Snapchat is a social media platform that is image and video based. You “snap” an image or a video and then you either send it to one particular person, or more people. Or, you can add it to a “story”, which lasts for 24 hours that anyone can view, depending on your privacy settings.
Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown (no longer with the company) got the idea for Snapchat when sending photos to a girl and wishing they’d just disappear immediately. Yes, it started out as a dating or “hookup” app. The idea that started as Pictaboo then became Snapchat when the three realized that with venture capital help, the huge potential of the idea for individuals and businesses that aren’t looking for a hook up was there. It launched in its current incarnation in 2011.
As the third most used Internet app, now worth an estimated 15 billion dollars, it’s a very powerful solution for many different types of businesses, whether large or small, online or offline. Now corporations, small businesses and individuals wanting to expand awareness of their brand, or just have fun, use Snapchat on a daily basis successfully.
How it Works
One of the biggest questions people often ask is; what is Snapchat and how in the world does it work? Also, what’s the point? Even though it’s immensely popular, especially with young people, many people just don’t get it. As a marketer it behooves you to get to know this app and learn how to use it. It can be a very powerful force in your business.
As mentioned above, it is essentially a photo and video messaging app. Think Twitter, but with video and images. The thing that makes Snapchat unique is that everything only lasts a short time and then disappears forever. Today, the more than 100 million active users are sending more than 700,000 massages, called snaps, each day.
Warning: Keep in mind that while these messages do disappear, someone can always record it or capture it with a camera to save forever. So it’s not an excuse to misuse the platform, especially as a business owner.
Snapchat is really a very simple app to use, but it does puzzle a lot of people. The main part of your Snapchat app is the camera view. But, it can be very confusing because it does a lot of things. The best way to learn is make a profile and get started experimenting.
First, let’s go over some basic Snapchat terms.
- Snapchatters – These are simply Snapchat users.
- Snapback – A Snapchat reply.
- Story – This is a snap that you send to all your followers at the same time, in a broadcast. Your recipients can see it as many times as they want in a 24 hour period.
- Scores – This is a function that shows how many snaps you’ve sent and received.
- Chat – Using this, you can talk privately and directly to your friends, depending who you choose.
- Here – During a direct message you can choose to use this feature to start a private live video with that individual.
Snapchat is not difficult, but it can be confusing. Many people say it’s simple, but it does have a lot of features that you’ll have to practice to learn. For example, you can choose from 1 to 10 seconds for your images to show, and 1 to 13 seconds for your videos to show to your audience. It will take some trial and error to get it just right.
Of course, getting started is your main goal, right? Everything starts in the main screen of Snapchat. First download the app from your app store. Next click on the icon and set up your account. Remember to use the email address and User Name that you want people to know and see.
When you’re trying to market a business, you don’t want to use your personal email address or a personal User ID on Snapchat. Your display name and email address are excellent ways to promote your brand. Currently, you can only have one Snapchat per phone number and email address, which you will need to verify.
There are many different settings to think about. Plus, some of these things will look different on an iPhone than an Android phone. However, they are all called the same thing regardless of which phone you’re using.
Since you’re using the phone for marketing, one of the first things you may want to change is the default setting that prevents strangers from sending you snaps. It’s up to you whether you want to open this up or not, but if you don’t you’ll have to add people in order to see their Snaps. If you change the setting, you can see Snaps from those you do not add.
- Device Settings – Depends on what type of device you’re using but this is where you set permissions, allows you to receive text messages, take pictures and videos, record audio, set your GPS, read the Snapchat contract and even read your contact card. You’ll also set your storage, network and battery permissions here, too. Under device settings you’ll also see a way to enable or disable push notifications. That just means that you have control over when and how you receive Snapchat notifications.
- Login Verification – Under this area you’ll find that you can enable SMS, Authentication, disable lost devices, finding and using your recovery code and more. Go through each of these settings to ensure that you have everything set the way you want. It can’t be stressed enough the importance of going through each item.
- Birthday Setting – This is a social app so putting your birthday in there is important. It’s a good opportunity to market to your audience having your birthday be displayed to them during your birthday. Anytime you can get your face in front of your audience it’s a good thing.
- Display Name – This is the name that people see when you add them or they add you. Choose wisely. This one, unlike your user name, can be changed. But you want it to be something that helps people to remember your brand.
- Travel Mode – When you are traveling, your mobile device will use your data. You want to ensure that you have Snapchat set up right in case you do not want to use data for Snapchat. It’s under manage and additional services.
- Setting Your Phone Number – Here you’ll verify your number and choose whether or not you’ll allow your friends to use that number to locate you and whether or not your friends and strangers can see the phone number.
- Changing Your Privacy Settings – This area does what it says. You can set the settings to be more private or more open. You can let either just your friends or everyone send you Snaps, for example. Plus you can set who can see your stories, which, as a marketer you should set to everyone or custom.
