Snapchat is currently the fastest-growing social media platform out there, and it’s hugely popular with the younger audience. At the moment few companies are using it for marketing, which gives you a unique opportunity to get a head start. That said, you have to be smart about how you use it.

Your snaps will be heavy on photo and video and they’ll disappear quite quickly, so you need to be ready for some pretty intensive activity and some really memorable content if you want to get your message across to your audience. If you aren’t already using your other social media to the fullest, you might do better adding a bit more focus to Facebook for example.

However, with an audience of millions waiting out there for you, and the ability to talk directly to them through video, this is a powerful marketing tool that can’t be ignored altogether.

Understanding the Snapchat ethos

Snapchat is the diametric opposite of LinkedIn. Even Facebook allows for a certain degree of formality if you think that’s the best way to reach your audience, but Snapchat is all about informality and fun. If you can reach out to your audience in a way that appeals to them, your Snaps will get plenty of attention, but if you turn them off by being too formal and business-like, you’ve lost them from the word “go”.

Think about the kind of things people share with Snapchat. They share holiday snaps, even photograph what they’re having for lunch, and they share leisure activities rather than focusing on job or career. If your business fits into that style of communication, Snapchat could get you a lot of social media attention.

Simply put, it’s not even “smart-casual” –  it’s straight down the line casual. That can be an excellent way to really connect with an audience, particularly a young, tech-savvy one. Your focus will be on fun, and you will be creating a laid-back impression that makes your business seem more approachable than it would elsewhere.

If you’re new to the game, follow a few people to see what they do with the app before launching into your own Snapchat marketing effort. If you don’t, you stand to miss the sweet spot that makes Snapchat a unique way to build your brand.

Surely the ephemeral nature of posts is a drawback?

That depends on whether you use it to your advantage. If your audience gets used to seeing great teasers, cool competitions and “take-it-now-or-leave-it” special offers, they’ll be keeping an eye on you to see what your next move will be. You can encourage participation. For example, if people send you a Snap of them using your product, you could offer a cool accessory for free.

Video Snaps are very accessible for even smaller businesses

If you’ve ever had a professional marketing video made, you’ll know that it’s a pricey item, but the cool thing about Snapchat is that your videos don’t have to be professional. In fact, it’s a good thing if they’re a little amateurish. It makes you seem more genuine, just like any other person who sends out a Snapchat video.

Whereas the focus in most kinds of marketing is on absolute professionalism, perfect images and super-perfectly shot and edited videos, the whole point of Snapchat is that it can be impromptu and ad-hoc.

Have a personality

Just because you’re a business doesn’t mean you can’t have a likeable personality. And with Snapchat, it’s a must. Why should anyone engage with you if you aren’t approachable? Yes, you will share information about what your business does, but it shouldn’t be presented in a dry, dull and impersonal way. This is the time to loosen your tie, and speak colloquial English. Give people behind-the-scenes peeks. Share funny moments. Let them take a peek at special events. Most important of all, give your business a face – or several faces. What you’re looking for here is connection.

What kind of businesses have found the perfect Snapchat recipe so far?

In the United States, the NBA is using Snapchat to build the buzz around games. Behind-the-scenes videos of basketball stars and exclusive footage is keeping the fan base interested.

Several big fashion brands are using it with great success. Those who want an up to the minute peek at the latest designs and fashions are getting what they like through Snapchat, and once again, the brands are building a buzz. Before their clothing even hits the stores, they’ve got people looking forward to the release.

Restaurants and fast food chains are doing it too. They’re offering special discounts on Snapchat, and they’re trying some interesting ideas. For instance, Grub Hub ran a photo scavenger hunt with prizes given out every day. If you want to keep people’s attention over a number of posts; that’s a great concept right there.

Another fashion brand used Snapchat to show its audience how fashions are developed from concept to their arrival in the shop. For anyone who is interested in the industry, it gave a tantalising inside view of how fashion brands work right down to how clothing is manufactured and distributed.

Sour Patch Kids got Snapchat star Logan Paul to take over its Snapchat account for a week. As you can imagine, that generated a huge amount of interest and assured Sour Patch Kids of a sudden and dramatic increase in its following.

There are plenty more. Starbucks made a lens available that allowed people to take a selfie with a super-imposed Frappuccino, and Taco Belle offered a lens that allowed you to replace your entire head with the image of a Taco. Interactive features like these are hugely popular.

Bottom line

If your brand targets a young, trendy and social media savvy audience, Snapchat could become your best way of reaching them. At the same time, you should still make use of the advantages offered by Facebook and Twitter. However, if your business is a very serious or formal one, Snapchat might not be for you.

I hope you got something out of this article and it helps to clear the air a bit about Snapchat. So many people aren’t taking advantage of it which means you still can 🙂

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