We get it, Snapchat is definitely a big deal. With over 100 million active users and 6 billion video views every day, it’s clear to any marketer that this is could be a bandwagon you should be jumping on.
But how exactly can brands harness the success of Snapchat and utilise it within their marketing mix, without coming across like a parent gate-crashing a teenager’s birthday party? And equally importantly, is it worth doing?
Know your audience
What is key to remember about Snapchat as a platform is that it’s mainly composed of teens and millennials – 45% of users are between 18 and 24 years old. So if this is your target audience, then you should definitely consider using the channel. Even if it isn’t, it’s worth noting that most predict that Snapchat will soon grow beyond this demographic, and of course, it won’t be long until Snapchat’s users of today will tomorrow grow into your target audience, if they aren’t already.
In order to succeed on Snapchat, brands need to ensure that they are talking to the platform’s primary demographic in the right way, which may require a slightly different approach to other social media channels. Authenticity is also very important on this platform, and brands who come across as too corporate do so at their peril. So, how do you get it right?
Forget what you know about time
The beauty of Snapchat is that unlike other social networks, it doesn’t matter when you post your content, as Snaps stay unopened until your followers have time to view them. Although they disappear quickly (up to 10 seconds after you start to play) in comparison to the shelf-life of content on other social media platforms (e.g. Pinterest), the sense of urgency created by this short shelf life is what actually gives you an advantage here, as you can enjoy users’ undivided attention.
Reveal your brand’s human side
As with any platform, you’ll want to create content for Snapchat in preparation for your launch. What works best here is giving users a valuable glimpse behind the scenes into your brand or a sneak peek at a new product before it launches. User generated content – which can be sourced by asking your fans to send you pictures or videos of them using your product – can be repurposed as Snaps sent back out to your audience, too. Doing so allows your brand advocates to feel rewarded and the Snaps provide promotional and even educational content for the rest of your followers.
There are many functions within Snaps, including the ability to write and draw on pictures, which make them a great option for brands wanting to show their personality. It’s key for marketers to embrace the playful nature of the platform if they want to engage with users. The unique medium of Snaps and their short shelf life can actually help brands create a narrative and tell a story. For example, a series of Snaps sent out in succession can be a clever way of getting users to sit up and pay attention, and be more impactful than one or two longer posts on other social media channels.
For brands who have found their feet with the platform and are looking for the next step in Snapchat success, Geofilters or Sponsored Lenses are a great option. Both allow your followers to utilise your brand’s creative assets for their own Snaps, which not only puts you in front of a huge number of users, but for every one of them that makes use of the filter and Snaps it onto their own followers, your increase your potential brand awareness reach again!
In short, Snapchat allows brands to surprise and delight users in a way not yet replicated on other social media channels, so if 18-24 year olds are your target users and having fun with your audience is your bag, it’s probably time to get Snapchatting. However, its important to remember that the benefits of Snapchat lie in engagement, and you aren’t going to see much in the way of analytics from the platform. So, if your business goals are strictly commercial, you might want to be sensible about how much time and resource you devote to the channel.