The mobile app, Snapchat also called self destructing app, launched in September 2011, is a photo and video-sharing service centered on one simple premise that is worlds apart from its rivals: all messages shared between friends via Snapchat will self-destruct, never to be seen again.
In most cases, photo and video messages – Snaps – will disappear in few seconds after being opened by a recipient, and if the Snap is not opened, it will automatically delete itself after 30 days. The only exceptions to this rule are a “one-time repeat per day” option for any single snap, and Snapchat Stories. Before sharing content with fellow contacts, Snapchat users have the option to add filters, and annotate photos and video with colorful text and markers.
While media shared via Snapchat only exists for a matter of seconds, if you switch your thinking to view the time limit as an opportunity rather than a limitation, there are plenty of ways that it can be used for effective marketing. Think about it this way: when a customer is notified of a Snapchat message from you, first they’re excited about what mystery it holds and secondly they know that as soon as they open it, they need to pay close attention as it will soon disappear forever.
And if they don’t keep checking the app daily, they’ll miss messages, creating sense of urgency to keep up with fleeting information, and often – it’s addictive!
Like all social media such as Facebook, Instagram, the best Snapchat content is framed in a way that mirrors the style that the majority of its users take advantage of the platform. Where Snapchat is concerned, this involves humor, sharing secrets, having fun, holding small conversations, and capturing “share worthy” moments: the promise of one-of-a-kind, real-time content is your customer’s incentive to follow you, even if they already do on other channels.
Snapchat is best for businesses whose audience is young and teens. Let’s look at some ways that you can make the most of Snapchat for your business…
1. Ask Simple Questions
As the ability to type long text replies is limited by time and space on Snapchat, the best kind of questions to ask are those that are easy to digest and demand a visual response, either by photo or video.
For example, a shoe brand might ask their fans something as simple as “Show us your shoes!” or “Snap us a photo when you’re in store!” The quicker and easier you make it for fans to respond, the better.
- Been in :Love?
- Send me a shirtless picture?
- Are you a freak?
Suggested Read: 10 Tips for a Successful YouTube Channel
2. Have fun, Be Funny
Snapchat’s majority audience is teenagers and young adults, and the app is dominated by fun and humorous pieces of content. If your brand image allows, don’t be afraid to have a little fun – pull faces, doodle on top of your snaps, use Emoji to tell a story, or surprise your audience with something that might raise an eyebrow or two!
If you can capture the imagination of fans in this way, the more likely they are to keep opening the snaps you send… which means the odd promotional one, too.
3. Show Sneak Previews
Snapchat media’s brevity makes it a great platform for showing a sneaky peak behind the curtain of your business, whether it’s news of a new product launch, an upcoming offer, or something else exclusive only to your friends on the app.
If needs be, tease out the content over the course of several snaps to keep it digestible and to encourage people to look out for more.
Many companies used this marketing method several times to preview photo stills and video clips. The content was memorable and impactful, reminding people to watch the program and visit its website.
4. Offer Coupons and Special Offers
Use Snapchat as a way to send out time-limited coupons or special offers to your customers. As the promotion will be seen so briefly, make sure that your message is extra clear and succinct, e.g. “50% off today only with promo code SNAP50” and consider sending out a “heads-up” snap to alert people to the day and time that a promotion will be landing in their inbox.
5. Hold a Snapchat Contest
As you know, contest can be a highly effective way to boost engagement and awareness of your brand on social media, and it is no different on Snapchat. Here are several methods you can use:
- Scavenger hunt: Share photo or video clues to a secret destination, either in the real world or online, and allow your followers to compete to be the first to find it.
- Word or picture quiz: Send out word or picture clues over a set period of time, building up to a way that followers can win a prize, e.g. visiting a special page on your site to enter a keyword revealed over the course of a week, or by sending back a specific snap.
- First snap wins: Send out a photo or video asking followers to snap back something specific or tweet you a screen grab from a snap, and the first one to do it wins a prize.
