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Snapchat may be the newest thing for “kids these days,” but that’s exactly why it should be part of your marketing strategy. It offers a 75 percent chance of converting users compared to other platforms, making it one of the most powerful social media tools for your business.

Snapchat is a relevant and easy-to-use marketing platform that businesses should not overlook, with roughly 400 million monthly active users.

Find out more about what Snapchat has to offer your brand as a marketing tool and how you can leverage this platform for success.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is an app for Android and iOS devices. Headed by co-founder Evan Spiegel, Snapchat functions on the premise that any picture or video you send is available to the receiver for a short time before disappearing. The idea behind disappearing content was to make interactions more natural.

Initially intended for private, one-on-one photo sharing, Snapchat is now used for a range of different tasks, such as short videos, messaging, live video chatting, stories, and caricature-like Bitmoji avatars. There’s even a section for short-form content that includes major brands like Buzzfeed.

Moving away from the ephemeral nature of the original idea, Snapchat now allows you to screenshot or store media in a private area. It also offers filters, augmented reality lenses, and live location information. 

Snapchat Glossary

Snapchat has a lot of lingo associated with it. Here’s what it all means:

  • Snap: A snap is a photo or video that’s created, sent, or received. When someone asks for a snap, they’re asking to have a photo or video sent through Snapchat. Responding to a snap is known as a “Snapback.”
  • Story: Snaps can be linked together and broadcast, appearing as a story reel to followers. This reel can only be played back for 24 hours, and after that, it disappears for good. Stories can be saved in the memory section, however.
  • Snapcode: A Snapcode is a scannable code that works with a user’s camera on a smartphone. All a user has to do is flash the Snapchat camera at the Snapcode to add a friend immediately, rather than searching for friends manually and requesting or adding them. It’s similar to a QR code. Snapcodes can be accessed by clicking the ghost icon or Bitmoji on the app.
  • Score: The score is a number near a user’s handle on Snapchat. The score is calculated by combining the number of snaps sent and received, stories posted, and other factors. Higher scores mean more interaction, which is a valuable insight from a marketing perspective.
  • Lenses: Lenses are augmented reality special effects and sounds that can be added to snaps. You can activate lenses in the camera screen of Snapchat, long-pressing the image in camera view, and selecting a lens with the capture button.
  • Filters: Filters offer fun overlays that can add some flourish to snaps. Users can take a snap and swipe right or left to add colors, time, weather, speed, or other filters. 
  • Geofilters: Similar to normal filters, geofilters can be used to decorate snaps and are specific to locations or events. On-demand geofilters can be designed or purchased by individuals or companies and only become available when a user enters a specific location, such as an event venue. At Zutobi, we use geofilters to target users in specific areas, such as people that may be interested in a commercial drivers license
  • Discover: This section is designed for brands to promote content and broadcast stories to followers. Discover includes branded content from a lot of big-name brands, such as ESPN, Cosmopolitan, and Buzzfeed. 

How to Leverage Snapchat Marketing 

Snapchat marketing should be part of your social media marketing strategy, especially if your brand’s target audience is younger. Here are some tips to incorporate it into your existing strategy:

Build an App Presence

Snapchat is all about engagement, so you must maintain a presence on the app. Begin with creating a business profile that’s capable of running ads. You can choose a username, but keep in mind that it must be unique. Depending on your business name, you may need to add numbers, symbols, or other characters to use it. Your username can’t be changed once you set it. 

Next, add your brand’s logo to your profile and link the account to your email. Once you verify your email, you’re ready to start snapping and adding friends. 

Gain a Following

Building your following on Snapchat takes time and patience, but it’s well worth the effort. To begin, start adding friends to your list and sharing content. Over time, you’ll gain more friends and have a true audience for your content. Here are some tips to add Snapchat friends:

  • Migrate phone contacts: When you create a profile, you’ll have the option to add friends from your contact list that have an existing Snapchat profile. You’ll have a quick roster of friends and warm leads. 
  • Invite social media friends: Another way to build your followers is by inviting people from other social media platforms. You can use your Snapcode on other social media platforms and ask people to check your brand out on Snapchat. It’s not only quick and easy for your followers, but it saves you a lot of work.
  • Send an email blast: If you have a young audience, your followers love to be thrilled that you’re on Snapchat. Why not let them know with an email blast? Just send an email alerting everyone to the news and asking them to follow you. You could even offer exclusive content, such as behind-the-scenes videos or product previews, which they can only get on Snapchat. 
  • Offer giveaways and contests: Another great way to generate interest in your Snapchat account is with giveaways or contests. If you sell products, you can run a contest with samples, discounts, or a free gift. This not only builds your following, but it’s a good way to generate interest and new customers. 

Appeal to Your Audience

Now that you have some followers on Snapchat, it’s time for content. It’s important to offer consistent, valuable content to keep the social media engagement up. Some great options for Snapchat’s users include interviews with employees, customer testimonials, or behind-the-scenes videos. 

Snapchat thrives on authenticity, so keep it real. If you have something you think will really help your followers, promote it! For example, we might create a video for our followers in Tennessee that quizzes our users on particular questions from Tennessee’s permit test. This allows us to provide interactive content while still promoting and driving users to our site for more content. 

As you grow, you’ll learn what kind of content your audience expects of you and how you can deliver the most topical and relevant information to keep them wanting more.

Be Innovative

One of the best things about Snapchat for marketing is that not many brands are using it. Unlike Facebook, which has a massive user base and tons of business pages, only a portion of businesses are on Snapchat. You don’t have to make the most polished, professional-ad-quality videos to have an impact. 

Snapchat also offers an opportunity to experiment. There’s not a lot of risk, since the content disappears. Don’t be afraid to try something different and innovative to see how your audience responds. 

Bring Influencers in for a Takeover

A Snapchat takeover is when you allow an influencer to take control of your Snapchat account for a day to draw attention to your brand. As you probably know, influencer marketing is powerful, and this combines the best of both worlds. 

This can be intimidating, since you’re giving someone else power over your brand message. Before you agree to a takeover, make sure you’re comfortable with the influencer and their way of approaching takeovers. Agree on a strategy in advance to ensure everyone has the same goals and expectations. 

Maintain Realistic Expectations

Snapchat is great for growing an audience and getting consistent engagement. While some brands get on Snapchat and take off, it’s more realistic to expect a slow and steady growth on the platform. If you get into it thinking that you’ll skyrocket with an internet-famous brand, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. 

If you already built a following on other social media platforms, you understand that it takes consistency, patience, and fine tuning. Snapchat is no different, so keep your expectations in check and take your time building your following. 

Additional Tips

Here are some additional quick tips for using Snapchat:

  • Leverage Snapchat’s authenticity to humanize your brand.
  • When you’re just starting out, drive as much traffic as possible from your other platforms.
  • Think of stories as an actual story with a beginning, middle, and end for an engaging experience.
  • Give your audience a reason to follow you with valuable, relevant content.
  • People love free stuff – host as many contests and giveaways as you can to get people interested in your brand.
  • If you have a team, get them involved in Snapchat marketing for more inspiration.
  • Take Snapchat seriously for a marketing platform, but make sure to have fun and experiment.

Take Your Marketing to the Next Level with Snapchat

Snapchat is only growing in popularity, so now is the best time to get in on the action. Bring Snapchat into your marketing mix to take advantage of the authenticity, engagement, and benefits of this unique platform.


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Leo Waldenback

Leo Waldenback is the co-founder of Zutobi Drivers Ed, a gamified e-learning platform focused on online drivers education to help teens get their license. Leo founded Zutobi to make world-class driver's education fun, affordable, and easily accessible for all.

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