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How to Use Snapchat to Market For Your Business

Velvet Elran
How to Use Snapchat to Market For Your Business

Snapchat is a fun mobile app that is rapidly gaining traction as one of the top social media channels today.

This mobile app was developed by Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy while attending Stanford University back in 2011. In its simplest terms, Snapchat allows users to take photos and record videos, add text and drawings, and send finished products (snaps) out to a controlled list of recipients. Users can even control how long their snaps are viewable (a new feature added in April 2014), after which they “self destruct” and are no longer available. Seriously.

Once a recipient receives a snap directly and opens it, the picture or video will no longer be viewable. To counteract this, users also have the option of creating “Stories” that would allow their pictures and videos to be viewed over and over for up to 24 hours. Stories are added into Snapchat’s feed, visible to all of a user’s friends.


As of May 2014, Snapchat reported over 700 million sent photos and videos per day. Snapchat Stories were recorded as being viewed approximately 500 million times per day. There’s no denying that this is a huge social media trend. And perhaps the most attractive thing about it is that this power packed app is useable and accessible all from your Smartphone, which conveniently rests in the palm of your hand.

Hands down, every business should take advantage of social media today, but most cannot give proper attention to every platform. Therefore, the question to ponder is this: Will Snapchat be a beneficial selection for my social media campaign, and is my targeted market likely to be using Snapchat? According to a Forbes contributor Jayson DeMers, this platform “has gone from…simple photo and video sharing…to a marketing tool that can’t be ignored.”So just what benefits does the app offer businesses? Let’s take a look.

A Snapshot of Benefit

We can best grasp the usability and value of Snapchat by grabbing a capture of the benefits. The app is chalked full of functionality:

  • The app is very user-friendly: It’s simple to use and it shows. There are approximately 26 million users located in the United States alone. There are four main pages on the app: Snapchat Contacts, Camera/Video Mode, My Friends, and Add Friends. These different pages are easy to access by simply sliding your thumb right or left on the screen.
  • Snapchat leverages the “limited time” approach: The most interesting thing about the platform is that it is completely real time-based. It’s called “self-destruction,” and people seem to love it. Users that see your snaps can only access them for up to ten seconds. Afterwards they self-destruct and disappear.
  • The ability to reach a targeted audience: The My Friends page gives you a link to access individual friends and send them a snap. Once you’ve clicked on the link, you can text them via the messaging platform or send them a picture or video. Since most phones now have front and back cameras, you can take a photo from your view or a “selfie.”
  • A clear view of whom you’re connected to: On the Contact page you can see who you’re connected with and their “My Story.” My Story is a contact link that will take your snap and place it on display for any of your friends to view. The Add Friends page will show the current contacts in your mobile phone and encourage you to invite contacts that you’re not currently connected to on Snapchat. You can simply add to your contacts list to reach more viewers.
  • A versatile platform: Snapchat is most pleasing to viewers because it’s so versatile (i.e. videos, images, texts and drawings). It allows you to place a real time visual alongside your message, and it’s private. Unlike open social profiles that display on Twitter, Facebook and Google to any and all users, Snapchat is between you and the audience you select to share your snap with.


Using Snapchat to Further Your Business

Brands and companies are strategizing for ways in which Snapchat can be used to reach consumers. To name a few, Disney, Taco Bell, and Ikea have all jumped into the new social trend with the help of Shaun McBride, Snapchat celebrity “Shonduras” to reach the much sought after 13- to 25-year-old audience. His influence is staggering. His style? One-of-a-kind, a promise of capturing young snapchatters’ attention.

Right out of the gate, Snapchat gives you multiple means to further your business and audience reach if you’re willing to get a little creative. The following 10 steps are designed to walk you through the various ways you can leverage Snapchat to further your business and ultimately increase exposure and conversion:

Step 1: Gain Some Awareness

The self-destructing photos and videos that make the platform what it is are the perfect means of gaining a little brand or cause awareness. People will pay more attention and feel more impact from a limited time message, and the unique media nature of these messages makes them practically unforgettable.

Step 2: Branding

The platform lives off of photos and videos. What better way is there to brand than by using your business images and logo? Snapchat hands you the perfect platform to promote recognition of your brand. You can quickly imprint your business on your viewers by sharing branded images and incorporating your logo.

