the office, during the holidays or after hours? Snapchat users love receiving exclusive insights into the brands they follow - so give that to them!

Share the personality behind your brand to your Snapchat users and you'll be able to connect and develop enduring, meaningful relationships with some of your most enthusiastic fans.

2. Offer coupons and discounts

Snapchat is the king of flash sales. Take advantage of the ability to create messages that disappear within 24 hours to offer specials, coupons, and discounts to drive followers onto your website or into your store.

If followers become accustomed to receiving frequent deals through your Snapchat account, they will certainly check in on a regular basis – making it easy to share additional insights about your brand and products and build customer engagement and loyalty.

3. Tell stories

Snapchat Stories consist of short videos that remain visible for 24 hours on a public newsfeed. Therefore, any story has the ability to go viral as friends will be eager to share whatever they think is fun or entertaining.

As a business, you can make the most of this feature by creating short video skits, how-to's, or other forms of engaging content to captivate your audience. This isn’t a place to overtly advertise, but a funny video about your product just might go viral.

Snapchat advertising: paid methods

If you wish to gain a bit more traction from your Snapchat account then there are several great paid advertising options on Snapchat that are very platform-specific.

1. Snap Ads

Snap ads are probably the most traditional method of paid advertising through Snapchat and could be compared to pre-roll ads on YouTube.

Essentially, between stories, a 10 second Snap Ad video will play – and the user has the option to swipe up if they would like to learn more by visiting a longer video, article, or app. Snapchat claims that these ads convert at a rate 5 times higher than traditional banner ads – making it a very effective advertising option.

2. Snapchat Sponsored Lenses

Snapchat offers you fun filters, known as lenses, that you can add to your videos and images – from dog ears, to funny glasses, to blizzards. Whether you want to be a king, or a racecar driver, Snapchat has lenses that can help your dreams come true!

Businesses have the option to sponsor lenses that users can use when taking videos and pictures. For example, Starbucks created a drink image that could be added into any Snapchat, Gatorade made it possible for anyone to get virtually dunked (like the Super Bowl coaches), and Taco Bell gave users the opportunity to turn their heads into tacos!

The average user interacts with a brand’s lens for 20 seconds – and often shares images and videos implementing the lens. This makes lenses a highly visible and interactive marketing tactic.

3. Snapchat Geofilters

Snapchat’s Geofilters allow Snapchatters to add location-specific filters and frames to their content – provided they’re in that particular area. This offers a unique way to “stamp” an image with proof that you were actually at the stated location.

Businesses can sponsor Geofilters, allowing users to add their frame or filters to pictures that they take while at or near the business.

Geofilters can cost anywhere from $5 to hundreds of thousands for national campaigns. However, a single day national campaign can reach 40-60% of Snapchat users – making it another highly impactful marketing opportunity!

How will you implement Snapchat?

As you can see from the techniques we’ve explored in this article – Snapchat can be a highly effective tool for both free and paid campaigns. Although this unique social media platform can seem intimidating at first, once you have a firm understanding of the basics, Snapchat has the ability to be an incredibly visually impactful medium to promote your brand.

As you consider the examples listed above, and think of your own brand, how do you think you would be able to use Snapchat to further expand your business?

Develop a detailed understanding of key social media specialisms including content marketing, and platforms on which you can promote your content.

Upgrade to Power Membership to continue your access to thousands of articles, toolkits, podcasts, lessons and much much more.
Become a Power Member

CPD points available

This content is eligible for CPD points. Please sign in if you wish to track this in your account.