With nearly 9000 snaps being taken every second by over 100 million active Snapchat users each day, social media authorities and marketing news outlets are all coming to the same conclusion: Snapchat is a powerful platform to connect users to branded content.
Despite the fact that the majority of Snapchat users never use the platform to purchase anything, marketers are viewing Snapchat as “fertile marketing ground,” says AdWeek. Launched in 2011, the platform was never expected nor created to suit marketer’s interests and was initially used as a means to share extremely personal images that would vanish from the face of the internet after a given amount of time (no screenshots!).
The ephemeral nature of Snapchat content has stolen the hearts of marketers and left a lucrative gap to fill amongst social media channels with limited-time-only content. So how exactly are marketers using Snapchat?
Snapchat Marketing 101
I agree with Austin and Emelina from dscience, who explain that brands can’t start a profile on Snapchat and just start pushing their products or services, because that is not the culture of the platform. They say that for marketers or even new Snapchat users to get acquainted with the platform, they should “think of it like visiting a foreign country. To get the most benefit ideally you’d want to know the language (natively) and to understand all the cultural implications. This would give you an edge in understanding the culture and providing and gaining value – over non-natives.”
They also say Snapchat helps marketers to scale their networking efforts and ultimately their business development. Here’s a quick tutorial from dscience for how Snapchat networking works.
Snapchat Marketing Snippet 1: Snapchat has a unique culture, learn it before you snap.
Snapchat Marketing Snippet 2: Snapchat helps marketers scale networking and business relationships.
Snapchat Marketing 102
Congrats! You graduated 101 and you’re no longer a Snapchat tourist. Now you have to learn the language before you can sip sangria with the locals. Let’s go over how Snapchat works so we can properly communicate on the platform.
Snapchat users create what are known as “snaps” by putting together photo or video snapshots in order to create somewhat of a narrative or a Snapchat story. Snapchat stories live on the platform for 24 hours only. This is a sweet spot for marketers since the exclusivity-factor can up content engagement. It’s brilliant. With companies selling and spamming social media left, right and centre, what will stand apart is content that never comes back – content that if not acted on immediately will be lost forever. This means that when a brand attracts a consumer on Snapchat with their content, that brand gets 100% of the consumer’s attention for the short time that content is available. As Elegantthemes.com puts it, when it comes to Snapchat, “you’re as good as your last post.”
Let’s explore some content ideas that could be effective despite being short-lived. Social Media Examiner gives us some fodder for this lesson. They describe how the limited access of Snapchat content can be used to give “backstage” access to a live event or company culture, to provide exclusive content to your Snapchat audience, and/or to give limited-time-offer contests and promotions with fans.
Snapchat Marketing Snippet 3: Use the unique features of the Snapchat platform to treat your audience to one-of-a-kind content and exclusive perks
Snapchat Marketing 103
Content is king. Content is also queen. Heck, content is even the local merchant. Snapchat content can be enhanced with filters, geofilters, text, emojis, music and more – and marketers need to be setting their content apart using any means necessary.
While we’ll review some Snapchat content wins in the last section of this post, creating unique content on the platform involves more than an underused emoji! Some brands are captivating users with checklist snaps, interactive “snaptivities”, and headline-worthy captions. While other brands are taking their accounts to the next level with the help of Snapchat influencers. @Shonduras has done campaigns for Disney’s Frozen and Taco Bell, while @LoganPaul took over the Sour Patch Kids account for an entire week.
Yes other marketers can rinse and repeat what other brands are already leading the Snapchat-pack with, but in order to offer something innovative we need to be thinking on our feet about what makes Snapchat appealing to Gen-Z and other millennial users. What I’m saying is, this platform is allowing brands to connect with a younger audience and their content needs to be crafted with these age ranges in mind.
Snapchat Marketing Snippet 4: Leverage any in-platform features to distinguish your content. Leverage influencers if needed.
Snapchat Marketing Snippet 5: Speak to the younger audience that Snapchat offers by keeping content light and fun for users!
The most successful strategy for marketers using Snapchat is to make use of the “Our Stories” feature, where brands can tell a story through a series of images and videos. Our Stories has been available to publishers since June 2014.
Before creating any Snapchat stories, make sure you’ve given permissions to your users to see the stories and to send reciprocal snaps back. Without turning on these features first, your conversation is dead in the water and you’ll be creating content for a brick wall. If you’re not feeling very creative or in the story-telling mood, you can also purchase and run some Snapchat ads to get in front of users.
But wait, how do marketers find users if they didn’t partner with The Onion for a Superbowl ad?
Advanced Snapchat Marketing
Marketers and Snapchat users alike have to be in the know on how to discover new users and to be discovered by others. Search Engine Journal compiled a list of apps and websites dedicated to searching Snapchat user accounts, and it goes a little something like this:
- Snapchat Directory
- Snapchat Usernames
- Ghostcodes: a Snapchat Discovery App
Similarly, if you’re really good (like Pro-Star level) you could get your content/account discovered by being included on Snapchat’s Discover Feature. Discover was born in January 2015 but was recently moved “to the front of the app,” says IB Times.
So how do brands, content creators, and/or news outlets make use of this feature and get to the front of Snapchat? Some marketers think this just takes a lot of ad-spend (which if you’re investing in a Snapchat-dedicated marketing force, could be true), but that’s not really the case (even though BMW bought their way in). Aside from consistently creating kick-ass content, it seems that brands featured in the Discover section have been hand-curated by Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel, according to the IB Times. Meanwhile Fortune reports that it’s Snapchat’s Head of Content, Nick Bell, who you should be rubbing shoulders with if you want to be featured in the Discover section. They also report that the selection of Snapchat Discover names are placed using data rather than “perceived industry power.” There is a long courting process, where publishers can submit content examples via a private CMS to Snapchat’s Discover Executives for their consideration. Once you’re in, this feature allows publishers to create almost mini-previews for their articles (not available in-app).
If you haven’t figured out how to get into Discover, you can start your journey by getting inspired from some brands who are working Snapchat like a boss.
Examples of Amazing SnapChat Marketing Campaigns
Social media authority Jay Baer brings us some gems that shone through Snapchat. Here are my favs:
#1: WWF #LastSelfie Snapchat campaign – raises awareness about endangered species
#2: Audi + The Onion at The Superbowl
And these ones from Social Media Examiner:
#3: Michael Kors uses Snapchat to reveal new collection before it hits the runway
And this one from AdWeek:
#4: Taco Bell’s Cinco de Mayo Taco-Face Lens
And my final fav from Postano has me feeling all like “get-out!”
#5: Turn Yourself into a Terminator Filter
So marketers, now you know about Snapchat if you didn’t already. And with that…I’ll be back!