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A guide to Snapchat and how to use it for your brand

When launched in 2011, Snapchat was limited to person-to-person photo sharing.

A guide to Snapchat and how to use it for your brand

By JOHN MULDER

Special for Lehigh Valley Business

When launched in 2011, Snapchat was limited to person-to-person photo sharing.

Now, six years later, Snapchat is a booming marketing platform for brands looking to use short video as a marketing tool.

And what’s different about Snapchat is that it touches an otherwise hard-to-reach demographic – consumers ages 18 to 34.

Snapchat recently produced a video which provides all sorts of valuable demographic information. On any given day, Snapchat reaches 41 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds in the United States.

To put that into perspective, the average U.S. television network only reaches 6 percent of the same demographic. In fact, two times as many 18-to-24-year-olds watched coverage of the first GOP presidential debate last year on Snapchat than watched the actual debate.

Snapchat’s success in combining creativity with communication and storytelling has resulted in an incredible 350 percent growth in video views on its platform in the last year.

Brands need to understand that Snapchat can be a powerful way to target consumers who are skeptical and difficult to persuade. One study by Millward Brown Digital found that 60 percent of survey respondents liked the ads that run in Snapchat’s Our Story feature.

It appears that using Snapchat as a brand is to your advantage. However, there are a few things to understand about Snapchat as a platform and its users.

THE PLATFORM’S AUDIENCE

It’s important to understand the Snapchat audience and how to communicate with it on this platform. Unlike other, more professional social platforms such as LinkedIn or even Facebook, Snapchat is not a professional platform, and you should treat it as such.

Users want communication to be kept casual. This is less of an opportunity to sell your product or service and more of an opportunity to show off your culture.

Keep it light, keep it fun and keep it engaging.

THE PLATFORM’S TIME LIMIT

A video on Snapchat can be 10 seconds long and can only be viewed for 24 hours after it’s shared.

Keeping that in mind, Snapchat provides an ideal opportunity to offer teasers, share timely content and increase brand engagement.

And engagement is there. Snapchat’s SnapAds have a click-through rate five times higher than other social platforms. That means if using the platform correctly, it really works for you.

ADDING VIDEO TO YOUR BRAND

Video should be a key part of your social media and brand strategy. However, video can be scary.

Snapchat provides an easy way to add video that does not require a large commitment or any production time and only requires your phone.

It also humanizes your brand and gives you an opportunity to show off a side of your brand that many consumers may not otherwise see.

HOW BRANDS CAN DO IT DIFFERENTLY

Brands have the opportunity to use Snapchat to engage consumers in a way that is different for the average user, through its many advertising opportunities.

There are SnapAds, which are 10-second videos that appear between Snapchat stories. Drawing in viewers with the short video gives them the opportunity to swipe up to engage with a longer format video or lead them to an article or your brand’s site.

There is also the opportunity for brands to buy GeoFilters, graphic overlays for users to customize their snaps, or sponsored lenses. GeoFilters are the more affordable option, which is based on location and can be bought for as little as $5.

Sponsored lenses can cost upward of tens of thousands of dollars, but have national reach.

Snapchat has found that nationally sponsored lenses typically reach 40 percent to 60 percent of daily Snapchat users.

Our Story is an additional, lower cost option. Users are able to upload videos and pictures to this Snapchat feature, which acts similarly to a hashtag, integrating all videos and images into one unified story.

This is perfect for universities, local or professional sports teams and event centers.

No matter what level of engagement and regardless of budget, Snapchat can be a creative way to captivate a promising generation of loyal consumers, if you can interest them.

 

John Mulder is managing partner at 3Seed Marketing, Design & Interactive in Schnecksville. He focuses on developing marketing strategies and creative campaigns while keeping an eye on emerging marketing trends. He can be reached at [email protected] or 484-646-9300.

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