Updated July 15, 2016
When I first heard about Snapchat four years ago, I thought that it was just for teenagers to send secret messages that could easily disappear. But in 2016, with over 100 million daily active users, it’s a social platform that can no longer be ignored.
What is Snapchat?
It’s a mobile messaging app that allows users to send pictures and short 10-second videos that disappear once they are viewed – users can elect to view the content one more time before it disappears forever. There is also a chat option to communicate via text.
You can customize your images/videos by adding captions, emojis, drawings, and even filters to your ‘snaps.’
Gary Vaynerchuk describes the platform as follow:
“The way Snapchat works is much closer to how we communicate face to face than any other social network. What I mean by this is that: when we talk to each other, passing in the halls or just living out our lives, those moments disappear. Snapchat emulates that behavior and psychology.”
July 2016 update – Snapchat made a massive change to its platform – users now have the ability to upload old photos and videos to their accounts with Memories. A huge departure from the raw and real time nature of the platform. How to use Snapchat Memories.
Who is using Snapchat?
Before finding out if it’s a good platform to promote your business, let’s take a quick look at the demographics as provided by the Snapchat Ads page.
- 100 million active daily users.
- 86% of Snapchat’s users fall into the 13 – 37 age range.
- More than 60% of U.S.13 to 34 year-old smartphone users are Snapchatters.
- 5+ billion videos are viewed on the platform each day.
So, if your business caters to teens and young adults, you should definitely consider using Snapchat since it completely dominates this segment.
How to use Snapchat to promote your business
Since snaps expire after a set amount of time and are shared only with your followers:
- Offer flash sales to your Snapchat audience.
- Share exclusive behind the scene photos or videos.
- Give a sneak peek of a new product.
- Host a contest.
- Report from live event that you are promoting or attending and give your followers an insider’s view of what’s going on – a virtual backstage pass.
- Send a snap to your followers asking for advice or feedback on a new product or service.
- Answer customers’ questions with a quick snap.
How to build your following
Cross promote your Snapchat account on your other social platforms, and encourage your audience to follow you on Snapchat for exclusive offers or content that they might not receive on your other platforms.
Use your snapcode—QR code-like images that are scanned by the app—on social media and/or website.
Have a link to your account directly to your website/blog.
Snapchat allows you to “chat” or comment on other’s photos or videos. Use that feature to reach out and connect with others.
Partner with influencers who can help in sharing your brand.
Is Snapchat right for your small business?
The messaging platform can be a good channel for creative, restaurant and retail businesses targeting teens and young adults.
But, as with any other social media platform, you need to put the time to build and engage your audience and create the content that they want, like 10-second videos that feel authentic and real.
So, before you start, take the time to research the platform and determine how you will use it:
- How often will you post?
- What will you post?
- Who is going to post?
- How will you measure your success?
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