Snapchat, which debuted in September 2011, is a photo- and video-sharing service that differentiates from its competitors in one simple way: all messages shared between friends via Snapchat self-destruct and are never seen again.
In most situations, photo and video messages – Snaps – vanish between one and ten seconds after a receiver opens them (the time restriction is established by the sender), and if the Snap is not opened, it is automatically removed after 30 days.
The “Retry once per day” option for each individual Snap and Snapchat Stories are the sole exceptions to this rule. Snapchat users can apply filters, colorful text, and tags to photographs and videos before sharing them with other contacts.
Snapchat media is only available for a few seconds. However, if you rethink the time constraint and see it as an opportunity rather than a limitation, there are several ways to exploit it for effective marketing.
Consider this: When a consumer receives a Snapchat message from you, they are first anxious to discover what secret it contains, and second, they are aware that once they open it, they must pay great attention because it will soon go forever.
And if users don’t check the app on a daily basis, they will miss out on news, creating a sense of urgency to keep up with the explosive information, and it’s often addictive! By today’s standards, 10 seconds of undivided attention is priceless – especially in a media as personal as mobile. The best Snapchat content, like the best social media material, is designed to match the style with which the bulk of users utilizes the network.
Snapchat is all about having fun, sharing secrets, having little chats, and documenting “share-worthy” moments: Your clients will follow you if you promise them unique, real-time material, even if they are already doing so on other channels.
Snapchat is best suited for businesses that cater to a youthful demographic – adolescents and tweens dominate the platform. The platform had over 428 million active monthly users in 2021. Every day, an estimated 5 billion Snaps are created, according to Snapchat. That’s a lot of pictures and videos shared with friends and family every day!
Best Snapchat Marketing Tips
1. Ask simple questions
Because the ability to enter extensive text replies on Snapchat is restricted by time and space, the ideal questions to ask are those that are easy to digest and need a visual response, either via photo or video. For example, a shoe company may invite their supporters to “show us your shoes!” or “snap us a photo when you’re in store!” The faster and easier it is for fans to reply, the better.
2. Have fun, be funny
Snapchat’s primary demographic is teenagers and young adults, and the platform is dominated by fun and amusing material. If your brand image permits, don’t be afraid to have some fun – pull faces, doodle on top of your pictures, utilize Emoji to tell a tale, or surprise your audience with something that may raise an eyebrow or two! If you can catch fans’ imaginations in this way, they are more inclined to keep opening the photos you send… including the occasional promotional one.
3. Show sneak previews
Because of the brevity of Snapchat media, it’s a wonderful platform for offering a sneaky peek behind the curtain of your business, whether it’s news of a new product launch, an upcoming deal, or something else exclusive only to your Snapchat pals.
Tease out the content over numerous snaps if necessary to keep it digestible and to urge people to watch out for more. MTV UK employed this marketing technique multiple times to preview photo stills and video clips from the new season of Geordie Shore, its reality television show. The content was unique and impactful, prompting viewers to watch the show and visit the website.
4. Offer coupons and special offers
Use Snapchat to deliver your consumers time-limited coupons or special offers. Because the promotion will only be viewed for a few seconds, make sure your messaging is clear and concise, such as “10% off today only with promo code SNAP,” and consider sending out a “heads-up” snap to inform customers to the day and time that a promotion will be arriving in their inbox.
The 16 Handles ice cream chain took a unique approach to this technique. First, they encouraged consumers to send them a Snapchat snapshot of themselves eating the chain’s ice cream. 16 Handles would then respond with a discount voucher for their next purchase.
To receive a discount, the consumer had to keep the self-destructing message unopened until they placed their item at the register, then immediately show the clerk the coupon.
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
Snapchat Stories mode allows you to combine multiple snaps to create a 24-hour reel of material for all of your followers to watch over and over. When a snap submitted to your story is older than 24 hours, it disappears and must be updated with new photographs or videos if the tale is to remain current.
If no new content is added to your narrative, it will vanish when the most recent piece of content expires, necessitating the creation of a whole new story. Simply select the ‘+’ symbol after snapping a photo or recording a video with the app to contribute content to a narrative.
While the previous Snapchat content strategies in this chapter allow you to target specific individuals, stories are more of a “catch all” approach that allows followers to view collections of snaps multiple times, and they also act as a central hub to which you can direct fans when you want them to engage with your Snapchat efforts over a longer period of time and enjoy a more substantial narrative of events.
The Washington Wizards basketball team, for example, uses stories to capture game days, taking photos of the players coming, a glance of the locker room, half-time entertainment, and the final score.
Similarly, the fashion firm Jack Wills uses tales to allow fans to tag along all day at photo shoots for its newest clothing lines, while the online food-ordering business GrubHub uses stories to offer followers more time to catch its latest campaign blasts and coupon codes.
7. How to grow your Snapchat following – Snapcodes and friend referrals
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 at https://accounts.snapchat.com/accounts/snapcodes), 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. How to 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:
1). In a spreadsheet, list every user who adds you as a friend on Snapchat (use the Snapchatters Who Have Added Me menu to find them), and in the adjacent column, enter the date that they added you. Update this list once per day.
2). 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.
3). 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. 10% off their first order with code X 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.
4). 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.
Note: If you’re feeling brave, you can create multiple welcome and offer messages to A/B test which ones work the best, and continue to tweak them until your initial snaps are optimized. I’ll be the first to put my hands up and say that this is not the most efficient or eloquent of solutions for measuring the success of Snapchat marketing, but it’s one of the simplest and effective available to us so far.
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.
1). 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.
2). 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.
3). To add background music to video snaps, begin playing a track on your mobile (either one saved to your device or streamed in an app like Spotify), then open Snapchat and begin recording – the portion of the track that plays during the recording will be dubbed into the video automatically.
4). 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.