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The fastest-growing social network in the world is not Facebook, it’s not Twitter, and it’s not even Instagram. Instead, it’s Snapchat – a mobile photo- and video-sharing network that now has 100 million daily active users. People are now sharing an average of 9,000 snaps per second, and people watch almost as many videos on Snapchat as they do on Facebook.
What makes Snapchat so unique for marketers is that it blends several popular aspects of the traditional social media experience – think photos on Instagram, tweets and direct messages on Twitter, the chat functionality of WhatsApp and the news feed of Facebook – into a completely new experience that’s appealing for millennials.
While a number of top brands have found a way to market to millennials via Snapchat – including Taco Bell, General Electric, Warby Parker, GrubHub and Domino’s Pizza – Snapchat is definitely a platform that your business will need to grow organically by experimenting with what works with young users. Here are four ways that marketers can start using Snapchat.
1. Build momentum around new product launches
Think of the way brands typically “tease” events on other social media platforms – they might release short trailer clips for an upcoming movie, or they might release photos of what the new packaging will look like for a new tech gadget. You can apply that same basic concept to Snapchat. You can send out photo or video snaps of upcoming products via Snapchat. Since these can only viewed once, and disappear ten seconds later, it helps to create anticipation around a new product. This is a strategy that the cosmetics company NARS has used to announce an upcoming cosmetics line, as well as one that McDonald’s has used to rollout a new sandwich.
2. Use promo codes as a customer acquisition tool
This is a tried-and-true social media tactic that appears to work well on Snapchat. Fast-food restaurants like Taco Bell are especially good at this – you can send out a snap of a certain product and include a promotional code with the image that can be redeemed in-store. This is particularly effective since Snapchat is such a mobile, on-the-go social platform.
3. Create compelling behind-the-scenes Stories of your business
The alternative to sending out snaps is creating Stories with photos and videos. You can collect a number of photos and videos into one collection, that when watched consecutively, creates a narrative storytelling platform. Think of telling Stories, in short 10-second clips over a 24-hour period. Domino’s actually turned a Snapchat Story into a short two-minute film called “Dough to Door,” about the adventures of a Domino’s delivery driver who encounters a flying saucer on his way to making a pizza delivery.
4. Provide VIP updates from popular events
This is one tactic that the NBA has used in promoting coverage of its games. You could just as easily use this to promote coverage of Fashion Week, which is what some New York fashion brands have done. The idea is to offer proprietary content that you can’t find anywhere else, such as 10-second video clips of players during halftime or models strutting down the catwalk.
Ultimately, if you’re a business thinking about using Snapchat as part of your overall marketing mix, there are plenty of ways to use it creatively and uniquely to drive key brand metrics, whether it’s customer acquisition or just plain old brand awareness. However, you also have to realize that the type of content that you will be creating needs to be something different than what you’d post on Facebook or Twitter – it has to be something a bit raw and unfiltered in order to appeal to a young millennial.