- Setting & Verifying Your Email Address — This is just like verifying your phone number, you will want to also verify and set privacy on your email address, as well. Remember to use an email address that goes with your business and to set it for public use. That way they’ll see your URL.
- Opting Out of Find Friends – Snapchat has a feature that lets you find friends who are geographically close to you as well as by phone number or email address. You can set the settings so people cannot find you if you choose.
- Clearing Conversations – When you have chats with people some of the text conversation is saved and you may want to clear it out to avoid taking up too much space on your device. You can clear specific conversations without deleting the content you want to keep.
- Additional Services – Set filters, travel mode, friend emojis, permissions and more under additional services, as well as opt in and out of features you may or may not want to use.
- Power Save Model – Snapchat can suck a lot of power. Using this feature can help you avoid this problem controlling how much power you use.
In addition to all these settings you can delete your account, change your password or reset a forgotten password. Remember that you can’t have two accounts on one device so you’ll need to really be sure about what you’re going to use your account for before you set it up. Let’s go over a few of the features of Snapchat more in-depth.
Snapchat Stories vs. Individual Snapchat Messages
On Snapchat there are a couple of different ways to send information to Snapchatters. You can create stories, or individual messages. A Snapchat story is a string of Snaps that you put together to tell your viewers a story. These stories last for up to 24 hours and can be viewed more than once. You can even see who has viewed your stories.
To post a story you simply choose to post to your stories instead of to certain people. You can also delete stories and reply to other people’s stories. You can also add to certain stories by brands. This is a great way to advance your brand and tell the story of your brand in a fun way.
An individual Snapchat can be sent to one or more individuals, including custom audiences just like stories, but there won’t be multiple snaps together to form a longer story or a product demo or something like that. It’ll just be the normal length one Snap.
- Be Different — The trick is not to post the same Snaps to your individual messages that you send to your stories. You want those to be different and to stand apart from each other. Plus, don’t make stories too long. Three to five snaps in a story is plenty to give your audience information.
- Don’t Just Do Selfies – People get sick of selfies, they know what you look like. Be creative about what you are sending to people, whether it’s a story or an individual snap. At least add captions, emojis and other information to the selfie if you’re going to go there. Make sure each thing you share has a reason for being.
- Stay Professional – Like all social media, people get outraged over things easily. Even if someone sends you a mean Snap, don’t do it back and definitely don’t add any passive aggressive snaps to your stories. Maintain professionalism at all times.
Be active, but not too active. Sending more than a few snaps a day will take away from the joy of your life and your ability to work on your business. Make sure that every snap has a reason for being, includes text on it and information outside of Snapchat. Now that you understand a little about Snapchat, let’s talk about using Snapchat to market your business.
Why You Need Snapchat
Basically, if you have a business that deals with people, you will want to find a way to incorporate Snapchat to your social media marketing strategy. This is especially true if you want to attract customers between the ages of 18 and 34, which make up most of the users of Snapchat.
Even if your audience is not part of this demographic, depending on your product or service they may eventually become part of it as time marches forward. Starting early to be part of Snapchat and finding creative ways to incorporate it into your marketing will pay off.
Because of the “live” nature of Snapchat, you’ll be able to give your audience a more authentic view into your products and services than other types of marketing. The system itself doesn’t give a business an opportunity to fake much. Thus, it will help you build trust with your audience.
Many sports teams and businesses are using Snapchat successfully to expand their brand. Using Snapchat to give this special audience a sneak peek into what you’re doing will be a great way to build and reward brand loyalty, too. There are so many reasons to use Snapchat and hardly any reasons why not. It’s free to use, and all it will take is your time and effort. To be successful with Snapchat, like with most social media, you need to get followers and views.
10 Ways to Get More Views & Friends / Followers
After you’ve learned how to use Snapchat and practiced making Snaps, adding them to Stories and sending individual snaps to friends – because you want to be sure you know what you’re doing before you go “live” to the world – now you can start working on getting more friends or followers.
- Invite People – On all your other social media and your website tell people your User Name for Snapchat. You can also invite people to scan your Snapchat screen which will automatically add them.
- Share Unique Content – Don’t put the same types of things on your Snapchat that you put on other social media. You want the things you share on Snapchat to be individualized, unique and exclusive to your Snapchat friends.
- Mix it Up – On Snapchat you want to post random updates as well as more planned updates for stories. For example, if you’re at an event you may want to add that event to your story all day long for your audience to see and respond to.
- Have a Contest – You can use other social media to promote a Snapchat contest. They have to go on Snapchat and add you as a friend in order to find out more information about the contest.
- Do a Snapchat Q & A – You’ll see a lot of YouTubers doing Snap Chat Q & A’s successfully. This is a wonderful way to not only get more friends to add you, but it also helps provide content ideas for other social media platforms.
