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Five Ways to Take Advantage of Snapchat's New Map Feature

By now you’ve seen Snapchat’s latest update with its Snap Map feature that can essentially turn the app into a tracking device. With this new feature came public concern from local police departments to parenting websites across the country.

And they’re right. You should go into ghost mode on your personal Snapchat. Admittedly, I’ve got some friends who haven’t gone into ghost mode but I don’t want to tell them because it’s too much fun watching where they go.

But for marketers, the new feature shouldn’t be treated as a security concern. It should be treated as Christmas in July. Here are five things we should all be doing with Snapchat’s recent update:

Let your fans know where you are

If located in your company’s headquarters, let your fans know where you are. This is especially true if your brand is headquartered in a well-known location. If you’re Coca-Cola, it would make sense for your followers to see you in downtown Atlanta.  If your brand aligns with a place, let this feature strengthen that connection.

Ask your influencers to turn their location on during events

If you use influencers at an event, ask or require them to turn location on. Most influencers turned this feature off immediately for security purposes, but if they are attending a launch event or party in a public location, have them turn location on so their followers can connect the location with the event being promoted. For example, if your brand is hosting influencers at an iconic race track to promote a new automotive product launch, it makes sense for your influencer to turn his or her location on for the day they’re at the track.

Use it as a free social analytics tool

An unfortunate reality of social media listening is that Twitter has the only truly open API for most analytics tools. For my brand, our strongest customer segment uses Facebook and Instagram the most – both are nearly impenetrable for listening in the way Twitter is.

The new Snap Map feature, while far from perfect as an analytics tool, does offer a glimpse of geo-located listening.  A few qualitative analytics you can gather from the new map feature:

-Do your stores/locations have a concentration of videos?

- If so, what are the demographics of those snapping? What are they saying or doing?

-Is your brand mentioned or visible in the snaps? If so, what impression would someone watching the snap get about your brand?

-Are your competitor locations getting more snaps than yours? If so, what is different about the snaps between your locations and your competitor locations?

-Check the Snap Map as part of your regular social media monitoring routine. You may not get meaningful insights every day, but over time you will likely see patterns developing if your brand is associated with one or more physical locations.

Find the best spots for non-digital marketing efforts

The heat map effect of Snapchat’s new feature shows where the highest concentration of Snapchat activity is occurring. With some research over a few days or weeks you can determine locations where your target audience is snapping from – possibly locations you wouldn’t have realized otherwise. With this insight you may determine where to place a geofilter, or even better, where to implement non-digital tactics such as outdoor display advertising or unconventional marketing efforts such as flyer distribution.

Educate your employees (if you’re that kind of brand)

If your company wants its employees to use social media to highlight its great work environment, communicate this new feature to your employees. Is there a celebration, product launch or some other visual event happening? Remind your employees that they can turn on their location and select “our story” if they’d like to share the event with the public.

Conversely, if your company’s culture isn’t one to encourage sharing of internal events to an external audience, work with your internal communications team to educate employees about this new feature, including using ghost mode at work and being aware that selecting “our story” makes your story public. 

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