6. Take Advantage of Snapchat Stories
The Snapchat Stories mode allows you to join multiple snaps together to create a rolling 24-hour reel of content for all of your followers to enjoy again and again. When any snap added to your story ages over 24 hours, it disappears and must be replaced with new photos or videos if you want the story to remain active.
If no new content is added to your story, it will disappear once the newest piece of content expires, and a whole new story will need to be created. To add content to a story, just choose the ‘+’ icon after taking a photo or recording a video with the app.
7. Grow Your Snapchat Following
Other than the obvious “market your Snapchat presence and username everywhere” (following is made easy courtesy of your profile’s Snapcode, which when photographed by a customer using the app’s built-in camera, will add you automatically – grab an editable, printable version, one of the simplest ways to encourage the growth of your audience on Snapchat is to ask existing followers to encourage their friends to add you on the app.
When asking existing fans to refer their friends, make sure you get them to snap you the name of the friend who will be adding you, and when they do, send both users a little reward as a thanks (discount code, unique content, etc.)
8. Combine Snapchat With Other Social Channels
Given Snapchat’s fluid and destructive form of messaging, it often helps to combine the app with other social networks as a way to switch up or more easily preserve the momentum of your strategy.
For example, you could launch a contest using a Snapchat story, but ask fans to submit their entries to you via Instagram or Twitter, using an @mention and a specific hashtag. Not only would this help you tell how effective your Snapchat marketing is, but also provide some extra exposure on other social networks.
9. Track Customers on Snapchat and Measure ROI
Unlike some of its rivals, Snapchat does not yet feature a dedicated set of tools for businesses to manage and track detailed analytics on the app – you can only see how many people viewed your Stories, and how many people took a screenshot of one. Since this is a task most brands will want to carry out, some out-of-the-box thinking is needed until a time when official means of carrying it out is possible. Here’s one strategy that I suggest:
In a spreadsheet, list every user who adds you as a friend on Snapchat, and in the adjacent column, enter the date that they added you. Update this list once per day.
After updating the list, send out a welcome message to the people who added you as a friend within the last 24 hours. Thank them for adding you as a friend and tell them to look out for an offer from you soon. In a new column on your spreadsheet called “Welcome Message,” add a check mark next to the users who have received a welcome message.
Within 48 hours of a new user adding you as a friend, send out one or more offer snaps to them depending on how much space you need. In it, feature a specific discount code, hashtag, or shortened URL that you can track visits to or mentions of, e.g. 50% off their first order with code A or free shipping if they tweet with the hashtag #X, etc.
If you think your customers will be receptive to it, point them to a sign-up form for your newsletter, too. In a new column on your spreadsheet titled “Offer,” place a check mark to all new fans who have received the offer snap.
Schedule and send out more general pieces of content to all of the fans who have received welcome and offer snaps in order to keep them familiar and engaged with your brand on Snapchat. Mark these as sent next to the relevant usernames in your spreadsheet, then repeat from the beginning.
10. Quick and Effective Snapchat Content Creation Tips
To make the most of visuals on Snapchat, do this first: Navigate straight to Settings (cog icon), tap “Manage” under the Additional Services option and turn on Filters, and Special Text.
After taking a photo, swipe left or right to overlay a handful of filters, a time stamp, and the current temperature. For the latter two filters to work, make sure that Location Settings are enabled in the main Settings of your mobile device.
Need to access the black or white paintbrush when doodling? Place your finger over the color palette and drag down towards the bottom of the screen until the black hue appears, or – similarly – hold your finger down and drag it off to the left of the screen to enable the white brush. In addition, you can make text captions big and bold by tapping the “T” icon. Tap twice (in either mode) to center it.
To add background music to video snaps, begin playing a track on your mobile, then open Snapchat and begin recording – the portion of the track that plays during the recording will be dubbed into the video automatically.
After taking a photo or shooting a video, click the “download arrow” icon to save the media to your mobile device. Media can be shared to other social networks to promote your Snapchat content, like attaching it to a tweet or Facebook post, creating an album of Snapchat photos to tell the story of a day, or stitching video clips together to create a vlog for uploading to YouTube.