With 100 million monthly active users and 400 million snaps sent per day, Snapchat can no longer be ignored as a powerful marketing tool. Since its launch in 2011, the app has had a meteoric rise, even outstripping Twitter's popularity amongst the highly prized 18-34 demographic. It's muscled its way in to the social media scene, and now Snapchat is on the cusp of transforming marketing as we know it.
Slowly but surely, businesses are wising up to the benefits that Snapchat can bring. And one thing is certain: the businesses that do incorporate Snapchat into their marketing strategies are not only well ahead of the game, they're also reaping significant rewards.
Not convinced there's a case for Snapchat in business? Here's a look at why you should use the sky-rocketing app as a free and highly powerful marketing platform.
Snapchat allows you to show personality
More so than any other social network, Snapchat is intended to be light-hearted fun. Due to the highly short-term, visual nature of the messages, there's a freedom attached to snapping that you won't find with any other platform. Capitalise on the jokey spirit of Snapchat and show off your company's personality.
With Snapchat, you can reveal exclusive media to users that they wouldn't see otherwise. Users can 'see the man behind the curtain' and access your behind the scenes reel, giving them a reason to engage.
American football team the Philadelphia Eagles have got this right. They show pre-game footage from the locker room, snapping quick videos of players singing, gearing up and generally getting high on team spirit.
Granted, your business might not have world-famous sports stars to entice customer engagement, but you've still got fun behind-the-scenes footage that you aren't utilising. Offer your connections a taste of the personality behind the corporation through quick, quirky Snapchat stories.
Even the most traditionally old-school businesses are learning that corporate doesn't mean closed, conventional and painfully prim. It doesn't matter what your sector or specialism, you should show off some personality, and Snapchat is a red-hot way to do this. It will require minimal effort, zero cost and time, and will give your business a human (and therein interminably more interesting) face.
Snapchat will grow your community
Snapchat is where the people are. It has explosive popularity across the globe, and its users are increasing by the minute. Compellingly, Snapchat will connect you to the young demographic.
With 71% of its users being under the age of 25, it's the platform of choice for Generation Y. The odds are that the vast majority of your social media following is on Facebook and Twitter. Whilst that isn't problematic, it does mean that you're not engaging with a huge slice of the population.
Today, the largest active Facebook demographic is the 35-54 group, with 56 million members. Young people are deserting Facebook by the millions, with 3.3 million users aged 13-17 abandoning Facebook since 2011, as well as a further 3.4 million people who are 18-24. And according to the latest research, the average Twitter user is 37 years old.
So, where are the under 25s headed to? All evidence would suggest Snapchat. If you want to not only grow your community but also to diversify its age, it's time you head there too.
Let's look at some real life examples. Frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles successfully used Snapchat to drive sales and engagement. In return for sending a snap of yourself enjoying a 16 Handles treat, the company sent back snaps of coupons for either 16%, 50%, or 100% off your next purchase. Off the back of this simple campaign, 16 Candles reported over 1,400 engagements with customers through the app - all from their target under 25 demographic.
Not convinced? Then look at Audi. During Superbowl 2014, Audi partnered with Huge and The Onion to execute the world's first successful Snapchat campaign at scale, connecting the company with new audiences during the big game. Their Snapchat campaign received 100,000 total views and reached a total of 37 million social impressions. This converted into over 10,000 new Snapchat followers, 2,500 new Twitter followers and 9,000 new Facebook likes.
Whether your company is a small frozen yoghurt chain or a global car manufacturing giant, you can use Snapchat to dramatically grow your social following and your online community.
Snapchat will keep you current and competitive
To survive in business, you have to roll with the times. It's not enough to stick to tried and tested social media methods: you have to embrace the new. The hashtag is still extremely powerful, but it's not as powerful or as versatile as the video.
Think about what Snapchat can do. All with a quickly disappearing image or video, you can:
- Host contests, asking followers to submit snaps to win a prize
- Provide sneak peeks of products, introduce new initiatives and share exclusive content
- Offer coupons and discounts codes that can't be shared due to their brevity
- Create innovative recruitment campaigns through snap submissions
- Go behind the scenes and humanise your company
- Use the Snapchat Stories feature to catalogue up to 360 seconds of snaps, engaging your followers with higher-level content creation
The beauty of all this is that it's temporary. It's fun, it's secret, it's cool. Your followers will race to view momentary images - something that other platforms lack entirely. You're giving your connections unique, real-time content, and you're doing it in a way that creates a sense of urgency.
Without Snapchat, you're starting to fall behind the times. Current social media channels are permanent, public and packed. Snapchat is the exception. If you want to stay one step ahead of the game, it's time to stop lagging and start snapping.