How to get started with Snapchat as a business

Within the last 6 months, thousands of businesses have started to use Snapchat as a part of their social media marketing mix.

While Snapchat seems to be all the rage these days, with record-high adoption and engagement rates for a social media platform, it’s important to think about whether the platform is suited to your business.

Just because thousands of businesses are adopting the platform doesn’t mean you need to too.

It starts with strategy:

Every social media platform takes time and requires strategic thought about how to use it, because every social channel has it’s own unique features and functionality.

Hopping on a social media platform out of a perception that “everybody else is doing it” is just about the worst thing you can do.

Individuals and businesses that utilize platform-specific features when crafting their strategy for each platform are the ones that do best on social media.

If you want to give your audience a reason to follow you across multiple channels, you need to do something differently across your various channels.

If you’re going to be on Snapchat, you need to understand the features of the platform that make it unique so that you can use it in a way that inspires, educates and entertains your audience.

However, before just jumping on the channel, you need to think about who you’re trying to target.

The majority (77%) of Snapchat users are between the ages of 18-55; however the large majority of that group is between 13-34 years old. If you’re trying to reach and engage with individuals aged 30-60, Snapchat isn’t a smart use of your precious marketing resources.

Features of focus:

Let’s say you’ve decided that Snapchat is for you. Your audience is there, and you’ve got the budget, time and resources to put into the platform.

Now it’s time to dive into the features that you’re going to focus on in order to create great content on a consistent basis:

  • Expiration dates: the first feature to consider is timeliness. Snaps (photos and videos) disappear after twenty-four hours, which creates a sense of urgency. The more great content you post, the more likely your fans will view your stories daily. Quality drives loyalty. The fact that snaps expire also makes the platform perform for running flash sales and deals that elicit a sense of urgency.
  • Direct messaging: the ability to send photos and videos directly to individuals allows brands and businesses to engage with their community on an individual level. This helps you deliver highly personalized, relevant messages, offers and updates to your fans.
  • Filters & animations: the filters and animations on the platform allow users to get quirky and creative with how they tie them into their stories. Creativity is what wins on the channel; you need to be unique to be memorable.
  • Insights: you can see exactly who has viewed the photos and videos you upload to your story. This is a great way to get a sense of your most loyal and engaged fans online. If you’re smart, you might think about rewarding them with a special coupon code sent to them through DM.
  • Geo-filters: When snapping, you can swipe right to access a wide variety of filters and animations (mentioned above,) as well as geo-filters. These geo-filters are a great way for creative designers to get on the map of local Snapchat users by submitting filters to Snapchat. They are low cost and result in high awareness. It’s recommended to submit these filters at least 2 weeks ahead of time in order to allow time for Snapchat to approve them.

Now that you know which features to focus on in your strategy, you can develop a strategy for what you’re going to share and how often.

You want to have this planned out before you start snapping, so that you can give your audience an idea of what to expect from you on the channel.

Putting it into practice:

Since you want to get eyeballs and engagement on Snapchat, it’s smart to leverage your other social media channels to spread the word about your Snapchat presence.

Share your snapcode and username across your other social media networks and let people know the type of content you’ll be sharing on Snapchat to encourage them to start following you.

If you’re going to use Snapchat as a vehicle to share flash deals and special promotions, that’s definitely something your audience is going to want to know about! 

If you’re going to show product unveilings and share real-time news, let your audience know!

You can also work with influencers or other brands to do collaborations to help spread the word about each other. It’s worth thinking outside of the box on how to create campaigns to engage and grow your audience on the platform.

Summary:

When using Snapchat as a business, it’s important to never forget that quality content is key to engagement and audience growth.

Snapchat allows brands and businesses to take their fans behind-the-scenes into their process, products and/or culture.

While you can definitely use the platform like other social networks (using calls to action to drive website traffic and sales,) Snapchat is more about entertaining and educating your audience than anything else.

Think outside of the box for how you can combine the best features (direct-messaging capabilities and the ability to create binge-worthy content) to connect with your audience.

Snapchat is helping brands humanize themselves and connect with their customers in deeper, more customized ways than ever possible before. 

Let's connect on Snapchat 2

The record-high engagement rates of the platform allude to the power that this channel has for marketers to create real connections with their fans online.

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