Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last 4 years, I have no doubt that you’ve heard of Snapchat, but do you know enough about it? It strikes me that when it comes to this social network you’re on one of two sides. You have ‘Snapchat Super Fans’ who are fully immersed in the App, using it on a daily basis for pleasure and play. Then there are those who simply don’t care about it; to them it’s all about narcissism, selfies and silly (sometimes embarrassing) pictures that supposedly self-destruct after 10 seconds. Essentially, you’re either in or you’re out. Whatever side of the fence you’re on, as a Marketer you need to start getting into it. Snapchat is a very powerful marketing tool opening up a world of potential for consumer brands.
Everyday, Snapchat is used by more than 100 million people around the world, sending over 700 million pictures and video clips, making it more popular than Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Vine and Tumblr among those aged 18-34. In fact, the only social media platforms more popular with this segment are Facebook and Instagram. Therefore, if the millennial subset is your target market it’s vital that you learn quickly how to build an engaged Snapchat audience.
Dozens of leading publishers including CNN, Cosmopolitan and National Geographic are all taking Snapchat very seriously, especially since the launch of Discover, a new section of the App where users can search for content based on news and current affairs. Discover should be the main area of focus for brands who want to be seen to have their finger on the pulse of modern life, with some paying as much as $100,000 a day to advertise alongside the most prolific and relevant publishers.
So now you know it’s kind of a big deal, but what next…
Building a Snapchat community
Snapchatters use a combination of their existing social media channels to build a community. All Snapchat profiles have a unique QR-code, aka Ghost, which can be uploaded as a picture onto pre-existing social media profiles including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter where your network can easily scan it with their own Snapchat-app to follow you. This means if you’ve already worked hard to build an engaged audience across other channels, chances are you’ll quickly be able to replicate your communities on Snapchat.
It’s important that brand profiles are made public and have a straightforward and searchable name. The search function on Snapchat is strict in that you have to know the exact name of whom you’re looking to follow. Snapchat search doesn’t give you follower suggestions or forgive typos, so make sure your audience know who they’re looking for.
Creating content that reflects your brand
There are only a handful of edits you can make to on Snapchat content. Users have the option to post pictures or videos as they are, overlay text, or combine both with hand-drawn doodles – some of which can be extremely creative, such as the work by popular Norwegian snapper geeohsnap. The next choice to make is how long should the content be available; anywhere between 1 to 10 second if you don’t add it to your story.
Adding content to you ‘story’ means content can be accessed for the next 24 hours.
So what content works on Snapchat?
The most successful brands create content to share exclusive information with their followers. They’re not obviously trying to sell anything, it’s all about building brand awareness.
PepsiCo Norway used NHL-stars Mads Zuccarello to give followers exclusive content from his everyday life in NYC and gave fans a chance to win a meeting with the star. During the campaign, Pepsi Max got more than 5000 pictures from fans illustrating how much they love the brand, with Nordic Marketing Manager, Christian Træland stating that he has never experienced so much involvement from consumers before.
Another clever engagement tactic comes from Heineken at Coachella, where they sent their audience visual clues hinting at secret performance across the festival at any given point in the day. Fans were prompted to respond with their guess of who the artist was in order to receive early confirmation ahead of other festival-goers. The exclusivity element made this campaign an automatic hit and the talk of the festival.
It’s important for brands not create stories that are too long and complicated. Uploading over 100 pictures and videos every day, however beautiful they might be, will only overload and irritate your audience. In my opinion, the best stories are precise, lasting no more than 100 seconds. We all know the attention span of a millennial is short, so ensure your social media content cuts straight to the point. The whole essences when using Snapchat as a marketing tool is to tell a visual story, with a beginning and an end that will capture your audience’s imagination.
If millennials are your target market, you should definitely consider using Snapchat as a marketing tool. Start off by creating a clear and precise strategy and integrate it with your unique selling point. Give fans a reason to follow you instead of your competitors, whether it’s ideas on how to use you products in different ways, regular prizes, or hint and tips that they can only find on Snapchat. Use all you existing channels to tell them that your brand or company is on Snapchat. Then start to produce content that your followers want!