Understand the Audience
The first step in utilizing any social media platform is understanding its primary audience. As substantial as Snapchat’s audience is, its primary demographic skews younger than almost any other platform. As of last year, 85% of Snapchat’s daily users were between the ages of 18-34, with only 15% of all of the platform’s users being 35 or older.
If your brand can appeal to young adults, then a Snapchat marketing strategy could be a valuable asset to your brand. Brands like Taco Bell, GrubHub, HubSpot, and even The New York Times have all successfully found a home on Snapchat, and their understanding of the platform—or playful misunderstanding of it, in the case of The Times—has garnered an impressively active audience.
The trick to marketing success on Snapchat is understanding and accepting the platform and its demographics. If you’re willing to embrace the platform, its limitations, and its benefits, then Snapchat can be a phenomenal resource for your marketing strategies. Like HubSpot says, “Snapchat is all about letting your brand personality shine and relating to your target audience on a totally human level.”
Upping Your Social Media Presence
A consistent and engaging social media profile can be one of the most effective ways to maximize your brand’s online presence and visibility. When you understand the platform, you can develop a Snapchat marketing strategy that will add a powerful boost to your overall social media presence. And the more engaged that presence is, the higher chance you'll have to boost profits and improve your audience’s investment.
The key to success on Snapchat is consistency. Since all of the pictures and videos you post there will expire and “disappear” after 24 hours, your content output needs to be regular and engaging if you want it to connect with an audience. Daily content is a must, and routinely updating your Snap “story” throughout the day is a great way to interact with an audience and give them a behind-the-scenes look at your company.
Unscripted content is a reliable hit on Snapchat, as it welcomes an audience into the daily routine of a company, helping to humanize its brand and its employees. Where some brands invest a lot of money in video marketing, Snapchat thrives off of its affordability and accessibility. Anyone with a smartphone can install the app and become the de facto “face” of your brand on the platform.
It’s an easy and effective way to create content that’s laid back and humanizing. When used consistently, a thoughtful Snapchat marketing strategy can go a long way towards creating an audience of users who can become valuable customers and advocates for your brand.
Another unique benefit Snapchat offers to marketers is how affordable its advertising can be. There are three primary outlets for advertising on Snapchat, and each one has its own pros and cons that you’ll want to keep in mind as you start marketing on the platform.
Snap ads are the most straightforward form of advertising on Snapchat. They’re usually videos—around 10-seconds long—and often include some level of interactivity, like a link or CTA to get a viewer to engage with your content further.
Most Snap ads make use of audio as well, as its another stimulus that can capture someone’s attention. However, don’t hinge the success of your ads on the audio, as there are plenty of Snapchat users who absorb the platform’s content without the audio on. Using on-screen text or captions can help you side-step this, as it’ll appeal to users who don’t use audio while also reinforcing your message to the users who do.
Geofilters are unique lenses or banners that can be used in specific locations. Landmarks will often have their own Snapchat geofilters, but they can also be used by businesses. If you run a coffee shop, for example, you could design a specific geofilter that customers can use on their Snapchat photos only when they’re in your store.
Geofilters are easy ways to increase your brand awareness and delight your customers by offering them a fun incentive for coming to your store or office. Geofilters are also relatively inexpensive to design, which makes them especially useful for smaller businesses. Depending on your “geofence”—the area and size of the geofilter’s reach—you can take advantage of a variety of templates and create geofilters for under $20.
More interactive than geofilters, Snapchat’s sponsored lenses are filters that can use facial-recognition to scan a user’s face and give them dog-ears, let them breathe fire, or allow them to interact with a logo, mascot, or other aspects of a brand’s visual identity in fun and unique ways.
These lenses are a little more expensive to implement, but the added interactivity means that they can garner more attention from audiences and attract new users who wouldn’t have been exposed to your brand or product otherwise.
If your company has a (very) substantial budget, then paying for a spot on Snapchat’s “Discover” page may be worth your while. While Discover is similar to Snapchat’s traditional “Stories,” Discover is different in that its audio-video and photo content links to graphics, articles, and third-party websites via a Pinterest-like dashboard.
Snapchat Discover is more visible than the other advertising methods on the platform, but again, the cost-of-entry is steep, with most of the dashboard’s valuable space being reserved by popular publications or big-name brands.
This means that Discover isn’t a realistic advertising method for anyone but the biggest-of-the-big, but if that’s you—or if it will be someday—then Snapchat Discover can be a valuable way to attract a lot of visibility from an already invested audience.
Success and Snapchat
Snapchat is no longer a new commodity. It’s been 7 years since its September 2011 release into the world, and in that time the platform has successfully found a passionate and invested audience that has turned the brand into a household name.
However, marketers are still experimenting with the best ways to develop and implement a Snapchat marketing strategy into their company's efforts. For all of its useful features and invested users, Snapchat’s laidback, unedited approach to content means it’s not universally applicable for companies. For those who can successfully implement it, however, Snapchat has the potential to change the way companies approach social media marketing for the better.
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