How to use Snapchat for your business

Capture behind-the-scenes moments and engage your customers with playful, authentic storytelling. Here’s why Snapchat deserves a place in your social media marketing mix – and how to get the best results.

It’s official – Snapchat can no longer be ignored. Over 150 million people are now using it every day, which makes it more popular than Twitter. And its growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Playful and raw, with a focus on in-the-moment content, Snapchat naturally attracts a younger audience. But while the early adopters were young teenagers, 70 per cent of users now are aged between 18 and 35. And they’re spending 25 to 30 minutes each day snapping and sharing, and together watching 10 billion videos.

That means you have a huge opportunity to connect with your customers and share your brand stories in a new, engaging way. So how can you work it into your social marketing mix?

The basics of Snapchat: snaps and stories

There are two ways you can send messages using Snapchat:

  • Snaps are images or short videos (limited to 10 seconds) that vanish after being viewed. You can send to one person or to many, and you can add captions, stickers, emojis and filters for a fun, personal touch.
  • Stories are stitched together from a series of snaps taken throughout the day. They last for 24 hours before vanishing, and are visible to everyone who follows you. Stories are a great opportunity for brands, as they allow you to create a longer, more engaging narrative and to reach a wider audience.

Snapchat content is all about capturing simple, fleeting moments – and that’s a big part of its appeal, says Serena Galante, founder of Melbourne digital agency Galante Group Marketing.

“Snaps are taken on the go, without extra editing and perfecting – so it feels more real and spontaneous,” she says. “Just snap what you’re doing right now, add a funny filter and share it with your followers before it’s gone.”

Galante shares seven tips to get you started

1. Build your following

Encourage your existing social audiences to connect with you by sharing your Snapcode (Snapchat’s version of a QR code). This makes it quick and easy for people to follow you without having to search.

2. Forget being picture perfect

Leave the carefully curated visuals for Instagram. “The best part of Snapchat is its rawness – polished videos and photos are not necessary here,” Galante says. “Raw footage is more authentic and your fans will connect more with your content when the glitz and glamour of photo editing and professional photography is removed.”

3. Take people behind the scenes

Real-time content invites followers into your world, giving them a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes of your brand. “Capture spur-of-the-moment content that is highly relevant at the time. Even if it doesn’t have lasting relevancy, that’s okay on Snapchat because the story will self-destruct in 24 hours.”

4. Don’t blatantly push your sales message – but do promote exclusive offers

One technique to boost your following and engagement is to offer your Snapchat followers flash offers and discounts. “You can snap a picture of a coupon code or promotion that they can’t get anywhere else. As the picture expires within 24 hours, so does the offer,” Galante suggests.

However, be careful not to be too salesy all the time. “People don’t want to be sold to. Be authentic and develop a relationship with your fans by storytelling, not selling,”

5. Try a Snapchat takeover

Give an influencer (someone with a large following who is likely to resonate with your target market) control of your Snapchat content for a day or set period of time. “The Snapchat takeover is quickly becoming the most effective method to grow audiences and increase engagement,” Galante says.

6. Use Snap ads

One paid option is to create a 10-second, full-screen video ad that appears between stories. When users swipe up on your ad, you can direct them to more in-depth content, like an article, a longer video, a mobile website or a prompt to install another app. Snapchat says the swipe-up rate for Snap ads is five times higher than the average click-through rate on other social media platforms.

7. Create an on-demand geofilter

Make your own custom filter (small art graphics that can be added to a snap) that people can use to show they’re at your event or support your brand. Geofilters are available to users during a time or at a location of your choosing. It’s a fun and relatively inexpensive way to spread local awareness and engage your followers.

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