Cheat Sheet: Snapchat

Snapchat. The domain of the young and hip? Maybe. Incomprehensible for brands and marketers? Definitely not. Don’t let the transience of images that disappear and its mobility put you off. In the latest of our Cheat Sheet series, we share our tips for getting the most out of this booming platform.

1. Understand your audience. Snapchat isn’t just about being there; like every other platform, your presence is simply not enough. If Twitter is about brevity of words, Snapchat is about the brevity of visuals. It’s main point of difference is it’s not about how many followers you have but, rather, how many actually care about what you’re saying. You’ve got ten seconds to make your point. Build up your audience by offering users an incentive to become your friend. It needn’t be big or expensive: the unique rush of Snapchat sits in its ability to tap into FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. It’s ephemeral and fleeting, which means your audience is likely to want to jump onto your wavelength if you prove to them that you know and care about their interests.

2. Creative intimacy. Once you’ve got a grasp on your audience, break it down further. Send exclusive or exciting information to only your most loyal of friends. Leaked images, exclusive discounts or new product information create excitement and incite interest. Intimacy allows your fans to feel part of something special and helps build your reputation at the same time.

Taco Bell was one of Snapchat’s early adopters in 2013, using the platform to let fans know the their Beefy Crunch Burrito would be returning to stores. The brand also transferred their following and created hype via Twitter.

3. Get creative. The fact that you only have a few seconds to capture a viewer’s attention is Snapchat’s greatest strength…and also its greatest challenge. Your content needs to be simple and swift, interesting and accessible. Think of the platform’s time limit as a point of leverage rather than a problem; Snapchat’s effectiveness lies in its ability to pique interest and then leave its audience speechless, laughing or wanting more. Translate this concept to traditional marketing techniques and you’ll find that being creative in your campaigns generates a whole new level of interaction with your fans.

4. Connect with a younger demographic. They’ve grown up with Facebook and Twitter, and they know how to disregard all brand messages that come their way. ‘Millennials’, those aged between the 18 and 29, are the hardest demographic for marketers to reach. Snapchat, however, has provided a new opening in reaching this coveted group. Expected to spend $200 billion a year by 2017 and over $10 trillion in over their lifetimes, connect with these early adopters and they might just influence the purchasing decisions of their parents and members outside of their demographic. That’s not to say that you can’t also use Snapchat in conjunction with other platforms like Twitter; just make sure you stay relevant and tailor your messaging and media use across communities.

New York frozen yogurt chain 16 Handles asked customers to snap a picture of themselves in store, in return for a snap with a coupon for 16%, 50% or 100% off their purchase. The fun catch: users only had 10 seconds to let the cashier scan their coupon. The campaign engaged more than 1,400 customers.

5. Create a narrative. The beauty of Snapchat Stories is that they not only give you some extra time for your snaps, they also build a day-long narrative that really opens the door to your brand. If you’re unfamiliar with them, the capability allows you to string together a series of snaps (or videos) into a single stream that can be replayed by users for 24 hours. Create a connected and engaging story for your users and instead of relying on a one-off snap to capture the attention of your audience, you can make a story that really articulates your core message. Snapchat Stories are uninterrupted experiences which mean they’re useful for promoting daily deals or providing exclusive, behind the scenes access to viewers that you know will take notice.


Not sure how to best engage your users on other social media platforms? Catch up on the rest of our Cheat Sheet series and gain useful tips for Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.

Image Credits: Taco Bell, Mashable.