How to use Snapchat for business
Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s a ‘streak’ was something the drunk guy did for a dare at the footy. Thankfully, not any more. It’s all about the ‘Snapchat streaks’. Ok so that’s not all there is to Snapchat and if you’re over 40 and ‘don’t get the social thing’ you have no idea what’s going on right now. Snapchat is not on the average business, or even marketer’s agenda. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the favourites, but Snapchat is growing at a rapid rate and is being embraced by larger companies and brands who recognise the potential in extending their marketing reach within a specific demographic of their customers. It is vital to understand the marketing opportunities presented by mobile phone applications that are used by a majority of the population.
But Wait! What Is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a mobile platform application for Android and iOS. The idea behind Snapchat is for instant communication, through photos and videos, which are sent or received on your mobile device. Before Snapchat came about, social media was very desktop-based, focused more on accumulating data, like statuses or tweets or photos and videos, where you would post all those things online. Your friends could comment on them and you’d keep them forever.
Snapchat has changed this in that originally the ‘snaps’ were only kept on the received device for a short time, but now they have extended this to use ‘story’ idea where your photos and videos can be broadcast with your followers, with the ‘snaps’ staying available for 24 hours.
How do people use Snapchat
All social platforms perform a specific task and, as such, attract a different audience. One man’s Twitter is another man’s MySpace. Or something like that. So, how do people use Snapchat? Well, video and photos play a huge part. People on Snapchat watch 10 billion videos a day, a huge leap from 2 billion back in 2015. For us Snapchats greatest asset is the creativity it provides through regularly updated photo filters that leave Instagram’s filters looking like Grandad’s crappy old photos (which I suppose is the point but hey…..). I should admit to having sent my daughter photos of me with unicorn horns, I covered in old ladies’ make up and me dancing to some strange k-pop song wearing mouse ears. Weird? Yep! Fun? Definitely! Snapchat copped a bad rap in it’s early days for the way in which messages and images vanish after a period of time. Suddenly sexting became a thing and parents didn’t know quite how to handle it. As a parent of tweens and teens I can attest that this is more than a little daunting, however, whilst the opportunity to misuse the service is still there Snapchat has outgrown it. The unique interface, speedy communication and fun factor outweigh any fears. Plus, as a parent, it’s a good way to stay connected albeit at arm’s length.
The app is constantly moving forward and in mid-2017 they released Snapmap to mixed reviews. As with all social media this can be used as a force for both good and evil. Knowing where all your ‘friends’ are all of the time is not always a good thing. If you’re a business however it can have different, positive applications.
Why use Snapchat for business?
Aside from providing a gateway to a younger, more mobile-savvy audience, Snapchat has created smart marketing tools that extend its reach and help business connect in unique ways. Snapchat provides a variety of paid marketing options to meet specific business goals. You can create a smart Snap Ad, a quirky Sponsored Geofilter, or interact with your potential clients through a Sponsored Lens.
Snap Ads (paid)
Snap ads are full screen, three to ten-second vertical adverts that you can create yourself on the Snapchat platform. They appear in between friends’ stories and Snapchat content such as Snapchat’s stories or publishers’ stories. The person watching can swipe up at any time for more info, maybe to read an article, or visit a website. Snap Ads are highly targeted and provide a great user experience.
Every social media platform that enables picture-taking has the option to use a filter. One thing that Snapchat does differently to any other platform enables businesses to make their own geofilter. Anyone with their filters and location settings on can browse locally made filters. These are homemade filters that are based on location. When somebody is in that area they can use your filter. It’s often used for events, in high traffic social spaces, by chains (such as in retail), awareness campaigns, holidays like Christmas, or a movie release. This is great for branded marketing. Here are some of the filters that came up near us. (Not wanting to scare you too much we took a picture of the wall instead of a selfie):
And keep an eye out for heat maps that indicate places where there is increased activity. In this image, the red dot heat spot was at Curtin University who had a snapchat filter for an event they were running that day.
The last advertising option comes in the form of sponsored lenses which are occasionally spectacular and have had huge success, albeit with large, well established brands. Adweek reports that in 2016, Taco Bell’s filter had over 224 Million views, with the average user spending over 24 seconds on it. 24 seconds is a lifetime in social media! Sponsored Lenses give users the opportunity to play with a unique ad you’ve created. To activate a lens users simply hold on their faces in front of the camera. Some Lenses require an action by the user such as ‘open your mouth’ to trigger an animation, adding an engaging twist to the experience. And when you’ve finished playing, it’s easy to send the completed video or photo to a friend or post one to your Story. Stat’s indicate that the average user will play with a sponsored lens for 20 seconds. More recently the lenses started incorporating ‘real world’ augmented reality features through their ‘New World’ lens collection. Expect to see this grow and become even more popular as technology grows and adapts.
Erm, any free opportunities?
As with all other platforms, we suggest the best way to build a direct audience is through authentic, organic engagement. Paid ads are great but nothing beats real (virtual) connections. So if you’re not ready to dive in and put your ad budget toward Snapchat, there are still lots of ways to use Snapchat for business without spending a cent.
Tell your story
Snapchat Stories are compilations of images and short videos that can be viewed for up to 24 hours. Users want to share their stories with their friends and the business opportunity is to create a compelling, creative narrative on a regular basis. Whether you’re baking bread or pushing numbers around a keyboard, find a fun and engaging way to talk about your businesses day to day activities. We all love a story!
Snapchat is a great way to communicate in small, tight groups. When it was released in late 2016 Business Insider called Snapchat’s Group function its best feature in years – a big call indeed! Create groups of up to 16 people – no more – to discuss specific parts of your service. Create tutorials, guides or just a space for your best and nicest clients to hang out.
In summary, most businesses have been late to the Snapchat party. Social media research company, L2, found that Instagram adoption far exceeds Snapchat. Maybe because Instagram is far easier to grasp? Either way, as with all social platforms constant and consistent communication is necessary in order to get traction. Tell a great story and watch your followers grow – but please, no more photos of food and coffee. If you’ve got something to say make sure it’s different, engaging and, importantly, you! Talk to Start Digital today about our favourite Snapchat filters – or maybe how your business can reach out into a new space!