On the surface, Snapchat looks like fun tool that can be used to send funny pictures and captions; amusing, but not very helpful for small business marketing. Not true!  There are some great ways to use it as part of your marketing efforts. Here’s how to use Snapchat for business.

What exactly is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to capture videos and pictures that self-destruct after a few seconds.  When a user sends a message, they get to decide whether it will live for between 1 and 10 seconds.  It’s is one of the most popular messaging platforms out there today, one that’s grown dramatically from its original reputation of that app that people use for instant texts that disappear into a huge social network in its own right. It’s is an app that truly changed how people interact with friends compared to other popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Snapchat is both a messaging platform and a social network. It exists only as a mobile app you can download to your iPhone or Android smartphone. Users can chat with people by sending them photos and short videos. One of the most unique things about this social media platform is the short-lived components of all the content that gets shared on it. Photos and videos disappear a few seconds after they’ve been viewed by their recipients. Snapchat’s disappearing content makes online interaction feel more human.

How is it appropriate for business

According to Entrepreneur magazine:

  • Snapchat has roughly 26 million users in the United States
  • 77 percent of college students use Snapchat daily
  • 58 percent of college students would be likely to purchase a brand’s product or service if they received a coupon on Snapchat

That’s a huge audience of potential customers. If you’re not already using the app as part of your own marketing strategy you should consider it. It’s a powerful way to reach younger audiences, who are fleeing Facebook as advertisers pour in. The engagement on Snapchat is real, one-to-one engagement, which you can’t get with all social networks. This makes Snapchat, when used correctly, ideal for some businesses.

Uses for Snapchat as part of your marketing efforts

Not sure how to use this platform?  Here’s a few ideas:

  • Take people “behind the scenes” of your business – everyone is talking about how a business should have a story; something more than what you sell or what service you provide. Let people see who your business really is. They can see employees at work, see how products are being made, or simply see what your company’s “personality” is. Have fun with it! Of course, keep it professional!
  • Give people the “inside scoop” – show people a new service or product the public doesn’t know about yet. Give people a glimpse of what’s to come and start creating buzz.
  • Get others to be brand evangelists on Snapchat – empower employees and clients to get in on the action to tout your business. It’ll come across more authentic and you’re empowering people to show their passion for your company.
  • Promote an event – use it to let people know where your event is and what you’re up to. Give them quick updates and let them know what’s going on.

Check out Social Media Examiner’s article for more great ideas.

Getting started on Snapchat

There is one universal critique that everyone has about Snapchat:  it’s not terribly intuitive. However, once you get the hang of it, you’ll embrace it. Here are a few steps to get started on Snapchat:

  • After setting up your account, figure out what kind of content you’re going to post – you want to set the tone right up front, so don’t let your first endeavor into Snapchat be on the fly. Consider what content you’ll be sharing and make sure it adds value for your viewers and for your company.
  • Find friends and followers to start building up your following. Build your audience by being engaged with others online and watching what resonates with your audience.
  • Create stories – remember, marketing nowadays tells a story. Put a human element to your snaps.
  • Watch your analytics to see what’s working – like any other marketing effort, watch to see how your efforts are benefitting you.

While Snapchat might not be a necessary tactic for every small business marketing plan, look at this platform and see if it makes sense for your small business.

Patty Hughes
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