A Dummy’s Guide to Snapchat

It seems every time the world gets to grips with one social media platform, another comes along and pushes all we thought we knew aside. Snapchat is by no means new but it is still very much underground in the world of social marketing. There’s a view that it’s just for teenagers to send funny selfies to each other, but a growing number of big brands and celebrities have seen and utilised its marketing potential. There’s no denying that Snapchat is more of a niche than the likes of Facebook and Twitter, but it could work for your business. Read our how-to guide and try it for yourself.

Say hello to Snapchat

To many business owners, Facebook and Twitter are enough, Instagram is a push, and Snapchat is the property of the youth and as alien as the terms ‘on fleek’ and ‘bae’. They don’t know what it is and they have little interest in finding out. But failing to explore new marketing trends that may be perfect for your business could be holding you back.

The app is described as ‘fast and fun mobile conversation’. It’s simple to understand and use. Once you’ve downloaded the app (for free on Android or iOS devices) and signed up using your email address and set your business name as your username, you’re ready to get going. The first thing Snapchat will prompt you to do is add friends… or you’ll be sending snaps to no one. Any contacts in your phone that use Snapchat will appear and you’ll have the option to add them. You can also add friends by their username if it’s known. You may initially want to just add a few close friends or family members as your guinea pigs while you’re getting to grips with the app. Once you’re set up and confident, you can announce your username on your other social media platforms so customers can add you or share their usernames with you.

Getting snappy

Snapchat allows you to take photos and videos, which can be viewed for a maximum of 10 seconds before vanishing forever. There is also the option to add your photos and videos to your ‘story’. This can be viewed by all your Snapchat friends for 24 hours before it vanishes. Don’t worry if you create a really great Snapchat – you can save it to your camera roll and share it elsewhere across social media.

Test Snapchat’s features and send snaps to your ‘guinea pig’ group before you start targeting your customer base. You can doodle across snaps, add text and filters, the time, and even instant message, showing an innovative and more personal side behind your business.

So how have big brands used these features to engage customers? One particularly popular way Snapchat has been used is to offer sneak previews. Make-up giant, NARS, for example, used Snapchat to promote a big new collection. Only those who added the NARS Snapchat account before a certain time had access to the content, making it totally exclusive to Snapchat. If you have an exciting new product launch coming up or even an event, Snapchat is a great way to rally up excitement with it short teasers. Your snaps can encourage your customers to engage with further content, such as People magazine do below, forcing users to scroll to the next ‘snap’ if they want to find out who the mystery celebrity is.

Big news sites, such as People, have utilised Snapchat to share their features and stories in quick bursts on Snapchat’s ‘Discover’ page. Why does this work so well? Quite simply, our lives in a fast-paced digital world have affected our attention spans. We want everything instantly and we want to digest information as quickly as possible.

Other brands have used Snapchat to share offers with customers or run competitions. For example, you can send a snap to customers asking for their best drawing of one of your products with the best snap winning the product. Sending vouchers and offers to customers is also a popular use of Snapchat. These offers will most certainly have a time limit, due to the self-destruct feature. Acknowledging the fact that these offers and coupons are limited, Snapchat users will have an incentive to always remain up-to-date with the company account and their offers.

Is it right for my business?

You’ve seen what Snapchat can do, but how do you know it’s right for your business? Apply the same marketing guidelines to Snapchat as you would to any other campaign. The majority of Snapchat users are 15-25 so if this age bracket doesn’t fall into your target audience, then Snapchat is not the right tool for your business. Think about your audience demographics. Where do they like to spend their time, and what do they like doing? Refer back to our previous blog about setting your marketing guidelines and defining your target audience for a helping hand.

You may consider conducting market research to find out where your target market gets their brand information and how they like to consume it. This will open your eyes to the different possibilities of social marketing. For example, if they’re fans of consuming information visually then Snapchat is certainly a marketing tool to try out..

We don’t use Snapchat because our audience don’t, but if you think it’s for you and want to find out more, come and have a chat with us.

Where is your next breakthrough coming from?

Spaces, 156 Great Charles Street Queensway,


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