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In an effort to reach out to young millennials, some of America’s biggest brands have embraced Snapchat, the social media platform of choice for the 18-to-34 demographic. For marketers looking for insights into how to build out their own social media presence, here’s what we can learn from the biggest brands on Snapchat.
#1: Partner with Snapchat influencers
If your in-house marketing team doesn’t have experience with Snapchat, one easy way to rapidly build a presence is to coordinate a “Snapchat takeover,” which is essentially giving your account over to a Snapchat influencer for a limited amount of time – a day, a weekend or even a week. That’s what Disney did – they found an influencer with 120,000 views per snap and gave him carte blanche to snap his way around a theme park.
#2: Create geofilters for specific locations
When W Hotels wanted to build awareness and buzz around some of its iconic hotel properties, it created Snapchat geofilters that any user in the vicinity could share with their friends. Here, it’s not so much the case of creating new content for Snapchat, it’s creating a tool that other Snapchat users can share with their friends. While geofilters cannot be overtly promotional, they are great for understated advertising: W Hotels used photos of the property, combined with a tagline like “You Wish You Were Here.”
#3: Use Twitter to build awareness of a new Snapchat account
In many ways, Twitter and Snapchat are two social platforms that have a lot of built-in synergies. For brands, it’s optimal to use the same handle for Twitter as they do on Snapchat. McDonald’s, for example, has been masterful in how it uses its Twitter account to promote its Snapchat account – they’ll include an image of a Snapchat ghost in a McDonald’s location, and then just add a simple tweet along the lines of: “Have you added us on @Snapchat yet?”
#4: Create young, carefree content
Snapchat is unlike other social media platforms, in that it’s not meant to be scripted and highly edited. Content should look “raw” and “authentic” to build the greatest buzz. One big brand that’s particularly good at this is Taco Bell, which has figured out that young millennials want cool artwork, goofy text overlays and fun images around Internet memes.
#5: Use snaps to send out promotions and news
Snaps are meant to be ephemeral in nature – once you view them, they’re gone – but they can be a way to send out very brief messages related to promotions or news. That’s a tactic that GrubHub has used. In some cases, GrubHub has used a sequence of snaps to tell a slightly longer story.
Of course, there’s a lot more you can do with Snapchat, but brands like Taco Bell, Disney, W Hotels and McDonald’s are proof that even if you are a large company, you can still master Snapchat. It just takes a bit of understanding about the young millennial generation, and how they are using social media right now.