Is Snapchat marketing truly viable for business? I tend to go up and down on my opinion of Snapchat and if marketing via this social media platform is worth the time and money.
And then I look at my teenager daughter and her friends. As much as it pains me, Snapchat marketing is not only viable, it can’t be overlooked if you are a B2C company that markets to teenagers.
If you are marketing to younger consumers, take a moment to watch the teenagers and young adults around you. Look at them when they walk down the street, watch TV, or even when they are in groups. You’ll notice that no matter what they are doing, their eyes will seldom stray from the small display on their phones. This generation is attached to their smartphones 24/7.
This is the new world of B2C advertising to people under 30. It’s a world that Snapchat currently owns, but even if Snapchat were to vanish tomorrow, it wouldn’t change how the small vertical display on phones has become the main vehicle teens and young adults use to consume information, to watch entertainment, and to communicate with.
Marketing on Smartphones
Phones, and the way young adults use them, have created challenges for marketers that are as far reaching as when television replaced radio. Landscape ads that look great in magazines and on TV screens don’t work on phones. Neither do ads with more than three or four words of text.
Jeep figured this out when they created the most successful ad for Superbowl 50. It was designed for YouTube and was meant to be seen on a vertical phone display. As a result, it appeared letterboxed on people’s big screen TVs. The Jeep ad told a very moving story.
Gatorade used a snapchat lens which was an animation. Taco Bell created an ad with a lens that inserted a viewer’s head inside of a huge taco. The Taco Bell ad generated 224 million views on Snapchat in 24 hours.
It is highly unlikely that you have the advertising budget of Jeep, Taco Bell or Gatorade, but you can still market well on Snapchat with a shoestring budget.
Using Snapchat Marketing in Real Life
In you want to reach the younger generations, it’s essential that you familiarize yourself with how to use Snapchat, which is no easy task. Consider hiring a couple of Snapchat savvy teenagers or college students to teach you.
Besides becoming proficient in using Snapchat’s standard features, you will also need to stay current with the new features that Snapchat has been rolling out every couple of weeks.
Here’s a brief look at some of the Snapchat features that can be used for marketing:
- Filters – A basic Snapchat filter is an overlay that’s placed over an image. It might change the lighting or add a special effect, or allow you to place stickers on an image. There are also community filters that place a specially designed logo of a city or location over a selfie that you are sending to your followers.
- Lenses – Lenses are different from filters because lenses use facial recognition to add animations to your selfies. Some snapchat lenses are more real in appearance, while others are more playful. They can change your face into different shapes or place your face into a specific theme. A problem most marketers will have with lenses is that Snapchat currently charges up to $750,000 or more for a single lens. So most marketers will want to focus on filters instead of lenses, and On Demand Geofilters in particular.
- On Demand Geofilters – According to Snapchat, “Whether it’s a house party or wedding, a coffee shop or campus wide event, On Demand Geofilters make it easy for Snapchatters who are there to send your message to friends.” Brand logos can be used in Geofilters by legitimate businesses. Snapchat will charge from $5 and up for using a Geofilter. An On Demand Geofilter can run up to 30 consecutive days, and you will need to use a “Geofence” for defining where an On Demand Geofilter will be available for your Snapchat followers.
- Memories – Other Snapchat options to know about are the newly instituted Memories, which allows users to pull images and videos from their Camera roll and send them to their followers. This is one of the new game-changers for Snapchat, because it allows people to Photoshop images and edit videos before using them in Snapchat. What you send will still disappear after your followers see it, but you will have access to it.
- Stories – Another way of using Snapchat for marketing is to tell a Story. Stories let users string together pictures and videos taken throughout the day. Stories exist for 24 hours and can be replayed by your followers who you send them to. This is different from sending single photos and videos which disappear once they are watched. Quantas Airways has come up with a creative way to tell stories. They are releasing Stories that show what their employees do, such as changing the tires on a jumbo jet.
Here are some sample forms of engagement that a coffee shop, clothing store, dog groomer, guitar teacher, WordPress developer, or someone who gives French lessons might consider:
- Offer a coupon. People can do a screen capture of your coupon that they can bring to you for a discount.
- Create a story that shows how you make a different coffee drink every couple of days.
- Send out a new vocabulary word every day that’s in French and English. Include a picture that goes with the word and say the word in both French and English.
- Every week, Snap a picture of a dog before and after you groom it.
- Send out a video showing some of the features of your latest WordPress theme, or give a tip for people who have WordPress sites.
