Snapchat is one of the most popular and fastest growing social media platforms in the world. Approximately 2.8 billion “snaps” are created every day and the app is used by over 158 million people. On average, users open the app 18 times a day and spend a total of about 30 minutes each day on the app chatting with friends and reading news. So, with such a broad reach, why do most companies either under-utilize the app or ignore it completely? It may be the perception that it’s only used by teenagers or that there’s no way to use it without spending a ton of money. However, there are many different ways to apply Snapchat to conventional marketing campaigns and it’s actually easier than you may think.
One of the biggest reasons marketers don’t use Snapchat is because they don’t understand the diverse array of features the app can offer. Here are some ways it can be used in a business context:
- Geofilters: Geofilters are basically design overlays that users can apply to photos they take while inside a virtual “fence.” There is an easy way to promote an event or promotion your company is having because guests can share the pictures they take with the filter via the app or via text. Additionally, your social media team members can take their own pictures with the filter on the Snapchat app and save them directly to their device for future use on other social platforms. For example, at a reception we recently held at the Taoti office, we created a three-hour geofilter that was only available to people in the office. This allowed us to take branded pictures and post them to our Facebook page. And the best part about using this feature is that it’s extremely cheap (the filter for the reception was only $5).
- Sponsored lenses: If you’re active on social media, you may have seen people post pictures using the lens that puts a dog nose and ears on their face. This is one of the most-used lenses on Snapchat.
But Snapchat isn’t the only company that can make these lenses. Lenses are a great way to encourage user engagement because they are designed to recognize the user’s face and follow their movements. There are a variety of different ways to use lenses but the most successful example is the Taco Bell Cinco de Mayo lens which set the new record number of lens views in one day at 224 million.
Unfortunately, while these last 24 hours and can be used nationwide, they are much more expensive than geofilters (between $450,000 and $750,000). However, for firms with larger budgets these can prove to be very effective when done the right way.
- Ads: Most companies think the only way to use Snapchat is by creating ads that appear to users when watching stories from their friends. However, while some larger companies do this, ads tend to be less effective because users can click through them with no great way to driver user engagement.
- Direct snaps and stories: Some companies have their own Snapchat account which they use to engage with followers directly. Unless the company is well-known across the country, this is typically not the best way to employ the app because many users are hesitant to add accounts they don’t know. There might, however, be potential for this for local companies with more local target audiences.
When marketers are so focused on creating “impact” and “lasting impressions” it is understandable to be skeptical of an app that is famous for its disappearing photos. But technology platforms like Snapchat are constantly evolving and continue to add features (such as the ability to replay content). These additions have turned Snapchat into a valuable marketing tool and it is important not to dismiss its effects or think that it is only for younger generations.
As with other platforms, understanding an app’s features, knowing when to use them, and the platform’s potential reach can be key in expanding social media presence, regardless of the size of your business.
Haley is Taoti’s Business Development Intern who researches and develops social media content strategy. Send us a note to chat with us about your upcoming project.