5 Easy Ways to Use Snapchat for your Business
By Michael Pomposello
As a reluctant millennial, it took me a long time to understand the appeal of Snapchat that was so quickly gaining in popularity amongst people in my age group and teenagers. After downloading the app to my phone and getting myself set up with it I quickly fell in love with the app. I use it several times a day to see what my friends are up to.
What is Snapchat and how does it work?
Snapchat is a social media app that focuses on letting you share a picture or video with your friends. What makes it different from other social media apps is that the content that you post is intended to only be viewed once by the person you are sending it to and only for a very limited time. For a video, the time is the duration of the video and for pictures you can choose to display it for between 1 and 10 seconds.
Content can also be posted to your story, where it will be visible and replayable by your friends for 24 hours. Another fun feature is that text can be added on top of any image or video that you post, as well as drawing on it with your finger.
So what about Snapchat appeals to millennials?
Personally, what I love about Snapchat is that the content from my friends is ALWAYS fresh. If I don’t check it for a few days, when I come back to it the content will only be from no more than 24 hours prior to checking. This is unlike Facebook, Instagram and twitter where you can see posts from any time in the past. I also like that the content is a blend of photo, video with small text overlays. This is said to also be one of the major appeals of Instagram – there’s no long text blocks to read when you have a picture saying “a thousand words.” I like that the content isn’t meant to be shared outside my circle of friends. In the unlikely event a screenshot of my content is taken, I’m instantly alerted by the person who took the screenshot. While I can use the “My Story” feature, which posts my Snaps to be public to all of my friends for 24 hours, I mostly take snaps and send them directly to my friends who it’s most relevant to. This means less clutter for all of my other acquaintances and more targeted messaging for the people who do receive it.
How Can Brands Benefit from Snapchat?
Before you can start reaching people on Snapchat, make sure you are promoting your handle! Just as with all of the other social media platforms, encourage your customers to follow you on Snapchat. Give them your handle and be sure to share your Snapcode wherever possible. This is crucial because unlike other social platforms where you can have a public profile that gets discovered by people looking for relevant content, your content will only be viewable by your friends.
Here are 5 ways that brands can immediately start telling their story on Snapchat:
- Story Content: One of the best features of the daily “Story” you can put out is that you don’t have to get it all done in one take. Your story is a string of continuously playing snaps that you post over the course of the day. This is great because you can post several videos in a row that will work out to feel just like one long video. Use your story to push informative content or show behind-the-scenes. Personally, I believe that what gets posted to Instagram is typically best-foot-forward content whereas I look at Snapchat as more “behind the scenes.” Don’t be afraid to be yourself while still being professional and informative. Unlike other social channels which are so easy to share and can live on forever, Snapchat content is almost impossible to share and will be gone within 24 hours so while you still want to maintain a positive image, any faux pas will likely go away without becoming a blown up issue.
- Send personalized Snaps to individual customers: one of the best features of Snapchat is that you can record a video or take a picture and instantly send it to a group of people privately. You can use this feature to record special content and send it to a certain group of people and no one else will know. Imagine how powerful this level of intimate contact can be? Picture being a customer of a brand and receiving a notification from Snapchat that the brand sent you a Snap – open it to find a video of the owner thanking you for your business and giving you a specialized code to mention on your next visit for a VIP promotion. Even if you’re not personalizing this to each person by name, the impact is still very strong.
- Send something to screenshot: The ONE way that you can save something off of Snapchat is taking a screenshot of your screen while the content is visible. Use this to post some type of promo to either your story or direct to some customers and tell them to screenshot it and bring it in for a special discount. You will have some insight into how many people acted on it because you will be notified when they take the screenshots.
- Send an expiring in-store promo: Since snaps expire once viewed, you can send a “secret” promo by telling customers beforehand to expect a snap from you and to NOT open it until they are at checkout. Send these customers a promo for some % off their order that they can have the cashier open in store. This means they’d have to be at checkout before even knowing what the discount will be. This can drive in store actions through curiosity.
- Sponsored filters: are people coming into your location and posting pictures on Snapchat? Even better, are those pictures or videos winding up in your city’s local story? If so, you may want to invest in a sponsored filter. This filter will appear when customers are recording content in your location during the days and hours that you have ordered the sponsored filter. As they flip through the filters they will have the opportunity to add the filter that mentions your brand!
How are you using Snapchat as part of your brand’s social content strategy?