Snapchat has gone a long way from being used solely as a private messaging app to a useful business tool.
Businesses, marketers and entrepreneurs around the world have adopted it as a source of new leads and sales—and they’re pretty happy with it too.
Let’s quickly cover the basics… Snapchat is a social media platform owned by Snap Inc. Created in 2011, it has since gained a massive base, reaching 320 million daily active users as of Q4 2021. There are many different types of content on the app, but most regular Snapchat users have only used it for sending short videos or images to friends.
But enough about what this powerful social media platform is, let’s dive right into how it can build brand awareness, reach a younger demographic, and help you grow your brand.
Why Snapchat is more than a personal social media app
Snapchat has always been thought of as a social app for private messaging. But over the years, marketers have become aware of its marketing potential and now use it to create content that targets customers in their teens and under 30s age range.
Snapchat’s user demographic is young, tech-savvy people—the perfect target audience for products and services trying to grow online.
Because ads on the platform take the full screen and appear between a Snapchat story, or ‘snaps’, they capture the user’s attention more than, say, a Facebook ad or a text-based ad on another social media platform. In a sense, they are more interactive and immersive than the main players in the paid digital ad space.
If this isn’t enough to convince you of the app’s marketing potential, then know this: Around 1.5% of the U.S. digital ad market share is being held by Snapchat, so it’s only fair to see why many businesses are using it as a key channel for advertising.
The power of ephemeral content
A key factor in why Snapchat gained popularity is the fleeting nature of the content shared by the many daily active users on the platform. In fact, this ‘ephemeral’ appeal has become quite the norm on Instagram and other social media platforms these days, simply because people like to share personal moments knowing that what they post will go away soon.
As mentioned earlier, ephemeral content is the perfect recipe for marketing success. Users know that the content they see on Snapchat won’t be around forever, so they’re more likely to pay attention and take action.
Top Snapchat marketing strategies to adopt
Given these facts, what are marketers doing on Snapchat to attract new customers? How can you use Snapchat for business yourself?
Today we’re going to answer these questions by taking a look at 13 different ways companies are using Snapchat, along with some great examples.
They include things like adding captions to your snaps with hashtags, linking up with influencers, and even creating custom filters specifically designed for your brand.
#1 – Post relevant content on your Snapchat business account
The first step to Snapchat marketing success is simply to create relevant content for the platform. To do this, you need to figure out what kind of audience your business attracts, and which type of Snapchat content would likely be most appealing to them.
For example, if your target market is young millennials who want quirky fashion tips, then posting images on Snapchat with short captions will work well. If your market is more tech-savvy men, then sending interesting videos or GIFs of your tech product might be a better idea.
#2 – Link up with influencers
Celebrities, media personalities, and other influencers already have a large following on social media. You need to leverage this opportunity.
If you allow someone else to take over your Snapchat account, you can expose your brand to a much wider audience. Some of these people may not even know your company existed until they saw an influencer talking about it.
You’ll most likely need to pay the influencer to do this unless you have some kind of other mutual agreement or common interest in whatever you’re promoting.
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#3 – Create a custom Snapchat filter or lens
Almost every social media platform is offering businesses a way to create custom filters. Your business can capitalise on this by creating relevant Snapchat lens or sponsored filters that help tell the story about your products and services. For example, an ice cream company could use unique emojis like ice cream cones or popsicles as the background graphics for its custom filter.
Perhaps the most extreme example of this is the sponsored filter by Taco Bell for Cinco de Mayo 2016. With over 224 million people engaging with the filter when it came out, the brand’s reach and impressions went off the charts.
#4 – Create a Snapchat geofilter
A geofilter is another name for the popular location-based filter that lets users put their current location within their snaps. You can also create your own Snapchat geofilters to give your brand more exposure to local customers.
For example, Gary Vaynerchuck used this feature during his #AskGaryVee book tour. He spent a little over $60 on this. What’s more, he targeted people specifically in key US cities. The result was a ton of engagement for his personal brand. The best part? Gary didn’t even tell or ask anyone to screenshot it – just seeing the filter made them curious enough to interact with it.