- Show a new hand position on the guitar and include a brief explanation of what it is. Or make a video each week that shows a different kind of guitar, including an audio track of what it sounds like when you play it.
- Take a video highlighting a new outfit every couple of days, or “We just got these new sweaters in stock.”
- If one of your employees has something special going on in their life, do a video about it. Remember, when Snapchat is not about being funny, it’s about stories.
Getting Followers and Engagement on Snapchat
Snapchat is not like other social media, where you can invite others to follow you, and where you can pay to boost the number of viewers who see your posts. Your Snaps only go out to your followers on Snapchat, so it is important to leverage other forms of social media to increase the number of Snapchat followers.
One of the keys is posting your Snapcode so it is easy for people who have the Snapchat app to scan or take a photo of. This allows them to become one of your followers. Here are some suggestions:
- Prominently display your Snapcode on your website and blog.
- Use your Snapcode as your profile photo on Facebook, or put it on your banner so your followers can easily scan it with their phones.
- If you send out a newsletter, prominently display your Snapcode.
- If you have an Instagram site, post your Snapcode.
- Tweet your Snapcode.
- Email your contacts a copy of your Snapcode, and embed it in your email signature. If you email POs, invoices or receipts, include your Snapcode.
- If you have a store or physical location that people come to, prominently display your Snapcode on the door and on the cash registers.
- If you are an author, put your Snapcode on or in your book(s)
- If you post to LinkedIn, be sure to include your Snapcode.
- If you do YouTube videos, put your Snapcode near the beginning and end. This allows viewers to easily get your snapcode.
- Encourage your Snapchat followers to do a Snap of your business/product/service and send it to their followers.
- Post your Snaps on your other social media, and include your Snapcode with them.
Additional Resources for Snapchat Marketing
If you feel you want to expand your marketing efforts onto Snapchat, you will need to learn much more about it than I’ve covered in this very general overview. Here are two resources you might consider:
Aaron Martinez (AaronFPS) has a YouTube channel called “Break the Internet” where he consistently creates the best videos on Snapchat. You will probably need to replay several parts of each video, as AaronFPS does not speak slowly.
While Gary Vaynerchuk can sound a bit abrasive, his advice about marketing on Snapchat is currently the best you will find. He was interviewed a month ago by Evan Charmichael.
There are many more references available and ever more will come as businesses embrace Snapchat marketing and weave it further into their daily routine.
Snapchat in My Home
I’ll admit that I own a Snapchat account and I have a few friends and business associates on it that I’m connected with. But in all honesty, none of these people actually use it. They set accounts up and forgot about it. But that’s because we’re well past the optimal age group for Snapchat users.
The real reason I have an account isn’t for using Snapchat for marketing. It is so I can stalk my teenage daughter. And trust me, she doesn’t like my presence on the social media platform.
I personally hate the app and find it difficult to use. The user interface is challenging for me and it takes me way to long to find what I’m looking for. But I digress…
Before publishing these Snapchat posts, I asked my daughter to give me a rundown of her Snapchat usage. I wanted to figure out if a B2C company could effectively market to her.
She told me she has about 160 connections on Snapchat and these are mostly people from her high school. I know from watching and listening to her that she sends pictures of herself and then images of random things like walls and floors. She is highly interested in Snapchat streaks and maintaining these with her friends. She is not so interested in brands and their marketing via the app. In fact she doesn’t follow any brands at all.
If you’re marketer and trying to reach her, you’ll need to utilize a celebrity account or the stories feature, because that is the thing you’ll see her pay attention to when using the app.
The thing I find most strange is she asks for a friend’s Snapchat ID before a phone number. She is more likely to send communication via Snapchat then text. And this applies even if the communication is important and time sensitive.
My friend Michelle and I both had to tell our daughters to text or call over Snapchatting us. We had to remind the teenagers that we’re moms and quite frankly we don’t have Snapchat open 24/7. Neither one of us even want to use that app. Both of us work in sales and marketing of technology products, et we both run from this method of communication.
But that last tidbit illustrates the power of this social media platform and the potential for growth for marketers. Teenagers love it and moms hate it, yet there still lies massive amounts of potential for Snapchat marketing.
If my daughter and her friends are any indication of the future of marketing, us old moms and traditional marketers have to consider Snapchat marketing in the future. It isn’t going away anytime soon and as much as I hate to admit it, I have to get used to that fact.