With the social media boom of the last decade, it’s important for businesses to utilize these platforms in whatever way they can. Often, these sites are more cost-effective than other methods because they come at little to no cost at all to the user.
With all the different applications to choose from, it can be difficult for business owners to know which to use and how they operate. Snapchat is a newer application and was released in 2011. When used properly, it’s an additional way to spread the word about your business and show online users exactly what you have to offer in visual form.
What Is Snapchat?
Chances are, you’ve heard of Snapchat in some capacity, whether it be from members of the younger generation or blogs on websites. But what is it exactly? Snapchat is a mobile messaging app used for sharing the following:
This platform gained popularity in relatively little time. What makes it different from other social media is that images sent within Snapchat are only visible for up to 10 seconds.
Why Use Snapchat for Business?
Since its release, users have figured out how to make money from Snapchat for their businesses. With over 100 million users daily, the majority of them between 13 to 34 years old, Snapchat can be potentially a great way to market. While this might not necessarily be your target audience, it can gain exposure in a new area and aid in passing information along to your current market.
Similar to other social media sites like Pinterest, Snapchat has a language of its own. Before utilizing this method for your business, it’s critical to understand the lingo and how others are using it. Popular terminology when using Snapchat is as follows:
• Bitmoji – A bitmoji is cartoon-like character users can create to model themselves, but with different expressions
• Filters. Like a photo editing app, these are applied to a snap after it’s taken. They may include black and white, sepia, or crowns and flowers.
• Memories. These memories allow users to save snaps and look back on different ones sent previously so as to avoid duplicate content.
• Snap. This is the name of the photo or video taken. It can also be a verb – whether someone has snapped you means if they’ve contacted you via Snapchat.
• Snapcode. A special QR code assigned to each individual user, allowing others to access your snaps.
• Snap streak. When your business and another user exchange snaps back and forth over a period of 24 hours, a snap streak is born. This counts the number of consecutive days in a row two users have snapped each other.
• Story. A collection of snaps played in a sequence. Create a general story, add to a public one or create a specialized story for a special event.
How to Set Up Snapchat for Your Business
Now that you know what Snapchat is, it’s time to set it up for your business. Begin with downloading the app for Android and iOS systems. The application will ask for the following information:
• Your name
• Your date of birth
• A username
• A password
• Your email and phone number
Be especially careful and creative when choosing a username, as you can’t go back and change it later. All your followers will see this username whenever you post something to Snapchat. After entering this information, the app will ask if you’d like to access your contacts automatically. You can choose to skip this step at first and upload your contacts manually instead. Once this is completed, the app will open, and you’re ready to start using Snapchat.
How to Send a Snap
There are three simple steps to follow when sending your first snap:
1. Choose the selfie or rear camera mode. You can switch between these options with a lens button located at the top-right of your screen.
2. Press the circle button in the middle of the screen to take a photo. If video is the preferred method for your snap at the time, press and hold the same button to take one. Remove your finger when you’re ready to finish filming.
3. Press the blue send button for the final step in this process. Select a customer or a story to send and hit the button to confirm.
Snap ads are vertical videos that are also full screen. Two-thirds of this video will play audio with the sound on. Meant to be an interactive element of Snapchat, they provide information about your company as well as the products and services offered. They may contain a brief CTA – call to action – that is specific to your business. Remember that these ads are only 10 seconds in length, so make the most out of your focal point.
Send snaps relevant to specific locations with the use of geofilters. If your business has multiple physical locations, this can be extremely beneficial. Business owners have the option of setting geofilters for all of these locations for easier access. They are also great for use during specific holidays. For example, if you own a doughnut shop, you’d want to apply a theme for National Doughnut Day. Snapchat made using geofilters simpler in 2017 with its addition of on demand geofilters. These available filters offer dozens in the ways of different templates, colors and wording. This option starts at only $5.99, so it’s cost effective and powerful.
More interactive than geofilters, sponsored lenses within Snapchat can be a viable option for businesses today. After taking a video, users apply a filter before users send it out to followers. This special facial recognition technology allows users to become whatever they desire – anything from a dog to Santa Clause, making it fun for both businesses and users. There are three steps in this process:
1. The technology detects an individual user’s face.
2. The software calculates the reaction of the user’s expression.
3. Creation of the final product is complete and ready to be sent.
Like the stories feature, Snapchat Discover compiles audio and video content with links to proper articles and graphics embedded within. Choose your favorites based on your business’ needs and send them to specific targeted users. Snapchat Discover has its own tech store located inside of it. Currently, the store only offers Snapchat items for purchase, but promises more selection in the future. This option is pricier than others, and should be considered only on a case-by-case basis.
Focus on Your Followers
It may seem like a strange concept to center stories around what your users are doing online, but it’s what designers recommend for maximum impact. Most humans enjoy being at the center of attention and, when it comes to business, this is no exception. Your followers will notice attention from your brand and be more likely to engage with it. Your company should maximize the benefits of focusing on its followers’ activities and letting them be the focal point of snaps and stories within Snapchat.
Hold a Contest
Another beneficial way to engage users is by holding a contest in which they can participate. It will get the word out about your brand as well as require users to interact with your products. Hold a giveaway that pertains to your product. Offer unique prizes for winners and create simple rules for them to follow. This could mean asking followers to post about a specific theme, feature your products in their snaps or wear a costume related to your industry for extra dress-up fun.
Provide Content Exclusive to Your Business
Snapchat is a way to give your followers insider views they would otherwise not have if they didn’t use the app. This gives your customers a special feeling of exclusivity. After all, you want to reward your loyal customers, right? You could unveil a new product on your Snapchat or even go behind the scenes at an event. Be sure you don’t post these on all of your other media sites, as it will take away from the special effect it has. Get feedback from your followers afterwards, gaining an idea of where to take your product line in the next step of your business.
Keep It Real
Users of Snapchat are used to seeing content that is raw and unscripted. The same as personal users, they expect this of the businesses they follow as well. Remember that this platform is different than other areas of marketing. Don’t stress too much about the topics you post. Keep it original and factual. Users want experiences they can relate to when choosing a brand or product to work with.