Step 3: Encourage Selfies

How do people react when they try your product? Do they light up with joy or excitement? Do they relax or display a sense of relief? Are they happily shocked? Emotions are a powerful selling tool. Asking Snapchatters to share their experience and reactions after they try your product is a great way to encourage potential customers to snatch up your product.

Step 4: Gather a Following

Leverage other social media channels to start your Snapchat following. It’s the perfect platform for your super busy audience members who only have a few seconds to glance at their phones throughout the day. It’s also perfect for reaching those on-the-go viewers.

Step 5: Increase Loyalty

Want to gain more loyal followers? How many loyal customers can you think of? The truth is we want a good number of both, and it’s even better when our loyal followers are also loyal customers. Consistently sharing pleasing snaps will increase your chances of securing those coveted loyal viewers and potential loyal customers.

Step 6: Entice with Offers

Marketers know that limited time offers drive sales. They appeal to everyone, whether a person is an impulse junkie or a cautious buyer. A 10-second offer via a snap is just the thing to drum up excitement, and it’s the perfect way to get someone new to try out your product.

A great way to entice your audience is with special Snapchat coupons. According to Mashable, 16 Handles was the first business to use Snapchat for a marketing campaign. The promotion by the New York City-based yogurt shop was broken down into three easy steps:

  • First, you sent out an image of yourself tasting their yogurt on-site to the 16 Handles Snapchat account.
  • Next, they would automatically send a Snapchat image of a coupon back to you.
  • Finally, you would wait to open the image of the coupon until you were at the register, ready to redeem it. Once opened, the coupon would self-destruct within 10 seconds. The coupon’s value would be for anywhere from 16 to 100 percent off your purchase. So fun!

Step 7: Introduce Something New

People love new! It doesn’t matter if they’re new to your business or not. If you announce something as new, people automatically associate with better and attention worthy. You can use Snapchat to send out snaps of new menu items or product images. The 10-second peak, especially if it’s a sneak peak of something up and coming, will be enough to draw viewers to your website for a better look.

Step 8: Build Your FAQ

Customer service with a face is one of the most undervalued and underused marketing strategies leveraged on the World Wide Web today. You can give people that personal touch that encourages loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals by replying to frequently asked questions with a friendly snap. Use videos or snap images with inserted text.

It’s a unique means of connecting with and visually engaging your audience. Not only are they bound to remember it, but they’re also likely to say, “This company is awesome because they are personable.”

Step 9: Help Your Customers

Do you constantly see questions about how or why to use your product? A visual demonstration is the perfect way to provide an answer while helping your customers in a tangible way. For example, when the fix to a customer’s issue is as easy as flipping a switch, pressing the right button, plugging in or resetting, why not shoot them the instructions by means of a snap? They’ll get help in a snap, pun intended!

Step 10: Give People Directions

Let’s be honest; a lot of us navigate by way of landmarks. You could tell a customer, “On the corner of South and Main,” a million times, but they’ll remember that giant oak tree or statue before they remember exactly where the corner of South and Main is located. Snap pictures of your building, street signs, or a nearby landmark to help customers find your location.

Tracking the Value

The final and most important step to using Snapchat is having a monitoring system in place! This is very important if you’re to understand if the platform is worth it to your business. As said at the outset of this article, none of us denies the importance of social media, but all of us have trouble dedicating enough time to our profiles. Therefore, we allocate the most time and attention to the platforms that produce results.

Snapchat doesn’t currently offer any of the analytical tracking or insights that we have access to on networks like Facebook and Twitter, but there are ways to track it on your own. For example, you can track the use of your snap coupons at the register, and you can track your followers through Snapchat’s contact system.

Surveys are another handy way of tracking the overall reaction of your audience to your Snapchat use. You can send out survey links through Snapchat’s new messaging service. You can even build in some pointed questions into your already active surveys. For example, if you already survey to find out how a responder heard about you, add Snapchat to the list of choices. If you answer customer questions or provide customer service via a snap, ask how useful it was for the customer in your quality control survey.

A Network Worthy Of Attention

Untapped resources like Snapchat are especially useful for marketing. If you think that the functionality and capabilities of the app are relevant to your target market, then it just may be a valuable tool to use.

Header image credit: Wikipedia & Canva

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Velvet Elran specializes in researching, planning, strategizing and implementing social media for companies. She is the Owner of Dynamic Buzz.
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