- Perform a “Day in the Life” – Using Stories, you can go behind the scenes and show your followers what goes on. For example, during Fashion Week, one designer shared their fashions right before the models went down the runway.
- Partner with Influencers – Spend some money sending samples if you have a product to popular Snapchatters with a huge following. When the people who have a large following mention you, their audience will look for you and add you as a friend.
- Use the Snap Chat Directory – There is an online Snapchatter directory you can put your information on and get others to find you and friend you. Enter your information in there, plus the demographics you’re hoping to attract and you’ll soon get more friends.
- Create Open Stories – Create stories that anyone can view. They stay up for 24 hours so it’s a good idea to try to create at least one relevant story each week that is open for anyone to view and reply to.
- Use the Discover Feature – This allows brands to have a permanent place on the social media network using stories. Comedy central, sports teams, and more use this feature with great success.
To get more Snapchat friends you’ll need to become part of Snapchat. Reply to Snapchatters, mention your Snapchat on other social media channels and your website. Don’t be shy, be creative and you’ll be a pro in no time. You can use Snapchat to market your business in a multitude of ways.
5 Snapchat Marketing Tips That Work
The fact is, if a large corporation sees the value in marketing with Snapchat, then you should take a look, too. There is a lot of potential with Snapchat that you may be leaving untapped, such as the potential to find an audience in the 100 million active Snapchat users.
- Quick Snap Sales – Since Snaps disappear as soon as you watch them, it’s a great way to post notices about quick sales with coupon codes. Your Snapchat exclusive audience will be so happy. Plus it’s a sneaky way to get people to friend you on Snapchat if you tell other audiences about the sale they need to go to Snapchat to learn about.
- Host a Snapchat Contest – You know how the radio does a daily show where you have to collect five or six words for the week and if you know all the secret words it forms a secret riddle you need to solve? You can do that via Snapchat, too.
- Just Say Hi – Showing a little behind the scenes action is a great way to say hello to your friends with your Snapchat. It keeps you in the front of their minds. This works really great with life coaches.
- Offer a Prize for First Response – Send out a quick message saying “First response wins 50 percent off my new Brand Coaching Package”. Then you can respond back with how to take advantage of the 50 percent off by giving them a code.
- Reward Spreading The Word – Ask your Snapchat friends to recommend you to other friends. Offer a random prize to those who prove that they have sent someone to friend you by having the new friend tell you via Snapchat who sent them.
Using these methods to market your business on Snapchat are tried and true ways to increase sales, get more friends, and boost the awareness of your business. But, let’s go over some marketing do’s and don’ts to be safe.
Do’s & Don’ts of Snapchat Marketing
There is always a right way and a wrong way to do anything, Snapchat is no exception. You can be creative, but you need to be careful, too, because it’s still social media. No matter what they say, Snapchats can be saved by other means such as recording or screen capturing.
- K.I.S.S. – You’ve heard it before, but it should be repeated often. Keep it Simple. One thing about Snapchat is that it sort of makes it easy to be simple since you are severely limited in how long your interaction can be and how much information you can relay in 10 seconds.
- Provide Exclusive Content – You don’t want to regurgitate the same content you share elsewhere, and honestly, it would be hard to do anyway. Instead, the content you share on Snapchat needs to be completely exclusive to Snapchat.
- Humanize Your Brand – Show behind the scenes information. Let’s say you are getting ready to give a live speech to a group that you’ll also record and offer for download later. Why not show yourself getting ready and show your audience how excited you are about speaking?
…and not this:
- Snap to Snap – Have a reason for every single Snapchat you share with your Snapchatters. If it doesn’t provide value to your audience what is the point of it? No one wants to look at boring snaps, or endless selfies without a point. Have a point.
- Get Off Topic – It’s imperative that your Snaps represent your brand in a unique way so that the moment your audience sees the Snap they know it’s you. You want to be yourself, but be yourself representing your brand at all times.
- It’s Not Really Temporary – Never forget that while Snaps technically do disappear after watching, they really aren’t gone. People can screen shot your Snaps, or record them by other means. If you make a mistake, own up to it right away and don’t pretend it’s gone.
The most important thing is that you offer value to your audience in an authentic and honest way that promotes your business.
Examples of Brands Using Snapchat for Marketing
There are a lot of features with Snapchat that you’ll discover over time. For example you can put filters or overlays or lenses over your videos and images that bring interest to your Snaps. A really successful example of this was when the Peanuts movie was being released they created an overlay or lens that Snapchatters could use to overlay on their pictures and videos.
Now, there is no way most of us can afford the 750K cost of a one–day ad campaign on Snapchat, but there are many ways we can be successful by learning more about what big brands have done.
Swap Your Other Social Media Profile Images with Your Snapcode
Brands like Toys “R” Us, The Huffington Post did it and that helped them get a lot more friends on Snapchat. In addition you can send out messages, memes and more with your Snapcode in it to help get more friends on Snapchat.
