Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest … where does it all end? In front of your customers, that’s where. Just as you were getting accustomed to reaching your target audience through Instagram, they moved over to Snapchat. What?! (Forehead slap.) Don’t despair; it’s as easy to use as Instagram, and you figured that out, right?
What Is Snapchat?
Snapchat is the brainchild of three Stanford University students, who introduced the free downloadable app in 2011. Essentially, it is a video and photo messaging app. Users can take photos or record videos and add text and drawings. They send them to designated recipients who then have a short window of time to view them before they disappear. Teens swarmed to the new app and immediately scandalized it by using it for sexting – sending racy photos and comments to each other that self-destruct in 1 – 10 seconds. (Sorry, Mom; you missed it.) For everyone else, it’s a way to share a moment.
Snapchat for Business – Really?
You may be scratching your head about how Snapchat could possibly be of value to your business, but the cardinal rule to marketing is to go where your customers are – and they’re on Snapchat. In fact, there are about 100 million daily active users! Snapchat has catapulted its annual revenue from $3 million in 2014 to an estimated $50 million in 2015. Where do you think you should be in 2016?
To break the numbers down even further, nearly three-quarters of Snapchat users are under the age of 34, and over 70% are female. The app is seeing such astounding growth that Mashable – the King of all things digital, Pete Cashmore – included it in his post, 14 mobile marketing trends that will dominate in 2016. Users are from 135 countries, it’s the #1 downloaded app in the iPhone app store, and it is growing like wildfire. Now is the time to both understand what it can do for your business and get ahead of the curve.
How to Use Snapchat for Business
Okay, you know where millennial females and a growing number of other demographic types are hanging out, so now what? How do you get started on Snapchat? Lesson #1: Be casual. Communicate with your audience casually through photos and vertical videos (more on this in a minute). This app is all about 1:1 private communication; there are no public streams.
It’s a good idea to have your marketing team spend some time looking through other Snapchat accounts to see how businesses are using it. Personalize your photos with the drawing function to add some lighthearted fun and make that human connection with users.
Use the self-destructing photos and videos to your advantage. Set up teasers for new products. GrubHub took several photos of a pizza with fewer and fewer slices left on the pan until the last one revealed a discount code drawn on the pan. It built up hype among users following the disappearing pizza to get the code.
You can create tutorials showing how to use a new product or service, make a “meet the team” video, or a “this is how we do it” video. Share photos of people using your product. Run contests that reward engaged users. The nice thing about the way Snapchat works is that your photos and videos will remain in followers’ chats until they open them, unlike other social media. Also, you can track “opens” and “views” – a marketer’s dream come true.
Snapchat is in such an early stage for business users, with a mere 2% giving it a go yet, that your marketing creativity can really pay off. It’s a great time to experiment with what works and what doesn’t. Some businesses are sharing their experiences, so you can learn from others. Squeeze In restaurant puts their Snapchat code on their tables, encouraging customers to check in. DayDreamCinema says photos should rarely be set for over two to three seconds, and an entire “story” – series of related photos – under a minute or two.
Live Events on Snapchat are great for placing ads. For example, the Super Bowl live event is on Snapchat, where people who are attending the event post their photos and videos. A user can go to the live event and watch 20 videos in a matter of minutes, and see the excitement of the crowd and the game highlights from individual perspectives. Imagine your 10 second compelling advertisement in the middle of Live Event videos – free!
When creating your Snapchat photos and videos, be sure to use them in the vertical position. Users are on their Smartphones, and they’re looking at their phones from a vertical position. Snapchat says that vertical ads are nine times more likely to be viewed to the end than horizontal ads. Don’t turn your horizontal video into vertical – it works, but it shows.
If learning yet another social media platform is enough to make you bang your head on your desk, maybe it’s time to turn your social media marketing over to the experts and get back to doing what you do best.