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A Beginners guide on Snapchat marketing: 15 Power tips !

Snapchat, panned as the world’s fastest growing app, has come a long way from its humble beginnings in 2011. With its unique feature of images that self destruct in a short period of time, it has caught the imagination of thrill seeking teens and young adults. Nearly 50% of Snapchat’s users range between the ages of 18-24 and use the app to send spontaneous photographs of moments that they may not necessarily want remembered for posterity.

However, this does not mean that brands cannot create awareness using Snapchat. This is entirely possible, especially if your brand caters to this particular demographic. But the overriding challenge with Snapchat marketing is figuring out how to engage consumers without compromising on the ‘cool’ factor. How best to use Snapchat for marketing?

There are several ways in which companies can leverage the unique features of Snapchat for selling their products and concepts.


New York City-based yogurt shop ‘16 Handles’ recently ran a Snapchat promotion. The customers were asked to send pictures of them tasting the yogurt on site. This was followed up with the image of a discount coupon being sent to the user.

The customer would then have to wait to open the snap containing the coupon until they were at the register and ready to redeem it — because when the image was opened, it would automatically self- destruct 10 seconds later. The coupon could be anywhere from 16% to 100% off on the purchase. Such promotions, alongwith the obvious discounts, also appeal to consumers with the anticipation and suspense that they create- a small adrenalin rush, if you will.


Giveaways through contests are a great way to introduce your product on Snapchat- the users feel engaged and challenged, thus creating a long- lasting memory of your product.

Last year, GrubHub hosted a week-long scavenger hunt called “SnapHunt”. The hunt involved a daily challenge posted for followers to complete for a chance to win $50 in free food from GrubHub. Consumers had to send a Snapchat message back to GrubHub, and 10 winners were picked each day.

3. Deliver exclusive content

Snapchat can be used to provide exclusive content to users; content that might not be available on other social platforms. Fashion brands such as Michael Kors and Rebecca Minkhoff have done this successfully for their new collections, before they hit the runway. During Fashion week in Paris, Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller showcased their Zoolander roles at a Valentino show. They Blue Steel geofilter that was added to the images certainly made them more relevant and contextual.

4. Partner with influencers

Partnering with social media influencers has helped brands expand the reach of the products and services. ShopStyle, the shopping search engine and sales aggregator, recently featured 5 fashion bloggers, including Jacey Duprie (Damsel In Dior) in their Snapchat marketing campaign. Jacey’s wit and charm coupled with an amazing fashion sense make her Snapchat channel a must- follow.

Brands have also realised that endorsements by bloggers carry more influence than endorsements by celebrities. Shaun Mc Bride (aka Shonduras), an adventurer, regularly uses Snapchat to engage with his followers. He recently partnered with and completed campaigns for Disney’s Frozen and Taco Bell.

5. Use it as a hiring tool

In 2014, when companies started considering Snapchat as a recruitment tool, the focus was on the applicants sending interesting and alternative resumes. However, in 2015, the focus shifted, with employers realizing that Snapchat could be used effectively as a branding tool for recruitment.

Employers can provide access to live events in their organization, take candidates behind- the -curtain and in effect, give potential employees a chance to see and appreciate the company culture. HireVue, a predictive analysis software company, is currently experimenting with adding more value to their onboarding process by sending a thank you to their recent hires on Snapchat.

6. Access to events in Real Time

Snapchat’s Live Story feature is its most addictive innovation till date. Average users are now able to stitch events through snaps and videos to create stories that are funny, witty and spontaneous. Companies have also realized the massive potential of this feature.

Stories that offer live and exclusive content at major events contribute largely to the following of a brand on Snapchat. At the iHeart Radio Music festival, Snapchat users got access to fun content like Ryan Seacrest making jokes with Sam Smith.

7. Build Up to an event or product launch

Brands can create excitement around special events by posting content on Snapchat. This can be done by posting snaps of work in progress. A great example of this is Mac Donald’s teaser story about their association with this year’s 500 Daytona Race. Now Daytona fans have another reason to look forward to the race! Similarly, cosmetics company NARS released a preview of its Guy Bourdin colour cosmetics section on Snapchat.

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8. Combine videos and snaps

Marketers should make use of Snapchat’s distinctive video feature that enables users to tell stories through a combination of pictures and videos. Content therefore does not remain static and the consumer’s interest stays piqued. The host of MTV’s popular show “Catfish” recently used this feature to promote his upcoming episode. The winning combination of moving images, interesting stickers and the right text – all in a short 18 second presentation, was hugely effective.

9. A behind- the-scenes look

With Snapchat, companies can provide behind- the scenes content to their followers. Birthday celebrations, offsite meetings, company events make for great content about the culture of the company. During New York Fashion Week, Michael Kors shared private moments from the runaway with his fans around the world.

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Also, the content need not always be fun. For example, GE regularly engages with fans through its Snapchat platform by giving them an insider’s view of daily life at GE.

10. Humanize your brand

Because Snapchat is all about spontaneity and fun, it is possible for brands to be less formal and ceremonial. A good way of doing that is by using easily understandable language and drawing fun stuff on the images. This makes the brand seem more personable, approachable and therefore a lot more engaging. Taco Bell seems to have mastered this by announcing each of their new creations with snazzy edits, especially ones like the Fiery Doritos Taco.

11. Storytelling

Storytelling has always been an enjoyable way of connecting with your fellow human beings, except the raconteurs of today carry smartphones and use videos to tell their stories. Burberry, the British heritage brand, took storytelling to another level by staging a ‘break-in’ at their flagship store – peppering the episode with security footage and inferences to various heist films.

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The aim of the story was to create excitement around their new autumn/ winter 2016 line, which it certainly did!

12. Use Q&A to make it interactive

Snapchat is a hugely interactive platform. Brand marketers can create Q&A sessions and send witty replies while answering questions. As the content disappears fast, there is room for quick and bold replies. Celebrities have harnessed this power to successfully connect with their fan base.

Recently, Jack Antonoff of Bleachers (a New York indie pop act) did a question and answer session with fans. They sent him questions via Twitter and he answered them through Snapchat.

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13. For Customer Service

Snapchat can be a fantastic tool for providing great customer service. Airlines have consistently been using Twitter to deliver customer service. Aer Lingus of Ireland was the first to use Snapchat to do so. It announced the launch of its Dublin to SFO route in its first post and regularly uses Snapchat to create stories around inaugural flights, flight experience and behind the scenes access to the cockpits.

14. Create Customizable On-Demand Geofilters

Geofiters are digital graphics that can be laid atop a photo to announce your location at a given moment. Snapchat recently opened this feature to the masses by letting individuals and businesses design their own geofilters for specific physical spaces and for a limited period of time.

Austin based agency GSD&M created a filter featuring its name and founding year, which was available to its employees to use within its 140,000 sq ft space during office hours. Brands such as IHOP are also working with Snapchat to create custom geofilters. These can be a fun and interactive way of engaging with consumers.

15.Include Branding elements in your images

The recall value of a brand significantly increases when the colours in the Snapchat pictures reflect the logo or the company’s signature colours. Lily Pulitzer, a beachwear brand is identified by its soothing pink and green hues and these are the colours that they often use in their Snapchat promotional campaigns.

To conclude, businesses need to wake up to the endless possibilities offered by Snapchat. With new features being added and the quality of the app improving regularly, it is essential to make Snapchat an integral part of your marketing strategy.


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