Originally thought to be an app made for young Millennials to broadcast their lives, Snapchat has evolved into a powerful social platform that allows businesses to creatively market their brand—that is if they are willing to take on the challenge. While using Snapchat to share your business’ story may prove to be tricky, if you’re willing to take the time and put in the effort to figure it out, you’ll quickly see promising results.
Snapchat first came into being in 2011 when it’s co-founders, Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown invented an app that allowed users to take a picture — a snap— that would disappear after 10 seconds. Within two years of its inception, the app was clocking 150 million snaps per day and began catching the eye of big brands.
Gary Vaynerchuk, an avid Snapchatter, and CEO of Vanyner Media predicts that Snapchat will be in one of the top three most important apps in the world by this year (2016) for people between the ages of 25 to 50. While it’s probably safe to take a social media expert at his word, there are plenty of numbers to support Gary’s claim: Snapchat has an estimated 200 million monthly active users and 100 million daily active users.
The only competitor in the social media realm that comes even remotely close to matching these numbers is Instagram, which had 180 million monthly active users at their four-year mark. Furthermore, Snapchat appears to have the most engaged audience with over 400 million snaps per day.
By comparison, Twitter, who took the social media world by storm in 2010, was averaging 50 million per day at this stage. Yet as of September 2015, only 2% of businesses were using the app for marketing. While this means that businesses are late to the game, those who start using it now will not only have minimal competition but will have the opportunity to use Snapchat to stand out from the rest.
Still not sure if this social network is right for you? Here are four major reasons why Snapchat can help your business.
1. Unleash your creativity and show your followers the “real you.”
Snapchat provides its users with a seemingly endless amount of creative possibilities. In addition to the many filters this app lets you choose from, it also allows you to draw on top of your picture. This seemingly simple feature is a creative variable that can help bring your brand to life. And due to the ephemeral nature of the app, you don’t have to worry about posting perfectly polished pieces—instead, you can focus on creating raw, real moments that will elicit emotion and leave an impression. Check out Dove to see how you too can creatively use Snapchat to inspire viewers.
2. It is the perfect way to share (part of) your story.
Snapchat’s stories feature will allow your business to tap into storytelling abilities. Using this feature, you can combine several snaps to create a larger story with a beginning, middle, and end over the course of 24 hours. Unlike the 10 second snap, you now have the option of posting a collection of 7–15 images and videos to tell their story. You can share a long narrative, like snapping your entire night at the Super Bowl, or add one snap at a time.
3. Capture your audience’s attention in no time!
Many see Snapchat’s short shelf life as a disadvantage. However, because users know that a snap will disappear once it has been played is an explicit part of the platform, they will be far more likely to give each snap they open 100% of their attention—a marketer’s dream come true. While a 10-second snap might not seem all that long, it’s the perfect amount of time, since the average attention span is roughly 8 seconds long.
To put it another way, if you have 1,000 followers on Snapchat, 900 of them will watch your story. How can this be? Unlike other social networks where content is most likely to been viewed right when it is posted, once a snap is sent, it won’t disappear from the receiver’s feed until it is opened.
Furthermore, the overall setup of the app, where each follower receives a single snap from a recipient, makes viewers feel like each snap was specifically made for them. This individual touch also raises the chances that they will watch it until the end.
4. Watch your audiences grow on all your social networks.
Unlike other social networks, Snapchat has no influencer profiles, meaning your business and DJ Khaled are playing on the same field. Therefore, for you to gain a following, you must promote your Snapchat profile on your other social networks.
Fortunately, the app is ideal for multi-platform campaigns. For example, before the release of a new collection or product, you can create a set of snaps that will cleverly reveal the product. Before the reveal promote it on your other social media accounts by telling your audiences that the release preview will be shared exclusively with your Snapchat followers. This tactic will not only create traffic on your other social networks, but it will help you grow your audience on Snapchat as well.
Conversely, if you are trying to grow your following on another social network channel, you can create snap stories that invite your followers to participate in campaigns on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.
Before you go…
In many ways, Snapchat is a whole new creative frontier that businesses can use to engage their followers. And there is only one way to excel at it—start snapping! Don’t worry too much about any possible missteps because they will quickly disappear from your viewers’ screens. Just remember that the reason so many millions of people are drawn to this app is because they are attracted to its novelty, its creativity, and its ever-changing nature. So make sure you embrace these qualities and show how your brand is evolving in real time too.
Don’t know how to get started? Check out these cool campaign ideas!
You can also follow Element5’s in-house Snapchat aficionado, Paul Chambers at @paulchambers and see what our leader gets up to day-to-day.