The social media that everyone’s heard of, but doesn’t really know what to do with. Find out exactly why, and more importantly how, Snapchat can do wonders for your business.

10 Ways to Use Snap(Chat) for Business

With more than 100 million daily active users, and an estimated 9000 snaps sent every second (most of them from Kylie Jenner) it would seem that the world has become obsessed with dog filters and dribbling rainbows.

Originally called Pictaboo - which we’re exceedingly grateful they changed - Snapchat was the brainchild of Stanford grad, Evan Spiegel, and the first ephemeral photo sharing app to earn homescreen status. Relaunched as Snapchat in 2011 for cheeky, 10-second photo exchanges, it was quickly targeted by business brains for its marketing potential, and the monetization process began.

After the introduction of Snapchat ‘Stories’ [2013], and later Snap ‘Channels’ [2015], big editorial entities like VICE, Buzzfeed and National Geographic then started producing interactive content via Snap, which expired every 24 hours. The format was so pioneering and new that Snapchat spread like wildfire, and every big brand wanted a part of it. That was all well and good for the ‘big brands’ with a budget for big campaign strategies and a specialist social media team, but it left the smaller businesses writing Snapchat off as a platform for the media giants.

Snapchat has become a household name, but remains a marketing tool which many companies are still yet to broach. Some may feel a little intimidated by it and don’t know how to begin, others might just not see the value. Whatever your reason may be, frankly mate, we feel you’re missing a trick. Here is why...

Snapchat for business 1

Snapchat has:

A younger demographic than other social media
71% of Snap users are under 25. If your target market use snapchat, you should too. Snapchat themselves claim that on any given day, they reach ‘41% of all 18 to 34 year-olds in the United States.’

Comparatively less users than other social media
Compared to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Snapchat has fewer users and therefore the competition is much lower by default.

Free publicity for brands
You don’t need to pay specifically to have a business account - you can market for free to a wide and willing, captive audience.

Temporary content
As content is erased automatically after 24 hours, you can afford to be much more experimental with your marketing. This means you can get a feel for what works, and allows you to mark engagement rates for future campaigns.

If that wasn’t enough, Snapchat has also been proven to be among the most effective platforms for advertising on the social media circuit. 320 consumers between the ages of 16 and 56 had their emotional responses tested using eye-tracking to assess Snapchat’s influence as a marketer. Over the course of 552 sessions, Snapchat video ads proved to be:

200% more effective than Facebook

150% more effective than Instagram

130% more effective than YouTube

Now you know just why you should use Snap for your business, here is how...

Snapchat for business 2
1. Exclusive content

You want to provide your followers with content that is exclusive to this medium. No one wants to follow a channel where they can gather exactly the same value from your Facebook page- it’s redundant. The nature of the 10 second snap means you can debut new ranges, products and services but still keep things exciting - it’s the ‘burn after reading’ concept. When content can be exhausted, it gets boring very quickly. Of course, now snaps can be replayed it changes things slightly, but it’ll still vanish within 24 hours. By providing short bursts of information that once viewed, can no longer be found online, your followers feel rewarded. Do remember to have your ‘View My Story’ settings on ‘Everyone’ though. We said exclusive, not private.

2. Promo codes / Contests / Challenges

This plays on the idea of reciprocity. It would be similar to having your Instagram set to private, in that only those who have helped up your follower count have access to your generous discounts. Post promo codes midway into your stories so followers have to watch certain things to get reach them in a ‘You scratch our back, we’ll scratch yours’ kind of way. You can also have fun with your target market by offering games and challenge type activities like scavenger hunts. Post to your story that the first 5 people to send Snaps of certain things you’ve hidden in store, or with an special item you’ve requested, win a prize - anything that encourages 2 way interaction. Delta Airlines did this by hiding Snap Geofilters (custom snap overlays based on your GPS location) all over the city of Los Angeles which gave consumers hints like ‘Getting warm’ or ‘A little too far west’ to guide them to chosen landmarks. Upon reaching the locations, users were asked to snap their location to the Delta Channel to be entered into a prize draw.

