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John Connolly

How You Should Use Snapchat to Market Your Business

John Connolly
How You Should Use Snapchat to Market Your Business

We live in a virtual Times Square of media and messaging these days. Though most CMOs may not consider Snapchat to be a social media contender yet, they really should. With more than 100 million users viewing more than eight billion videos daily for an average of 30 minutes, Snapchat is the new marketing success story.

Snapchat’s Audience: Who Are You People?

Snapchat is insanely popular with folks 35 and younger – some users even younger than that – making it an appealing platform for marketing professionals to target. Consider these additional statistics on Snapchat’s usage:

  • US social media users on Snapchat: 18 percent.
  • Users contributing content: 60 percent.
  • US millennial web users accessing site: 30 percent.
  • Average number of photo snaps shared every second on Snapchat: 9,000.
  • Snapchat users purchasing products online: 76 percent.

As you can see, SnapChat’s potential for marketing is best explained by numbers.

How to Use Snapchat to Reach Your Audience

There is a lot of untapped potential in using this app. Fast Food chain Taco Bell discovered Snapchat early on and adopted its fleeting nature of advertising to fits its needs, encouraging Taco Bell’s followers (at last count around 200,000) to keep coming back for more. Taco Bell did what most large brands have been afraid to do up until this point: adopt new and creative ways to reach their audiences.

Taco Bell has proven that a good ad campaign can log results via Snapchat. But how can the rest of us brands out there repeat their success? At first glance, it doesn’t seem like it would be a good fit for marketing brands. The whole point of the site is that you present something for 10 seconds, then it’s gone forever, right? Well, here are some creative ideas marketers have devised to meet this new challenge:

  • Offer Giveaways: Snapchat’s short-lived content shared in limited hits seems to be its greatest strength with audiences. Apart from promoting giveaways on other social media sites for new followers, marketers simply use Snapchat to ask their audience directly to participate in sending entries and then replying to them directly.
  • Ally Yourself with the Industry Mavens: Occasionally, brands collaborate with influential people to expand the reach of their products and services. Brands are known to collaborate with influential personalities to expand the reach of their products and services. Besides Taco Bell, Snapchat’s other brand followers include CNN, Food Network, MTV and People. For small and medium-sized businesses, you can discover users with big followings in your industry – and partner with them to promote your product and target your demographic in a more organic way.
  • Let Your Audience Pull Back the Curtains: More than any other social site or app, Snapchat’s audience is more likely to engage with behind-the-scenes content because it isn’t planned or polished in advance as content on other social media sites. Since this platform is used by a younger audience, you really need to relate to this demographic.
  • Use Q&A as a Lure: Since Snapchat is interactive, start a Q&A session to engage your followers. The fleeting nature of the site encourages quick responses and provides you unique ways to interact with audience members. Since there’s no way for you to share or retweet, you need to get creative with how you spread the word and build a solid following.
  • Use the Story Feature: Users have the option of turning their Snaps into stories. Brands have created stories and then later add new content. For example, one recent promotion showed a blurred image of a new product. As the hours and minutes ticked by, the product’s image became more and more visible– brilliant marketing idea.

What Types of Brands Should Use SnapChat?

If you’re still on the fence about Snapchat at this point, the question becomes ‘what brands shouldn’t be using Snapchat?’ Recently, Snapchat developers asked their users how often they would like to see branded content on the site. Their answer was simple and somewhat surprising; “fine, whenever it’s relevant.” So, the moral of the story: don’t spam your fans and keep whatever you’re peddling on-topic.

Snapchat truly has become a ‘brand barometer’ of sorts with its quick accounts telegraphing a brand’s tone, values, and priorities in a matter of ten seconds – its potential rivals any social media platform offered. It can also do one of two things – either shine light on the fact that you have no brand personality at all, or help you refine your brands presence, language and voice.


This Blog Will Self-Destruct in Ten Seconds

As a member of Generation X, I grew up amidst the advent of the mobile phone and the IBM word processor. I like to shop online, but only after reading reviews and doing a lot of research. If you think about it, Snapchat bridges that gap between the traditional ‘in-person’ conversations of my generation, and the conversations folks are having in their own social media circles. In my research, I ran across the “Gen X Guide to Snapchat.” I like the new, creative ways brands have learned to use the platform, but for the rest of us there is something known as “Snapchat-iquette,” a roadmap of sorts instructing Gen-Xers on how to use the site ‘correctly.’ However, much like my generation's own experience with this app, Snapchat marketing is a still largely uncharted territory – offering untapped possibilities for brands to grab the spotlight and grow their businesses – all within the span of ten seconds.

John Connolly


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