Social media has never been Vegas. That moment you’d rather forget? Documented on a permanent timeline on the most used and visible channels. So when a new social platform removed permanence from the equation, it completely evolved the way users interact. Today it is a gold mine for anyone seeking a truly unique way to engage an audience.
Snapchat, a photo-sharing app, allows people to take photos or videos, add text, drawings and geotags and send them to friends/followers for a maximum of ten seconds. After the message is opened and viewed for the selected amount of seconds, the content disappears completely. With 100 million daily users largely under the age of 25, the app has taken social media by storm by advocating for private, exclusive, ephemeral content.
An expanding demographic and continued enhancements have made Snapchat an incredible tool for businesses to engage consumers. With the new ‘stories’ feature, Snapchat users can create a collage of videos and photos that live in a stream available to be viewed by all of that user’s followers for just 24 hours. In 10 seconds, brands can promote their product, create a relationship and tell their story directly on their customer’s mobile device – all based on their preference.
- Elevate your story - both visually and authentically
From day-to-day activities to large promotional events, Snapchat allows businesses to be more than their product. With video and photo capabilities, businesses can reveal transparency and authenticity to their audience by offering an exclusive look at their business and employees. Free People (@freepeople) does a fantastic job at showcasing the day-to-day activities in the retail fashion realm. The clothing brand showcases behind-the-scenes photo shoots, highlights FP office style and occasionally has an employee “takeover” of the company’s Snapchat to showcase what it is like to be an employee at the fashion forward company. Simply put, there is no other medium that is able to capture the “day-in-the-life” mentality that Snapchat lends to the user experience.
- Gain direct access to your audience
The number one thing that separates Snapchat from other social channels is the time sensitivity. With only 10 seconds or less to view the received content, users have to willingly open and view the content. That sense of fleeting time means more attention is given to this content than other messages that are static, permanent or shared across multiple channels.
The bottom line – when Snapchat users receive a snap, they open it. There is no preview or thumbnail to glimpse the content. The opportunity to get directly in front of consumers by the consumer’s choice is what makes Snapchat an incredibly unique marketing tool.
- Announce new products or services in real-time.
Taco Bell (@tacobell) joined Snapchat in April of 2013 to re-introduce the Beefy Crunch Burrito and regularly uses the app to engage with customers. AdWeek reported that the company’s “Snapchat followers are “crazy engaged.” When the brand sends a Snap, a whopping 90 percent of followers open the message and view it in its entirety. The fast food company is reaching over 200,000 customers with every snap. Tell me the last time you had those stats on a Facebook post, much less an e-mail.
- Take the relationship exclusive
Snapchat users follow brands for the sense of exclusivity. 16 Handles, a New York-based frozen yogurt chain creatively used Snapchat in January of 2013, becoming the first well-known Snapchat promotional campaign. They asked customers to snap a photo of themselves at one of their locations and send to the company Snapchat account. Once 16 Handles received the photo, the customer would receive a message in return with a coupon for 16%, 50% or 100% off their next order. On their next visit, the customer opens the Snapchat and redeems the coupon at the register.
MTV also turned to Snapchat to announce the contenders for the Video Music Awards in 2014. While MTV promoted the event across social channels, including Facebook (50 million followers) and Twitter (11 million), they chose Snapchat for the big reveal. A mere 150,000 Snapchat followers were the only ones to see the real-time reveal of the award nominees – which grew their Snapchat fan base by 70,000 that day.
The glorious part of Snapchat – when used appropriately – is its versatility and authenticity. Brands spanning a wide range of industries, from restaurants to retail and professional sports to fashion, all use Snapchat to develop and expand their relationship with their audience. Its real-time, evanescent content has yet to be reciprocated in the social media world and savvy brands are taking advantage.
Interested in learning more details about Snapchat and how brands are using it successfully? The infographic below from SocialMediaToday has some great nuggets: