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A Marketer’s Guide to Snapchat

Posted 11 September 2015 9:00 AM by Kaitlyn Kline @MoxieUSA, @KaitorTot

Snapchat (originally named Picaboo) has been around since July 2011. With more than 3 billion video views from nearly 100 million active Snapchatters every day, the platform isn’t something that can be ignored. And yet marketers are still trying to figure it out. 

To unlock the mysteries of Snapchat, marketers should start by treating the still-burgeoning platform like any other social network. That means evaluating it on a brand-by-brand basis to ensure it’s a good fit within your overall media strategy. It also means (1) establishing a clear purpose for Snapchat and (2) knowing how it ties back to your brand’s larger business objectives. So before diving into the world of Snapchat, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is my brand’s audience on Snapchat? This one’s pretty straightforward: If your target audience isn’t on the platform, your brand’s presence is irrelevant. And while it’s true that Snapchat’s users skew younger, they’re not the only ones on the messaging app. The breakdown is as follows:
a. 13 – 17-year olds: 26%
b. 18 – 24-year olds: 37%
c. 25 – 34-year olds: 23%
d. 35 – 54-year olds: 12%
e. 55+-year olds: 2%

2. What type of content will my brand serve up? Marketers must move onto Snapchat with a solid plan that fits into the overall content strategy. You must have distinct visual guidelines for Snapchat that focus on building the brand rather than selling products: 
a. Behind-the-scenes exclusive content – Snapchat is a great vehicle for brands to provide fans with behind-the-scenes peeks at events, company culture and more.  
b. Custom content – Snapchat allows brands to feature content that is unique to the platform. The ability to draw over pictures gives brands the opportunity to surprise and delight fans with customized content sent directly to them.
c. Special offers – Brands can distribute exclusive offers to their Snapchat community by encouraging people to screenshot codes to redeem while in store or through the brand’s app or website.
d. Storytelling – Brands can take advantage of the 10-second time limit to tell stories that keep Snapchatters engaged. Storyboarding ideas beforehand, when applicable, will ensure that a clear message is coming across.

3. How will people discover your brand’s Snapchat and content? Just because your brand is snapping doesn’t mean that people are watching. Brands can build their audiences both organically and with paid support on Snapchat. Evaluate and test the different ad offerings based on the goals of each storyline: 
a. Cross-promotion – Brands can use other more established social networks or owned properties to let their fans know that they’re on Snapchat. Include your snapcode and handle in newsletters and other brand communications.
b. Geofilters – If your brand has a brick-and-mortar location, consider creating a geofilter people can use while at the establishment. The geofilter can be evergreen or centered on a specific event. Encourage fans to use the geofilter and feature their snaps in your brand story.
c. Live stories – If your brand is hosting or sponsoring an event, consider sponsored live stories. These will give viewers a glimpse into the event from the point of view of the attendees. This option is available even if your brand doesn’t have a Snapchat account, making it a perfect way to test the waters.
d. Snapfluencers – Partnering with influential Snapchatters can boost a brand’s awareness and following. It will also help to build credibility among the Snapchat user base. 

Answering these three questions should help marketers make the most of Snapchat. For inspiration, check out these best-in-class examples of brands who have mastered the art of Snapchatting — but hurry, their stories will only last 24 hours: Taco Bell (tacobell), GrubHub (grubhub), Amazon (amazon) and Starbucks (starbucks). 

For more Snapchat fun, read about its latest update, including travel mode and extra emojis.

About the Author:
Kaitlyn Kline is an Engagement Manager in the Moxie Pittsburgh office. She can be found across Social Media (Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat – you name it!) at @KaitorTot. While exploring, you’ll come across delicious food and drinks, Harry Potter, travel adventures and exceptional throwbacks. 


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  • Kimberly Kline said:
    9/11/2015 9:27 AM

    Your suggestion to evaluate Snapchat like you do any other social media platform makes perfect sense. If it doesn't fit in with your marketing strategy or, most importantly, your target audience is not there, then it makes no sense. Great article!

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