As soon as you think you’ve nailed down your Facebook and Twitter marketing strategies, another social platform appears: Snapchat. Snapchat’s userbase is mostly millennials, but this provides a great opportunity for marketers to reach out.

snapchatvirtanzaIn my December post, “2016 Marketing Trends to Prepare For,” I mentioned that Snapchat will become a major tool for marketers in 2016. Snapchat is, in fact, already quite popular, but it is growing rapidly. It now has more than 100 million users and delivers over 7 billion video clips every day, according to Bloomberg.

I am a millennial who has seen and experienced the major evolution of Snapchat, but a few years ago I never would have dreamed that this social media platform would become such a target for marketers. After all, how could content that lasts less than 10 seconds possibly work for advertising? Because, yes, when it comes to Snapchat, the content virtually self-destructs after its given time constraint.

Well, there’s a way to do it: by using the Story feature. A Snapchat Story allows your brand to share your content for a longer period of time: 24 hours. Use the time constraint to your advantage; it’s what separates Snapchat from other social media platforms (whose content can be archived and is always accessible), and you can use it as a special tool to market your brand, points out Social Media Examiner. Blogger Kate Talbot tells us, “You can make your fans feel like insiders by providing content that’s not available on your other social channels. This will excite users because they’ll feel they’re in the know and will develop an emotional connection to you and your content.”

So how can you do this?

    • Offer perks. One commonly cited example of a successful Snapchat campaign is the frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles’ promotion. They encouraged users to send them a “snap” eating frozen yogurt to receive a special coupon code for 16%, 50%, or 100% off (which they then had only 10 seconds to show the cashier before it self-destructed).
    • Share behind-the-scenes footage. This reduces the barrier between consumer and brand, making the relationship more personal. The clothing brand Free People does an excellent job at this by giving followers peeks at their offices.
      • Free People Director of Marketing Kathryn O’Connor says, “We keep followers guessing, so that when they go to open a snap, we have 100% of their attention…It’s a channel where followers get real insight into the brand and what we’re doing. There is a true delight factor in that.”
    • Give your customers a preview of new products. Rebecca Minkoff made her fans feel special by debuting oufits for her Spring 2014 collection before they appeared on the New York runway.
    • Get fans involved with your Snapchat story. A prime example of this is Heineken’s Snapchat strategy for Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in 2014.
      • describes the brilliant technique for engaging consumers:
        “Fans connected to the brand’s username…and were then sent a prompt to reply back with their birthdate to confirm they were 21 or over. The brand snapped image clues of select artists (think a piano as a clue for Billy Joel) who would be performing, and by replying back and guessing the artist correctly, the fan was then sent an exclusive sneak peek on when that performance was happening.”
      • Users could enjoy partaking in exclusive content. Heineken benefited, too, as their Snapchat campaign encouraged festival-goers to come to the Heineken House, the beer brand’s sponsored stage at the event.

Learning to use Snapchat

Let’s be honest: at first, Snapchat is a bit complicated. Wall Street Journal says it like it is: “It’s not you, it’s Snapchat.” Welcome to what they refer to as the world’s most confusing social network. Fortunately, they’ve simplified the learning process with a fun and detailed guide!