Social media marketing has become a great source of traffic for modern businesses, particularly those that target younger demographics. It’s rare to find a successful business that doesn’t engage with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. But one platform not typically viewed from a marketing perspective is Snapchat, the social media app that allows users to send self-destructive image and video messages with limited viewing time.
It may not seem like an ideal platform for marketing, but the stats may surprise you: Sumpto, a company focused on marketing for college-age people, found that 73% of college students would open a Snapchat of a family brand and 45 % would open one from an unknown brand. The app had 30 million users in December, had surpassed the number of users on Instagram in the US alone, and is in growing use abroad. Picture messages disappear as soon as a user views them, but there are still some interesting and novel marketing possibilities.
The most interesting thing about Snapchat is the immediacy of the experience. While there are solutions for saving the images, there is still a time limit on how long it will be in the app. As a marketer, you can add a sense of urgency. Try using Snapchat with some limited time discount codes, for example. Considering that images can only be displayed for up to ten seconds, keep the code short and easy to remember. However, the key to this strategy is to allow a short time to use the codes: a few hours or a day at the most. That way, users will know to open messages from you shortly after receiving them to avoid missing out on the goodies.
Keep in mind that Snapchat is used by many users for its high entertainment factor, so keep the content as funny, quirky, or surprising as you can to keep users’ attention on your Snaps. Snapchat itself can make it easier, allowing you to include captions and even draw on the image in different colors.
An example of a company that used Snapchat very well was 16 Handles, a frozen yogurt chain. The company created an account and announced an offer for customers to send a Snapchat of themselves to 16 Handles, and then they would get a Snap of a coupon code that they could only use while Snapchat was in the app – they couldn’t open it. until they went to pay. To add fun, the company sent different coupons to different users – 16% off, 50% off, and 100% off, so they didn’t know what they would get until they used the coupon.
McDonald’s also had a successful Snapchat campaign. One thing they did was use the “Story” feature, which allows you to create longer messages by putting together different pieces (although they are not aimed at particular users, but are available to everyone who is connected to the brand). The McDonald’s story provided a special access look at an upcoming ad campaign with great star power. They also informed their friends about the release date of a new product.
The takeaways here are the use of the Story platform for longer messages, and again an incentive to open your Snapchats – it could be behind-the-scenes information rather than a discount. This could take the form of a quick tour of an important part of the business, a greeting from someone (Snapchat videos are sound-enabled), or just pictures of fun things related to your business that the public wouldn’t otherwise see.
Another way to use Snapchat is giveaways. When you first start your Snapchat, you want people to add you to the app. One way to do this is to give away tickets to an event, for example. Advertise the giveaway on your site and other social media, and tell anyone who wants to enter the giveaway to add your business on Snapchat and send you a Snapchat with your username and a hashtag that you determine to represent your business. Then they have to get five of their friends to add your business and Snapchat an image with the same hashtag and the username of the friend they are helping to sign in. This helps you get new Snapchat connections and spread a hashtag that represents your business to users who may never have seen it before.
Snapchat is not a platform that you absolutely have to be on yet. The benefit is that your offers will not be buried under a flood of other similar offers, and you can reap the rewards. Keep in mind that the main demographic right now is teens and twentysomethings, so your ads will need to be screened accordingly.