Print Your Snapcode on Other Items Such as Business Cards
Sprite printed Snapchat influencers on their cans to help others get new friends on Snapchat. While they did this for others, you can do this for you. Consider putting your Snapcode wherever Snapchat will allow you to do so. You do have to ask permission for some use of the Snapcode, but you’re safe putting it on your business card and anything you give away free.
Hire Influencers to Help Spread the Word for You
Corporations like Coke have hired well-known Snapchatters to spread the word about their brand to help build up their following. You can do the same thing, but perhaps on a little smaller scale. Don’t think you only have to hire Snapchatters. You can also hire YouTubers to mention your Snapchat contest, too. Even if all you do is give free products or services in exchange for the shout-out, it will go far.
Explain Snapchat to Your Audience
Groupon did this successfully. You can, too. Do a YouTube video about Snapchat and teach your audience how to use it and why they should use it. Post the link to the video on your other social media such as Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest. Ask people to add you on Snapchat and teach them how to use it with a video or a full-fledged webinar.
Use Snapchat on Other Venues
Michelle from ThrivingPlantBased.com and Derek and High Carb Hannah from YouTube fame both use Snapchat to collect questions from their fans to answer on their YouTube videos. It works really well and they often get a lot of questions. You can see their example here for Michelle, and here for Hannah and Derek of Life Inside a Box fame on YouTube.com.
As you can see, there are many different ways to use Snapchat to market to your audience and get more friends, expand your audience, and make more sales.
How to get Started
To get started on Snapchat marketing, the first thing you need to do is sign up for Snapchat and practice using it with a friend. Learn the ins and outs. You can always delete that account and start a new one for your business once you figure out how to use it. Here are things to think about before you create your Snapchat for marketing.
- Consider Which Email Address You’ll Use – You can’t change this without deleting your account so consider it carefully. On one hand your @business email is great, but you may want to create a special email for it.
- Choose a Good User ID – You can’t change this without deleting your account, therefore you want to choose the right ID.
- Choose a Relevant Display Name – You can change this, but pick something relevant, such as your name Life Coach or the name of your product or service.
- Brainstorm Content Ideas – Think about what type of content you’re going to put on Snapchat. Make a list of ideas that you can use when you’re ready.
- Start Snapping – You’ll be glad you did. You don’t have to do one every hour, you can do just a few snaps a day that are valuable, exclusive and creative.
Using Snapchat for marketing is not unlike using any other method of marketing. You have to learn about the tool, brainstorm how you’ll use the tool, and then implement your ideas. As you implement the ideas you’ve developed, you can then judge whether or not what you’re doing is working or not and adjust along the way. That’s one thing that is really fascinating about online marketing – nothing ever has to be set in stone. If it’s not working you can change it on the fly and create something that does work.
Snapchat is a fun social media app that will help you market your business, spread brand awareness and make more sales. Depending on the type of business you have and what your goals are you can make Snapchat work for you to get the word out about your business. Use this convenient checklist to help you avoid missing important steps and to stay on track.
Do Your Research
- Define Your Target Audience
- What are their pain points?
- What are their demographics?
- How can you solve their problems?
Getting Started With Snapchat
- Open a Business ONLY Snapchat Account
- One account per email address & phone number
- Choose Your Display Name / Handle Carefully
- This is important you want it to speak to your audience
Getting More Friends on Snapchat
- Use Scanable, Sharable Code With Your Community
- Snapchat provides this in your account
- Create Exclusive Content
- How to videos, images with text: Be relevant to your audience.
- Create Special “VIP” Promotions
- Treat Snapchat Friends as VIPs and give them a special inside view
- Promote Special Events
- Show “Behind the Scenes” Information
- Introduce New Products/Services on Snapchat First
Get the Word Out
- Create Demo Stories
- Put together five or six Snaps to create a demo
- Create Brand Stories
- Put together a few Snaps to tell your brand story
- Entertain Your Audience
- Try not to be boring, only post relevant information
Get Friends/ Followers Involved
- Answer Frequently Asked Questions
- You can collect questions on Snapchat and answer on YouTube
- Offer Coupon Codes
- Have a flash sale with a code only for Snapchatters
- Reward Your Audience
- Give them freebies that no one else gets such as a checklist
- Create Last Minute Offers
Final Tips for Snapchat Success
- Cross Promote on Other Social Media
- Use your Snapchat image & code for your profile picture
- Talk about Snapchat on YouTube
- Mention Snapchat in email
- Be Yourself (be human)
- Don’t try to be someone else, it’s okay not to be perfect
- Mind your Metrics
- Keep track of screen captures
- Keep track of new Friends
- Don’t be Overly Promotional
- One or two promotions a day is enough
- Seek to interact and be friends not just sell