How to Leverage Snapchat to Boost Your Business

snapchatThe very fact that both Presidential candidates are including Snapchat in their social media marketing strategy (Hillary has an actual profile, while Donald sponsored a snarky filter) should tell you that it’s a formidable marketing option, and one you might want to add to your own arsenal.  While currently, the majority of Snapchat users are aged 13 to 34, its reach is starting to skew older as the photo and video social media app gains popularity and hits the mainstream. And the fact that more than 100 million people are opening the app every single day should be reason enough for you to start snapping up opportunities to connect with your audience there.

Here are some Snapchat best practices that can help you maximize your marketing efforts on the app.

Use Easy-to-Remember URLs

To drive traffic back to your website, you’ll want to include a link to it on Snapchat. Alex Charfen, an internationally recognized speaker and business consultant, says to keep the URL short, easy to use, and easy to spell.

“Since your content is inherently time sensitive (and will disappear), make sure that when you use these URLs, you feature them in 3-4 snaps in a row. This gives your audience time to react. Interestingly, I’ve found most people take a screenshot in my third or fourth snap featuring the URL.”

Keep it Unscripted

One of the things Snapchat users love is that photos and videos are raw and unrehearsed. While elsewhere, brands are spending a lot of money on video marketing, remember that Snapchat is a different animal.

While you might plan out what you want to do or say in your video, don’t stress over making it too polished, otherwise you may alienate your audience, who expects amateur experiences they can relate to.

Let Someone Take Over Your Account

Sometimes the best marketing you can do on Snapchat isn’t done in your office. Kaleigh Wiese, Founder and CEO of Garment-Exchange.com, a peer-to peer marketplace that allows women nationwide to rent their clothing, says her brand regularly invites users to take over the company’s account to share their personal brands and promote the community of fashionistas within Garment Exchange.  “Snap content from within the office can be a bit redundant, so this keeps fresh content appearing to our followers,” says Wiese.

Provide Exclusive Access

When followers get sneak peeks or insider views into your brand that non-followers don’t get access to, they feel special. This might come in the form of unveiling a new product before it hits the shelves, going behind the scenes at a big event, or even getting your followers’ opinion on which direction to take your product line.

Take Over Someone Else’s Account

Another way to get exposure on Snapchat with an audience who might not otherwise know about your brand is to take over another user’s account that targets your demographic.

Ecommerce shop Twill took over Shopify’s Snapchat account for a day, and let viewers into a day in the life of Twill. “We first started with an introduction and passion behind Twill. Throughout the day we recorded live feed of our blanket drop offs to local organizations so our customers see how they are helping their local community,” said Zac Halloran, CEO and Founder of Twill.

Sponsor a Filter

While Snapchat filters that turn you into a superhero or an animal are fun for users, they also pack a punch when it comes to marketing your brand. David Lieberson, Senior Account Executive at Finn Partners, says that creating a custom filter for the ASK DC (Assault. Services. Knowledge.) app had phenomenal results in encouraging thousands of late night revelers to download the app and stay safe when partying. “Whenever the filters were live (9pm – 1am) I believe we saw a marked increase in traffic to the website and we saw increased download numbers throughout the end of the summer.” The filter was used more than 300 times (in Snapchats and Snapchat stories) and viewed by 15,700 followers, and only cost a few hundred dollars.

Put Your Focus on Your Followers

It may seem counterintuitive to center your Snapchat shares around what your followers are doing on the app, but it’s great for engagement. Who doesn’t love to be the center of attention, especially when it’s from a brand like yours? Food delivery service GrubHub is a great example of a brand doing this right. One of the early adopters of Snapchat, the brand soon realized the benefit of engaging followers and letting them be the focus of updates.

Hold Contests and Giveaways

Snapchat users are an interactive bunch, and by holding contests or giveaways, you can get them to spread the word about your brand for you.

Make sure the prizes are drool-worthy, and the contest entry rules simple. You could ask followers to snap a photo of them using your product, or go with a holiday theme, like dressing in their scariest Halloween costume, and you choose a winner.

If your audience is using Snapchat regularly, it’s in your best interest to find unique ways to engage them there. What you’re doing on other social media channels won’t work for this one, so make sure to both emulate other brands who have proven success on the app as well as chart your own course to innovation.

Are you using Snapchat to engage millennial customers? Let us know.

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