Tips for Brands on Snapchat

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I would bet you have now heard about Snapchat, but like a lot of marketers, you could use some Snapchat tips for your business. There’s probably some of you who may even need a primer on exactly what Snapchat is and how it works.

As you may know, Snapchat has taken over the world of social media and now boasts more than 100 million active daily users along with more than 7 billion video views. And, all of this growth has come in a relatively short amount of time as Snapchat was launched in September 2011. This makes it the fastest-growing social media platform to date. So, Snapchat, as far as social media is concerned, is now very much mainstream and is a platform that marketers should take seriously, especially if your brand targets Millennials.

To lend a little perspective on the reach of Snapchat, take a recent campaign from Gatorade. During the Super Bowl, Gatorade sponsored a Lens on Snapchat and generated more than 100 million views. That is almost as many people who watched the Super Bowl live on TV (112 million).

So, What is Snapchat?

Social media is all about preserving moments. That is the norm. However, Snapchat goes against the grain as every moment is temporary. According to Gary Vaynerchuk, this actually makes Snapchat the most real-to-life social media platform, because it mimics the way people communicate when face to face. For example, if you have a hallway conversation with someone, that conversation does not last forever. It disappears and is a temporary interaction. That is exactly what Snapchat does. You send a Snap to someone, and it only lasts between 1 to 10 seconds after it has been viewed by a friend.

The Snapchat 101

There are three predominate features of Snapchat: snaps, stories and chat.

Snaps are disappearing photos and videos and the main function of the platform. When you send a snap to a friend, you can make it last anywhere between 1 to 10 seconds once it has been viewed. Then, presto! It is gone forever.

A story is just a collection of different snaps, be it photos or videos, which are played one after the other. Unlike snaps that are sent to individual friends, stories can be viewed by anyone who follows you. It is in creating these short, digestible and entertaining stories that brands can create the most organic engagement. Stories last 24 hours after being posted and people who follow you can re-watch them as many times as they like during that time period.

Chat is another feature offered by Snapchat. However, unlike other chat or messaging apps, chats on Snapchat disappear once you have read them. Again, this is more like true face-to-face conversation.

Snapchat Lenses and Filters

Photo messages are what drives Snapchat. As result, there are many different features that allow users to apply different lenses and filters to their snaps or videos to make them fun. These can be fun animations or text that you overlay on a photo or selfie.

Marketers can sponsor lenses and it is one of the primary ways that Snapchat makes money. This is what Gatorade did for the Super Bowl. They sponsored a lens that made it look like you were getting a celebratory Gatorade shower.

Filters also allow users to enhance their content when they swipe right after recording a video or taking a picture. Geofilters are a new feature for snaps that can only be accessed in certain locations. These geofilters can be created by anyone and submitted to Snapchat for review and inclusion. As a brand, you can create a sponsored on-demand geofilter. This allows brands to create their own unique filter that will be available in a specific location for a specific period of time. These sponsored geofilters are the best option for small, local business to gain attention in their area among Snapchat users.

Tips for Brands on Snapchat

Create Value Through a Variety of Content

Be fun, creative and experiment. The audience on Snapchat skews younger as 45% are under 25 years old. If you always do the same old thing with similar stories, the users will begin to ignore you which means less impressions. In Snapchat, you really have to know your audience and how they engage with the platform. It is sort of like the old days of radio and TV. If you missed a show, it was not on again. With your Snapchat stories, they are only available for 24 hours after you publish them. You need to make your stories “cannot miss content.” Creating a schedule and letting your followers know what to expect from you each day is a great tactic. Perhaps you have Motivational Mondays or Tasty Tuesdays.

Make Users Anticipate Important Messages

One of the best ways brands can use Snapchat is to deliver important messages and announcements. You can share the URL you’d  like users to use and even ask them to take a screenshot as a way to drive action. But, if you are asking them to take a screenshot, give them a heads up so they know it is coming, such as having a message with “screenshot the next snap.”

Use Other Social Media to Promote Your Snapchat

There is no public friends feed on Snapchat. So, the best way to build your audience is through your pre-existing followers on other social media channels. A lot of brands change their profile picture on Facebook or Twitter to their Snapchat QR code. Or, some use automated direct messages from Twitter to provide a value proposition as to why they should also follow you on Snapchat. Also, take screen shots from your Snaps and promote them across your other networks. This is especially effective on Instagram.

Use your Own Content to Promote Snapchat

Create some Snapchat-focused content such as a Vine, YouTube video or blog posts. Then, insert your Snapchat username and profile link as a way to drive new followers. In fact, mine is griffinof74.

How to Use This Information

Like a lot of social media, you get back what you put into it. It has to be the right tool for you and your company. If you are a retailer or product that targets younger adults, then creating Snapchat content could be a great investment. But, you have to be willing to invest in that time to create valuable content (i.e. stories). Snapchat is a growing platform that is seeing rapid adoption. Getting onto emerging platforms early and mastering them for your brand can create great returns in the long run. But it has to align with your overall digital marketing strategy and goals. We can help with that alignment and implementation. Call us today at 303-300-2640.

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