You’ve probably heard that you need to be active on Facebook and Twitter. Someone else swears by Instagram and Google+. What about Pinterest and YouTube? Now Snapchat is sticking its head out as well, trying to get your attention.

As a marketer or business owner, you only have so many hours in a day – you can’t possibly be on all the social media platforms. So, let’s break it down so you can understand what Snapchat is, who uses it, how you can use it for marketing, and the all-important question: should you be on it?

What Is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a photo and video messaging app. It’s extremely popular with teens and young adults – maybe it’s because they needed a platform their moms aren’t on yet. Snapchat was launched in 2011, and after they enjoyed great success Facebook made them an offer which they couldn’t refuse… ahem… they did refuse! $3 billion was not enough to make Snapchat’s founders part with their baby.

What makes Snapchat so unique is that your messages – or snaps – only last a brief moment before they self-destruct. It’s also fun. You can get creative with your snaps by applying filters to your photos and videos, adding emoticons and text on top of the snaps, and throwing in background music. And then there’s the doodle. A doodle lets you write or draw on top of your photos, so the options are endless.

Another popular feature is the story feature. With this, you can add a few snaps together in a stream which can be watched for 24 hours before it disappears. You can also decide whether you want your snaps to be public or private, and you can have video calls in real-time.

A really groundbreaking feature – in my opinion – is Snapcash. Snapcash is linked to your credit card so you can send money to your friends within seconds. Not everybody is equally excited about it though as it comes with security risks.

Discover is a feature used by editorial teams, such as magazines, which they use to put together stories that you can view for 24 hours. On there you’ll find the Daily Mail, National Geographic, MTV, Cosmopolitan, and many more well-known publications.

Why Do People Like It?

Ok, so what’s the point? If you still don’t get it, hang in there, it will all start to make sense in a mo.

  • Snapchat is quick. It’s the fastest way to share a moment or experience as and when it happens. Snapchat opens up in camera view, so you don’t need to search for the camera button while the moment is passing by.
  • It’s authentic. Because snaps aren’t permanent, it’s easier to share just about anything. Be honest, you don’t just add any old picture to Facebook or Instagram. It has to show your good side otherwise it doesn’t make the cut. With Snapchat, you just snap it like it is.
  • Snapchat happens in the moment. It can’t be fabricated. You can’t say: “had an amazing evening with amazing friends” when you actually had a boring evening with people you don’t even like. Snapchat asks: where’s the proof?
  • Snapchat encourages emotional connection. When you check in with your friends on Snapchat, you get a better sense of who they are and how their day went than what you get from a Facebook status update or an Instagram photo.
  • With Snapchat, you can start each day fresh, with a clean slate. You don’t need to worry about the drunken rant you had yesterday night, there is no record of it anymore, and you can start from scratch.
  • It’s fun. Or so my 15 year-old friends tell me.

Snapchat is where millennials hang out. If your target customer is a millennial, then you need to be on it. If not, well, it’s up to you to decide. And keep in mind that Snapchat is also growing in older demographics. Before you decide, let’s look at fun ways marketers use Snapchat.

How Do Marketers Use Snapchat?

So now that you know what Snapchat is, let’s see what you can do with it. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices going:

  • Create anticipation for an upcoming event. You can put together a story that creates buzz around an upcoming event.
  • Handling customer service issues. You can directly chat with a customer who has questions or is experiencing problems with your product. He or she can send you a picture on which you can immediately snapback, or you can show your customer how to use a product with the video feature in real-time.
  • Take your customers behind the scenes. If you’re a manufacturer, you can send them videos of your production facility and chat with some of the workers, all in real-time. It adds authenticity to your product since you have no time to edit out the things you don’t want them to see. Other behind the scenes ideas includes live concerts, fashion shows, trade shows, and interviews. These make your consumers feel included and special.
  • Create awareness for a campaign. The WWF did an excellent campaign where they showed videos of endangered animals with the caption: “Don’t let this be my last selfie”. With the Snapcash feature, you can even prompt your viewers to make donations after they watched the story.
  • Scoop it! News agencies can use it to highlight the top scoops of the day.
  • Run promotions on Snapchat. Ask your viewers to send in a video or picture while using your product, and when they do, you can send them a promo code.
  • Snapchat is perfect for product launches. You can create excitement with updates, behind the scenes footage, and give out promotions to create awareness and anticipation.

How to Make the Best of Your Snapchat Marketing Campaign

Snapchat is simple to use, but it also has some constraints you need to take into account when you work on your marketing strategy:

  • Every second counts. You only have a few moments to make an impression, so make sure you use the right words and footage.
  • Make it fun. Snapchat is all about fun. If you do boring, you’ll disappear in the sea of Snapchatters.
  • Understand your audience. Figure out what they like and what they don’t like or they’ll be gone in a minute.
  • Inject some personality. Snapchatters want to know who the face behind the phone is. Let it show.

Ready to Snap?

If you’re still not sure whether Snapchat is for you – we can help. If you need a Snapchat strategy, a social media strategy, or just a digital marketing strategy in general, schedule a complimentary session with Anna Colibri. We can help you inject some fun and personality into your digital marketing.