June 26, 2015 | Amanda Martin

Why You Should Be Using Snapchat for Your Business

Lately, there have been a few “new” things happening on the social media front line that have gotten a lot of attention—Snapchat, Meerkat, Periscope, and Dubsmash, to name a few. Some of these have been around a while and are just starting to pick up traction.

emily-winsauer-garyvee-snapThe little ghost that could, Snapchat has been around since September of 2011. Gary Vaynerchuk, the evangelist preacher of the social media realm, has been spreading the word about it since the third quarter of 2013.

Way back then, he proclaimed that Snapchat was going to be HUGE and demanded that brands and businesses stand up and pay attention. While it’s not quite as huge as Gary anticipated yet, it's definitely picking up speed.

My prediction is that by this time next year, Snapchat is going to be used to tie multiple platforms together, for example by encouraging followers to screenshot coupons and use them online or share them on Twitter. In fact, we just joined ourselves: you can find us under vieodesign.

Snapchat is an image-driven app that allows users to share photos and videos with everyone who follows the user and/or individual users to whom they send the "snap." If sent directly to another user, the snap disappears forever after 3-10 seconds (depending on what the poster chooses). If the user posts it to "My Story," it will be visible to anyone who follows them for 24 hours. People can download or take screenshots of the images, but Snapchat alerts the user if an image has been saved. Oh, and one other thing--you can draw on the images and videos, as well as add text and filters

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It’s easy to utilize this for your business if you can get beyond thinking about Snapchat as an app consumers use to send each other pictures. For example, say your company gets on Snapchat account and is immediately followed by your current social media base.

You end up with a respectable number of users. You use it to send some clever snaps of people at the office (the one to the left was shared during a VIEO staff meeting), a company birthday party, a project you're proud of... but how do you get them excited about what you're doing on Snapchat? Give them an action to take!

Snap a picture of a new product with a caption like "Be the first to tweet a screenshot of this and tag us, and win the product!" You can then explain to the winner that they're getting to try the product before it's officially released, and ask them to review it on their social channels. Not only will they expand your reach, but all the people who enter will tag you on Twitter and may choose to follow you.

If you're a retail business, you could also encourage people to screenshot a coupon for 15% off their next purchase. All they'd have to do is show the clerk at checkout or enter a coupon code online. There are so many ways to use Snapchat to get engagement on other platforms, but don't forget to mix it up between regular snaps and promotional ones. Being overtly sales-y on Snapchat isn't going to be more effective than it is anywhere else.

Snapchat videos and images only last 10 seconds and are gone forever. Think about those 10 seconds as a mere fraction of an hour. You have that person’s attention for 10 whole seconds--they actually have to hold the screen with their finger to watch it, so you know they're focused. I know 10 seconds is not going to feel like a big deal to some traditional marketers, but it is. Undivided attention is very hard to come by these days, so use the 10 seconds you have wisely.

drifter-mama-snapchatSnapchat started with a purely C2C model, but they must have known that once it became popular with consumers, businesses would follow.

As more businesses become aware of it, Snapchat is adapting itself to be more B2C friendly. They added the Discover section and allow a handful of brands to use a different format for their posts than that of the C2C interface. They're also beta-testing the use of sponsored geofilters with a few brand partners.

Geofilters have the potential to be very localized (possibly even tied to the GPS of your business?), and I believe that they're going to be what pushes Snapchat into Instagram-level popularity.

If you're on Snapchat, give me a follow at DrifterMama (you can just open the app and take a picture of the symbol to the right to add someone automatically). Look for more Snapchat blogs in the future, and we may even take a swing at the Periscope versus Meercat battle, or the always-fun Dubsmash!

How can Snapchat fit in with a marketing campaign?

VIEO Design's Snapchat Quiz-How Well Do You Know Snapchat?

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Amanda Martin

Amanda Martin

Amanda is no longer with VIEO, but as an inbound marketing project manager she coordinated with VIEO’s design, content, and strategy teams to create compelling, effective inbound marketing campaigns.

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