Just like Twitter or Facebook were when they first came out, Snapchat still seems foreign and new to most businesses.
However, even though its focus is on sending photo and video messages one at a time (which also expire after a time period you set), it can be difficult to see the potential benefits of this popular social networking app, which remains one of the most popular downloads in both the Apple and Android app stores.
However, there are several benefits to using Snapchat to announce new products, humanize your company, and stand out from your competition.
How Businesses Can Use Snapchat
Showcase New Products
This is one way Taco Bell uses Snapchat, and they do it so well. Usually, they have employees showcase new products through several snaps, creating a Snapchat story of the product and why customers should go check it out as soon as possible.
In a recent Adweek article about Taco Bell’s dominance of Snapchat, a spokesman says they have a 80% open rate on the snaps they send, which is unheard of for any other marketing method, from email to Twitter.
Taco Bell is successful on Snapchat because they talk in the language of the main audience that is using the app– millennials and teens who make up the 16-35 age bracket. In the example Adweek gives:
They use emojis, something which is a major part of the texting language of the 18-35s age bracket. If you speak in the right language without seeming condescending or desperate, Snapchat users won’t mind engaging with your brand.
Send Out Exclusive Promotions
The frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles is in the Snapchat Marketing Hall of Fame for their campaign, which gave customers a unique and varying discount when they visited one of their stores and opened the snap from the company at the register. The customer didn’t know how large of a discounting they were receiving until they were about to pay for their yogurt.
For companies that have an eCommerce or store presence, this can be a great way to capitalize on the fleeting nature of Snapchat, while also engaging with users on the new platform. Because Snapchat doesn’t allow you to send snaps to users who haven’t added you back, you are already dealing with a more engaged user base (because they had to accept you as a friend first).
This can help you reward loyalty as well as help you build up your audience base on the social app.
Provide Quick Video Answers to Customer Questions
Another way to communicate with your audience that many companies aren’t doing yet is to provide real time assistance or interactions in 2-10 second photos or videos.
Let’s say a user snaps you a photo of your product still in its packaging, saying it is too hard to unwrap. If there is a quick way to show them your product’s exclusive opener tab that makes it easy, a photo or video demonstrating it would be a great way to answer their question while also establishing your brand’s trust and dedication toward happy customers.
It also doesn’t hurt to be proactive about it…send a snap of where your store is if the directions are confusing or direct users to where your latest coupon is in this week’s newspaper.
Show How Fun It Is Behind The Scenes
Like most social networks, Snapchat was created in the spirit of having fun while connecting with the people users love most. Companies who will be successful at Snapchat should heed this same spirit if they want their campaigns to be successful.
One way to do this is to use your Snapchat account to show users things they normally wouldn’t see on other social networks or through most marketing campaigns. This gives them a reason to interact with you on the platform. One good example of this is the NFL team the Philadelphia Eagles, which has thousands of connected users and uses Snapchat to share new products or footage of locker room sing-a-longs and game prep.
Stand Out From Your Competition
One major thing Snapchat has going for it is that not many companies are using it (though the numbers are growing steadily). If you get ahead of now, you will not only be a Snapchat pro by the time the rest of those in your field are still learning how to use it, but you’ll be able to harness the latest features Snapchat releases, like building stories with multiple snaps, chat, and the ability to show breaking news (which is a feature Snapchat is working on).
With a userbase in the millions and a valuation of $10 billion, Snapchat is a viable social platform that shouldn’t be ignored by most businesses.
Snapchat Photo via Shutterstock
OK – I feel officially old because Snapchat is still very foreign to me. Maybe its because I don’t typically market to millennials (and alas I am not one either), but I guess its another one that is growing in popularity that I better add into the mix!
Thanks for the nice overview of how other businesses are using it to get a basic understanding!
Diane: I hear you! I feel “old” too. 😉 My podcast show co-host, Lotta Gergils Aston, has brought up the idea to test out Snapchat for exclusive podcast content. It could be for example a mindfulness tip for a stressful small business owner, or a trend spotting analysis. Do you know of other tools you could use for extra material for “premium” clients / brand ambassadors / patrons of the art? I have a page on Patreon for Ego NetCast.
Great article! As a social media marketer myself, I didn’t see the potential with Snapchat. What do you think about Meerkat?
Though I have heard of snapchat, I have never used it. I thought that it was a tool for teenagers to send embarrassing (e.g. stupid stuff or nude stuff) images or videos to their friends. At least that is what the drunk teenagers on the train seem to be doing and talking about.
I did not think of it as a marketing tool. I guess if your target market are on snapchat then that is where you should be!
Haven’t tried Snapchat yet but I am learning so much about it. I guess I should jump into the trend now. It may be a good platform for some businesses.