The days of Snapchat being used solely for sending pictures between friends are over.
This social media platform has evolved. Your company can't afford to ignore the impact that this marketing channel can have on your business.
It's an absolute necessity if you're focusing on Generation Z as your target market. That's because 71% of Gen Z use Snapchat as part of their daily routine. Plus, 51% of this group use Snapchat roughly 11 times each day.
While Snapchat definitely has a reputation for being used by teens, their market penetration is starting to hit young adults and older generations as well.
So Snapchat is a viable marketing channel if your current target market falls anywhere between the ages of 12 and 34. But keep an eye on these trends as older generations may continue adapting to this platform.
In Q4 of 2017 Snapchat hit 187 million active daily users. The platform has seen more than an 18% growth rate in terms of daily users in the last year.
There is no sign of a slow down, and I expect these marketing trends to continue in the future.
So, what exactly does this mean for your business?
It's great news. You now have another viable marketing channel to engage with your customers.
But this may be intimidating or confusing if you've never used Snapchat before and don't know how to apply it to your business.
Fortunately, you're in luck. I'll show you the top 15 ways to use Snapchat for your business.
1. Post to your story often
Once you've created a Snapchat account, you need to make sure that it's active. So the best way to approach this is by adding content to your story on a daily basis.
Anything you post on Snapchat will disappear after 24 hours. So posting content often will keep your brand fresh in the minds of your followers.
Just don't go overboard. Posting 20 times in one day isn't effective.
That's because people will just skip through your posts. Depending on how many people a user follows on Snapchat, they'll have lots of stories to view each day.
But that doesn't mean that they are going to watch every single post in its entirety.
According to a study conducted by Snaplytics, engagement drops by 36% once users reach the fourth snap of a story. They also discovered that roughly 80% of your followers will see your post about 4 or 5 hours after it's been added to your story.
What does this mean for you?
Based on these numbers, I'd recommend updating your Snapchat story about three times per day, every four or five hours.
This will help keep your engagement high and prevent your followers from skipping through your content.
2. Promote your Snapchat account on other marketing channels
In order for your Snapchat strategy to be successful, you've got to get followers first.
Rather than trying to come up with followers out of thin air, try to target users who are following your business account on other platforms.
Look at how People Magazine uses this strategy in their Instagram bio.
This is really important for you, especially if you just created a Snapchat account for your company. Nobody is going to know that you have an account unless you tell them.
In addition to Instagram, you can promote it on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can even work this promotion into your YouTube videos as well.
Tell your email subscribers to follow you on Snapchat and pitch it on your website too.
The more channels that you promote it on, the greater chance you'll have of getting more followers.
3. Create a sponsored lens
People love to use Snapchat filters and lenses.
It's estimated that sponsored filters are seen by 16 million users each day. These filters are just a way for people to take creative photos.
Snapchat has plenty of them built directly into their platform. So instead of just taking a basic selfie, users can make the image black and white, apply a filter to make their eyes abnormally large or even make their nose disappear.
Some of these filters for video snaps can even change the pitch of your voice.
All of these were created to make users have more fun. They'll send a snap to their friends with one of these filters because it's entertaining and often humorous.
But now businesses can create a sponsored filter as well. Gatorade used this strategy during Super Bowl 50 and it turned into one of the most successful Snapchat campaigns on record.
If you've ever watched the Super Bowl, you know it's tradition for the winning coach to get Gatorade dumped on his head by the players. So Gatorade created a sponsored filter during the game that would simulate Gatorade getting dumped on the user's head.
The filter had more than 165 million views and increased their purchase intent by 8%.
Here's another example from Taco Bell to show you what these filters look like.
As you can see, the filters themselves are silly, but they definitely create brand awareness and help you create engagement.
The only problem with this strategy is that it's expensive. If you want to create a filter during a holiday or special event, such as the Super Bowl, you've got to be ready to dish out between $100,000 and $750,000.
That cost will keep your filter active for 24 hours. But if you can afford it, the return on your investment can be huge.
The Taco Bell filter above was viewed 224 million times. The average user spent 24 seconds playing with the lens before sharing it with friends.
4. Let social influencers takeover your account
Another great way to get more followers and increase engagement is through social proof of concept.
Celebrities and other influencers already have a steady following on social media. Take advantage of that.
If you allow someone else to takeover your Snapchat account, you can expose your brand to a much wider audience. Some of these people may not even know that your company existed until they saw an influencer talking about it.
You may need to pay for an influencer to do this unless you have some kind of other mutual agreement or common interest in whatever you're promoting.
Here's a great example of what I'm talking about from iHeartRadio.
They allowed singer Hailee Steinfeld to takeover their account. As a result, she promoted the takeover to her fans on social media.
Hailee has over 933k followers on Twitter and more than 8 million Instagram followers. This is great brand exposure for iHeartRadio, especially because she is directly related to their industry.
That's important for you to keep in mind as well. You may find a professional basketball player with 10 million Instagram followers, but if sports aren't related to your industry, their followers may not be relevant to your company.
5. Feature user-generated content
Ask your followers to send you pictures and videos of them interacting with your brand or using your products.
Then you can repost this content on your Snapchat story.
A great way to encourage user-generated content is by running contests and similar promotions.
GrubHub used this strategy on Snapchat a few years back. Their campaign was a huge success.
