If you think Snapchat is only used by students sending butterfly crown selfies, then we’d forgive you, but you would be missing out on a major marketing tool. Snapchat is a virtual meeting place for individuals to communicate and share, and there is more than enough room for marketers and brands.
Branding and personalization are integral to Snapchat’s proposition. The filters, and customizable audio and film preferences give users authority to share their “stories”, their way. Other social media apps like Instagram and Facebook have added similar filters and tagging specialties to their platforms, and for good reason. eMarketer reports that nearly one in five Americans will use Snapchat this year growing 27.2% at 58.6 million users. [R1] In comparison, Twitter is projected to have 56.8 million and Pinterest will have 54.6 million users in the US this year.
So, what makes Snapchat so different? Well, the app uses different ways to communicate in short bursts of time. The time limit forces the user to be creative using filters, geofilters, and recordings to express themselves. Simply put, the app is fun to use. Unlike other social media platforms, Snapchat doesn’t serve as a soapbox or a timeline of photos. Snapchat’s use goes back to the primary purpose of social media: social sharing in an intimate way.
So, what does this mean for marketers?
Snapchat’s main user group is reported to be young adults age 12 to 34, with its biggest user base age being between 18 and 24. Snapchat offers marketers the opportunity to target these young adults in a direct way. Brands that have already caught on include BuzzFeed, Comedy Central, Daily Mail, ESPN and Cosmopolitan. These businesses have their own stories integrated into the feed of users’ own personal friends list. Here, marketers have the chance to influence in a direct and personalized way, usually via behind the scenes videos, exclusives, or “you saw it first” snippets. These uses of the app create a relationship with the user, and if the content is good it becomes part of their every day.
Take advantage of the time
A unique feature of Snapchat is its time limit. Users have ten seconds to say something, and viewers have 24 hours to play and replay it. Unlike any other platform, Snapchat creates a sense of urgency that entices its audience, this could be a great opportunity to offer products at a discounted price, introduce or hint at a new product, or increase continuous activity with a brand.
While getting someone’s attention is great, the bottom line is what really matters and Snapchat has marketers covered there as well. An overwhelming 76% of Snapchat’s users purchased a product online in the last month of use.
Imagine your future consumer has come into contact with some of your traditional marketing formats and decided to follow you on Snapchat. You decide to run an online discount exclusively for Snapchat users with a bespoke promotional code for the duration of your story (24 hours). You create a sense of urgency as the consumer knows the sale won’t last long, and the intimacy of Snapchat-only access to the coupon creates a personal exclusive just for its users and brand followers. More than likely, that consumer will regularly watch your stories to catch the next big deal. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest you cannot enter the subject of a post into a search engine and find a Snapchat story result. Snapchat is exclusive to the app as are the relationships built within it.
With the app currently under the newly established Snap Inc., the opportunities to “empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together’ as the company’s webpage states is sure to be seen in the coming upgrades of the Snapchat app.
Tips On Using the App for Marketers
Now that we know why marketers should use Snapchat, let’s focus on how to use it:
1) Be Authentic – Have a message that is true and loyal to your brand. It ‘s easy to follow a trend or to Snap based on what has been successful for other companies; however, it is also an easy way to be ignored, or even worse, unfollowed. Remember, when using Snapchat your consumer is allowing you into their world. They can just as easily remove you from it.
2) Be cautious of the content you post – There is always someone watching on Snapchat. Remember the time limit we spoke of earlier, the same urgency that leads a viewer to your story is the same urgency that leads to the user screenshotting and sharing your inappropriate post. Click to see some examples of misuse: here and here
3) Don’t Over Snap – all communication should be (or feel) organic. A constant bombardment of content, whether original or clichéd, will be removed from a Snapchat user’s sphere of influence.
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[R1] eMarketer June 2016 Snapchat’s US user base will jump by 27.2% to 58.6 million users. Link Here