Snapchat ads via geofilters are an even greater opportunity if you’re a local business targeting customers within a small area.
#5 – Use SnapCodes in your offline ads
SnapCodes are unique QR codes that link back directly to the user’s Snapchat account when scanned using the app or camera. You can put a creative QR code anywhere you want. F
or example, an interior decorator might include one on a print ad. A cupcake bakery can do the same thing with their flyers so that customers get intrigued. You can use creative CTAs on your SnapCodes to convince people to scan the code.
#6 – Use contests to engage Snapchat users
A great way to get your Snapchat viewers engaged is to run contests using the app.
For example, you can ask people to post photos of themselves doing something silly with one of your products. You can ask them to come up with a caption for the photo, including both your brand name and the price of the product. Then choose an entry and reward that person with a freebie or discount coupon. Incentivising is most effective when targeting younger audiences who love sharing their lives online and getting free stuff out of it.
#7 – Promote your Snapchat business account on other social media platforms
Of course, you can leverage your existing accounts on other platforms and convert the average Snapchat user into an avid follower. Post reminders about your company’s Snapchat handle everywhere you can.
You can update your Twitter or Insta bio to include a link to your company’s Snapchat profile and make it easier for people to find you on Snapchat.
#8 – Take over other people’s Snapchat account
Taking over other people’s Snapchat accounts is a great way to collaborate with influencers or key opinion leaders in your niche. For example, music platform iHeartRadio has been doing this for years with pop stars Ariana Grande and Hailee Steinfeld.
#9 – Allow users to contribute their own work
It’s a proven tactic to feature user-generated content in social media channels. On Snapchat, this strategy is a great way to tap into the power of your audience – and one that can also strengthen your brand’s own content.
For example, you could create weekly challenges to encourage followers to contribute content on a specific theme or topic. You can use these images as part of your Snapchat marketing campaign with full credit given to the original user.
#10 – Deliver promo codes via your account
You can actually use your Snapchat account as a discount redemption page.
For example, if you’ve got an exclusive promo code that you want to deliver to customers through Snap ads, let people screenshot it and send you the image as proof when they purchase. They will be compelled to buy right away because they have to act before the codes disappear. This keeps your followers curious and engaged.
#11 – Generate exclusive content that can’t be found on other social media accounts
You can generate exclusive content for Snapchat that’s not available on the usual platforms. For example, your company might offer a peek at an unreleased product or service before anyone else. Or you could use it as a “backstage pass” for your audience if you’re participating in an event. Show them what it looks like behind the scenes, and share scenes that can capture their attention.
#12 – Respond to your followers
It’s part of great customer service to reply to every shoutout, comment, update or email no matter what it takes. If somebody sends you a private message about an inquiry on the product or service you offer, reply with a quick video response explaining that you’ll have it answered shortly. You might just land yourself another customer in the process!
Make sure that your Snapchat account is always on and ready to answer questions from newer customers, but keep in mind that attention spans are shorter here. If you try delivering a long story or a whole sales pitch, expect users to bounce and move on to the next thing.
#13 – Use third-party tools to complement your Snapchat strategy
Tools like GhostCodes are a great way to add value to your Snapchat marketing efforts. It’s beneficial for discovering or adding similar people in your industry, and it gives you an idea of what other categories are popular among your target audience.
Examples of great brands using Snapchat well
Here are other great examples of brands and personalities who are maximising the potential of Snapchat:
- ASOS — Obtained 20 million unique views during London Fashion Week 2018. Also does product previews and showcase their company culture
- Cara Delevingne — Launched the Burberry Snapchat account and uses her personal account to give fans a glimpse of her daily activities.
- Kylie Jenner — Provide insight into her day while promoting brand products.
With all these in mind, the best way to grow your following and build a successful Snapchat marketing strategy still boils down to being naturally interesting and crafting compelling stories. This takes time, a lot of planning and testing. However, if you can consistently add value to your audience, the followers will come and they will enjoy what you deliver on the platform.
So to those that can get the creative side and strategy correct, know that there are tons of opportunities to grow your company or personal brand here.
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