Many of you may be clicking on this post thinking, "I still don't get Snapchat."
Don't worry. Snapchat isn't for everyone, and it certainly isn't the next big social network for businesses. But that doesn't mean the social mobile application should be ignored entirely -- especially if you're a marketer that's up for trying out-of-the-box ideas.
If you'd like to explore Snapchat for marketing, this post should give you a rundown of everything you need to know.
What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a mobile photo messaging application that lets you take photos or videos, known as "snaps." These snaps can be sent to users you are connected with for a maximum of 10 seconds -- meaning a user can only view your snap for 10 seconds or less, after which that snap is deleted forever.
Want to send a quick note you're arriving in Miami but don't want to clutter a friend's stream? Just send them a quick snap.
Recently, Snapchat also launched the ability to live text, chat, and video call your contacts.
If you're looking for some more quantitative insights into this mobile application, these few Snapchat stats should help:
58% of college students would be likely to purchase a brand's product or service if they were sent a coupon on Snapchat. [Source: Sumpto] (Click to Tweet)
Is anyone using Snapchat for marketing?
It's not the most popular new social app to land on marketers' radars, to be sure. But there's always someone willing to experiment with these new apps and networks -- and often, the marketers that get somewhere early and experiment see the best returns. So, with some creativity, you may find Snapchat incredibly beneficial. 16 Handles is the perfect example.
16 Handles, a froyo joint across New England, held a "Snappy New Year" promotion where they asked fans to snap a photo of themselves tasting yogurt at one of their stores to the official 16 Handles Snapchat account. Then, the official 16 Handles account would send a Snapchat back at some point in the future with a custom coupon to the store.
But here was the creative part: Since snaps only last as long as 10 seconds once they're opened, users had to wait in anticipation until they were getting their next froyo at 16 Handles to unveil how much their coupon was worth. All coupons ranged from 10% to 100% -- so customers knew they were getting some kind of a deal, but had to wait to open up the Snapchat to find out how much they'd be getting off their purchase.
It's a great marketing campaign to drive repeat visits, and show love for your current customers.
While 16 Handles admits they did little to track the effectiveness of these campaigns, as good data-driven inbound marketers we know we could have given custom codes for each coupon, or had a system for storing how each coupon was used across stores.
How does one get started with Snapchat marketing?
Alright, so now that you see a business use case isn't out of the question, you might be interested in doing some experimentation of your own.
Luckily, digital strategist Ross Simmonds released a wonderful SlideShare that reviews everything you need to know for making Snapchat an effective part of your marketing toolkit. From setting up your account, to thinking through your Snapchatting strategy, to simply understanding why this visual application is making such successful strides, this SlideShare encompasses it all. Check it out below.
Could you give me some Snapchat marketing ideas?
Still stuck? Here are a few ways you could give Snapchat a try. And hey, if it doesn't work, it doesn't work. Work on designing quick, low-resource experiments when trying out new social networks like this. When your investment is minimal, a dud is no big deal; if the experiment shows the social network has promise, then invest more resources to see if you can turn it into something really big for your business.
1) Provide a product sneak peak.
Are you launching a new product or service you know your customers will love? Reduce their anticipation and release a quick 10-second sneak peak to your power users and evangelists. It could give your launch a bigger splash if they have time to formulate their thoughts, and even create content, around your new product.
2) Send a custom coupon.
Like the 16 Handles example above, send your customers a custom coupon that they can redeem at checkout. This will bring them into the store or ecommerce site and get them shopping around, but on their toes to reveal the ultimate coupon and use whatever value is redeemed. Just don't be a punk and have no coupon as an option -- that's not very lovable.
3) Release behind-the-scenes footage.
Working on a new video? Give your fans a little preview of what's to come, or a peak at how you're working behind-the-scenes. Perhaps you could release a series of behind-the-scenes videos, and have them guess what the video is about through a hashtag on Twitter. That way, you're connecting your snaps with a hashtag to track how much your fans are truly engaging with the content.
4) Engage event attendees with insider info.
If you're sponsoring an event, throwing an event, or even hosting a webinar, use Snapchat to give attendees inside information they wouldn't get otherwise. For instance, if you're sponsoring an event, you could use Snapchat to send them real-time event information. Tell them the line to the keynote's getting ong, and they should show up stat. Or that Happy Hour's ready 15 minutes early, and they can come get a drink on you. Anything that makes attendees feel VIP.
Is there any way to measure the ROI of Snapchat?
Currently Snapchat has no official business options, which means there's no performance analytics. Until they do (if they do), social media consultant Andrew Macarthy provides a method for hacking your way to results in this blog post. His measurement strategy is simple, but manual and time consuming. If you decide to give Snapchat a try, it may be worth going through the full closed-loop marketing process to assess whether or not you should use Snapchat for marketing moving forward.
We're very interested in hearing more from businesses who have experimented with Snapchat. If you have -- or know someone who has -- share your experiences in the comments.
Originally published May 7, 2014 1:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017