3. Behind the scenes content

This is a fantastic opportunity to humanise your brand, which in turn encourages loyalty and a core following/community. It allows you to demonstrate your company’s USP in a non-salesy way. You want your content to be enjoyable - instead of feeling contrived. Consumers are super clued in these days, so the more free, fun and valuable content you can get to them, the better! It also helps you impart more of your company ethos, your procedures, give credit to your collaborators etc. If you’re really concerned with supporting local suppliers, show that! If you’re actively combating animal cruelty, or doing an office mannequin challenge - document it. It is a way to generate more authentic, meaningful content. People feel much more at ease when they can see behind the curtain. If in any doubt: just think ‘what would Buzzfeed do?’.

4. COLLAB

Social pull is big on any networking site, so wherever you can cross your followings with someone else (particularly with brands with the same/similar viewership) then do! They can also generate entertaining video content on your behalf - it’s essentially celebrity endorsement on a smaller (often much cheaper) scale. YouTubers and Social media personalities (known as influencers) are now taking to doing ‘takeovers’, whereby two vloggers will swap Snap logins and run the others story for that day. This sees a huge rise in followers for both parties and an exchange of mutual value, meaning you have a captive audience of brand new eyes to talk and market to. Obviously Snap doesn’t yet enable URL links, so some tell their followers to ‘get ready to screenshot’ if they want to direct them to a specific webpage. Even without the ability to link, parties see a huge surge in Facebook page likes, Webviews and Twitter/Insta/Snap followers.

5. Drip-feed information

Everyone loves a countdown and since we’re a generation that is used to receiving pretty instant gratification, countdowns to ticket sales, exciting updates or appearances can generate a real buzz around your business. After all, we’re an impatient bunch, and will binge an entire Netflix season to avoid a cliffhanger - use this to your advantage. Snap can be used as a kind of technological advent calendar. Notify your following when you’re going to drop something new or perhaps add part of a promotional code and tell your followers to keep their eyes on your story for the second half. Make sure that your content is still valuable though: each snap should be worth something and not nightmarish sales dribble. That can easily have the opposite effect and result in unfollows. It should be thought of more as a steady stream of clues leading to the reveal of something big. Not ‘Ha ha, we’ve got a secret and you don’t know it’.

6. Questions and Feedback

Snap is the perfect platform for really personable responses to FAQs or queries that your customers may have. Snap is also the first app that allows your to remedy any questions using chat, photo and video capabilities. There is also a great sense of urgency on Snap, as it’s the only application that businesses use for marketing which will tell the recipient when their message has been opened. The real time element encourages people who may not have contacted you before to get in touch and you can then respond with something a sincere, one of a kind reply. The platform also means you can stage Q&A’s, ask your target market exactly what they’d like to see more of, or receive product/service feedback directly from the horse’s mouth.

7. Geofilters and Sponsored Lenses

Spring for personalised Snap add-ons that get you exposure. These are completely dependant on your budget of course, but some are surprisingly good value. Geofilters for example (the GPS based overlay that will sit on top of a photograph) go for around $5 per 20sq ft, per hour. There are however 2 conditions: 1. Geofilters last a maximum of 30 days. And 2. You cannot exceed 5 million sq ft. Just to put that into context, that’s the equivalent of 9290 lengths in an Olympic sized swimming pool, so we can’t see that being too much of an issue. They can used for events such as weddings, launches, performances... anywhere people are likely to gather and collectively Snapchat. Sponsored lenses are similar to Geofilters but appear to every Snap user, regardless of where they are, for a full 24 hours. These are generally reserved for big huge budget marketing campaigns as they can cost from $450-750k due to the kind of exposure that clients receive from just 1 day of universal Snaptime. It also hugely ups the likelihood of influencers (such as Zoella or Kylie Jenner) reposting something with your branding on. We can see why it carries such a big huge price-tag.