They ran a contest called “SnapHunt,” which lasted for a week. Every day they posted a new challenge. A winner was selected for each challenge and won a $50 gift card.
During this contest, GrubHub's followers grew by 20%. Furthermore, 30% of their followers participated in this contest.
So it's safe to say that engagement was high.
6. Offer discounts and promo codes
Not sure what to post on your story?
When in doubt, give your followers something that they can actually use. Send out discounts and other promotional offers via Snapchat.
This strategy will also help you drive sales and increase conversions. KIND used this strategy to offer their Snapchat followers 15% off of a purchase.
When you're posting on Snapchat, you've always got to keep the overall goal of your company in mind. Don't get distracted with all of the other bells and whistles.
You want sales.
Offering discounts is a great way to accomplish this.
7. Takeover another account
Earlier we talked about letting someone else take over your Snapchat account. But another effective strategy is taking over another account yourself.
When someone else takes over your account, you're relying on that person's followers to add you on Snapchat to view your content.
But when you take over an account, the audience won't have to do anything. It will be your job to convince them that they should be following your brand.
So make sure your content is engaging.
Even if they don't add your Snapchat account, you'll still be able to create brand awareness with a new audience.
8. Promote a new product
Keep your followers up to date with any exciting news from your brand. A new product launch is definitely worth mentioning.
Even if your product hasn't launched yet, you can build hype and anticipation, so consumers are ready for it when your product finally gets released.
Here's something to take into consideration. How often do people visit your website? I'm willing to bet that the average consumer isn't checking your website on a daily basis for any updates.
But they are checking Snapchat every day.
Just because you're promoting a new product launch on your website, it doesn't mean that people will see it. That's why you've got to take advantage of other marketing channels.
Here's an example of a new product promotion via Snapchat from McDonald's.
Try to follow their lead the next time you want to tell your followers about a new product or service.
9. Provide exclusive access
It's obviously unreasonable to let your social media followers to just walk right into your office and check things out.
But with Snapchat, you can give them that same exclusive feeling by providing them with behind-the-scenes content. Show your followers what it's like in your office or production facility.
If you're at an event, take snaps of some of the action backstage.
This type of content will keep your followers engaged because it makes them feel like they are getting VIP treatment.
10. Reply to your followers
The majority of your Snapchat strategy should be focused on uploading content to your story. However, that's not the only way to engage with your audience.
Followers may reply to your story and send you direct one-on-one messages as well.
On other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, everyone can see if you're responding to followers or not.
But on Snapchat, only you and the person sending the message know if you're responding. So it's easy for companies to just shrug these off and ignore them.
Even though everyone can't see it, you should still make an effort to reply to your followers.
Getting a personal response from a brand will make the user feel special. Ignoring their message shows them that you don't care about what they have to say.
68% of customers say the reason why they stop using a particular brand is if they don't think that the company cares about them.
You can easily avoid this by simply responding to those private messages.
11. Post relevant content
Your snaps shouldn't just be mindless images of your products. You can use this platform to show your audience that your brand is aware of various topics.
You could talk about charities or any type of social awareness that your business is involved with.
Here's an example from Dove. They used their platform to discuss self-esteem issues.
Their Snapchat story featured interviews with 30 women and various psychologists. They wanted to have an open discussion about self-esteem issues to help women enhance their own self-images.
As a result, the campaign had more than 130,000 views.
Just make sure that you tread carefully when you're approaching something like this. It's best for businesses to say away from issues involving race, religion, politics, and other controversial topics.
12. Promote an upcoming event
If your company is hosting or attending some kind of meeting or event, tell your audience about it.
Depending on what kind of event it is, you could even try to get your followers to come and show their support.
While Snapchat technically isn't live video, it's pretty close. So you can figure that the percentage of people interested in the event will be similar.
13. Drive traffic to your website
Snapchat recently introduced a new feature that allows you to add links to your story. To do this, simply take a photo or video using their camera as you normally would.
Then click the paperclip icon before adding it to your story.
Now you can add a link to your post. Users will have access to the link if they follow the prompt at the bottom of your story advising them to “swipe up.”
This is a great way to increase your website traffic.
14. Inform your followers about an important milestone
Keep your Snapchat audience informed about important dates for your company.
Is it your 10th anniversary? Is it your CEO's birthday?
You can even talk about other milestones like getting your 10,000th follower on a certain social media platform.
All of these are great excuses to post on Snapchat. It's a nice break from the same boring posts that get shared on a daily basis.
15. Mix it up
This piggybacks off of my last point. You don't want your content to be boring.
Lots of the tips that we've discussed so far are definitely useful and should be applied to your Snapchat marketing strategy. But with that said, don't just pick one or two and use the same ones every day.
You've got to keep things interesting.
If your followers aren't entertained, then they'll stop following you. Once that happens, it won't be easy for you to market to those people again.
You can avoid this by keeping your content fresh.
Snapchat is growing in popularity. If your company doesn't have a Snapchat account, you need to create one ASAP.
But once your account is active, you need to get followers and keep them engaged.
Overall, you want to make sure that your Snapchat marketing strategy makes your business better. In addition to creating brand awareness, you want to drive sales as well.
Whether Snapchat is new for you, or you're just looking for a fresh insight to spice up your existing Snapchat marketing campaign, the tips that I've outlined above are a great place to start.
Use this guide as a reference for increasing engagement on Snapchat.
What tactics are you using to connect with your followers on Snapchat?
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