8. SnapAds

SnapAds are the 10 second full-screen videos that you see pop up in between stories. They are similar to push notifications in that they are unprompted and ? of them play with audio. Having said that, they are completely unobtrusive and can be skipped so nobody gets that offended by them really. Entry cost for a SnapAd is around $1000 but depending on certain factors, can cost a little more. They may be significantly cheaper than Sponsored lenses, but SnapAds are still unfortunately quite dear. However, with vertical videos receiving 9x the completion rate, they are certainly worthy of the investment. SnapAds can be programmed to include calls to actions using the ‘swipe up’ prompt and means a viewer can subscribe, view extended video/article content or be taken directly to the app store to download something with one motion.

9. Add 'Nearby Friends'

If you’re kicking it old school with a brick and mortar shop, then using Snap’s ‘Nearby’ friends feature is a must. By opening your Snap app and going to ‘Add Friends’, you can now select ‘Add Nearby’ which makes you discoverable to other users in the vicinity. Similar to finding Wifi or how we used to connect with someone via Bluetooth back in the day, Nearby Friends means that anyone who is using Snap and has set their username to visible will appear when you do a scan of the area. It was engineered to allow mass connection in places where crowds are likely to gather, such as uni campuses and events, but will serve your business very well when trying to up your following. If you’re throwing some kind of event or have a street team doing some flyering, you can encourage people to follow your company Snapchat by scanning the space, and because it’s so easy, they may very well even do it!

10. 'Snap to Unlock' codes

‘Snap to Unlock’ codes are popping up all over the place. They are essentially a contemporary spin on the QR code of yesteryear. Brands are now using these to cryptically get consumers to engage with a billboard, poster or flyer by scanning the iconic Snap ghost and being taken to branded page. Clever really. By getting you to interact to discover the content, they’ve converted you to a captive audience with their name plastered on your phone. This means you can post uber vague statements, similar to the idea of click-bait, and even mark your open rates to find out exactly which kind of campaign is getting the most traction. The PR team for NBC movie release ‘The Girl on the Train’ simply ran a billboard with the code alongside the words ‘What happened that night?’ Curiosity may have killed the cat, but turns out it makes for a cracking marketing strategy.

Snapchat for business 3
Snapchat for business 4
Snapchat for business 5

Of course, most of these tips are about as useful as a chocolate teapot if you’ve got no followers, so...

Let’s have a quick look at some ways to up that all-important Snap following:

Use your Snap handle to sign off posts on other media platforms and email signatures

Make use of your Snap QR code by making it your display photo where possible

Advertise exclusive Snap deals and content on your other channels then hashtag them accordingly

Use Facebook ads to direct people to your Snap channel : (https://www.snapchat.com/add/yourusername)

Use a custom geofilter in areas of high-traffic to spread your brand name around


All in all, Snapchat has provided yet another layer to interactive marketing. Because the format is so unusual, it can be a daunting app to approach, but by employing some of these methods you can slowly start to increase your social media presence and maintain a customer correspondence that will do wonders for your brand. People don’t always buy Innocent Smoothies for the smoothie. They just like the brand (and those little woven hats that the bottles wear when it’s cold.)

Don’t be intimidated by Snapchat, just get stuck in. Snapchat is symbolic of the evolution of tech and trust us, you don’t want to miss the chance to familiarise yourself with features available to Snap users. Apps aren’t like buses, you can’t skip one and hop on the next one. The next wave of social media will only build on what was once pioneering about Snapchat, and become the minimum standard acceptable to users. It’ll be that much harder to adjust to even newer features if you don’t even understand the fundamentals that everyone else got on board with, using Snap.

Ever missed a season of a TV show you liked, then tuned back in to realise you had no idea what was going on and didn’t recognise anyone? Then you attempted to catch up on what you’d missed but in the meantime a whole new season or series was out? You know, that perpetual cycle of catch-me-up? Yeah. That happens with technology too..

About the Author

Indiana West is a regular writer at Cluboid focused on helping large and small businesses achieve better bookings and reservations.

You can read more posts by Indiana on our blog.

Pssst. Wanna make a deal?

You join the family of 57,702 Cluboid subscribers, and we let you in on a few more industry secrets?

Please enter a valid email address to continue

How's that for a trade?