By Josh Ledgard
Snapchat has come a long way.
When it first came into social consciousness, a lot of people disregarded Snapchat as another teeny-bopper platform. Because of its Mission Impossible-style self-destruct messages, Snapchat got a bad rap as a sexting medium.
The good news is that less than 2% of Snapchatters use Snapchat for sexting. The vast majority use Snapchat for connecting with friends and brands that they love.
On Snapchat, it’s important to be fun, entertaining, and authentic. Because of its one-person-with-a-cellphone setup, Snapchat’s tone is candid and casual. There’s no room for fancy video effects, although doodling, overlays, funny faces, and the occasional rainbow vomit are all frequent visual enhancements.
There’s little doubt that Snapchat appeals to a younger demographic. Millennials, and especially those under 25, flock to Snapchat because it’s incredibly easy to use and it’s not “scripted” (even if it is—more on this later).
If you’re wondering whether your business should be on Snapchat, the answer is yes. Let’s take a closer look at what Snapchat is and how you can use this platform to grow your community.
(By the way, if you’d like to check out how to rock your business on Periscope, don’t miss this post: You Should Be on Periscope: Here’s Why)
Snapchat is a mobile messaging app that lets you share photos or videos (known as “snaps”) with your followers. “Snaps” are only available to view for a specific amount of time (up to 10 seconds) before self-destructing.
Users also have the option to add snaps into a story that won’t delete for 24 hours. Unlike single snaps that can only be viewed once, followers can view stories multiple times within this 24 hour period.
Let’s take a look at Snapchat by the numbers:
Every day, over 100 million people use Snapchat to catch up with friends, share their lives with each other, and keep up with the brands they love. This adds up to a whopping eight billion videos consumed every day on Snapchat.
Snapchat users are also highly likely to shop online. Over 75% of Snapchat users have made an online purchase within the last 30 days.
Snapchat is popular with the young crowd, but it isn’t just for teens. The most popular age group for Snapchat is 18 to 24 year olds (37%), followed by 25 to 34 year olds (26%).
Snapchat is also one of the most downloaded apps. Over 60% of all American smartphone users aged 13 to 34 download and use Snapchat frequently.
As I mentioned above, Snapchat users are aged 34 and below. Is that the age of your target customer? If yes, you can’t afford to ignore Snapchat. Here is what Snapchat does best:
Some platforms only show the perfect side of our brand, filters and all (looking at you, Instagram). Some platforms call for professionalism and decorum (hey there, LinkedIn).
Snapchat is the polar opposite. This audience wants to peek behind the scenes. Production value is not as important as simplicity, sincerity, and silliness.
Use Snapchat to share who you are as a brand. On Snapchat, it’s not about the perfectly worded blog post, the perfectly staged photo, or the perfectly scripted video. It’s about sharing an authentic moment with your audience, giving them more insight into who you are as a brand.
It helps your audience feel more connected to your brand.
Here’s what Snapchat doesn’t do well:
Your Snapchat followers can’t share your snaps with others. Your content will never go viral on Snapchat. It’s just not set up to do that.
Snapchat users can’t use the platform to randomly happen upon your profile. Snapchat has a very, very limited search function. You’ll need to pull Snapchat followers from other places. For example, on YouTube or Facebook, you must advertise your Snapchat profile and give your specific username.
In fact, Snapchat doesn’t even tell you how many followers you have. It simply shows you a convoluted score that you can kinda use to tell you how many followers you have, sorta. You’ll never know the real number, and you’ll have to be okay with that.
That said, there is one way to discover if your Snapchat resonates with your followers. Use social listening to figure out if people are talking about your brand on Snapchat, and referring it to their social media circles.
When it comes to this platform, two words spring to mind: Exclusive content. The content you produce for Snapchat shouldn’t be anything like what you have going on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or even YouTube. It needs to be fresh and privileged—the type of content that your followers won’t find anywhere but Snapchat. Plus, it should be constantly updated with new stuff.
Snapchat doesn’t demand perfection. It just demands honesty and candor. This is why the following ideas will help you connect better with the Snapchat audience:
Use Snapchat to run a contest that rewards your followers. For example, ask your followers to snap a selfie of themselves using your product for a chance to win an Amazon gift card.
Offer exclusive, time-sensitive coupons that drive business. You can offer a last minute offer that expires within 24 hours to tap into the buyer’s sense of urgency.
Don’t forget to use Snapchat to interact with your audience. Ask questions to find out what type of content your audience likes or to help you decide on future product offerings. This type of personal exchange really makes Snapchat useful in market testing.
Go behind the scenes and show what it’s really like at your office. Follow a team member for a day-in-the-life Snapchat story, for example. Add an element of comedy if you can. Snapchat audiences love it.
Use Snapchat to share snippets of special activities, such as live events, seminars, parties, and more. You can even Snapchat before you Periscope.
Want to share a snapshot of new product you’re about to unveil? Have a product that’s almost ready for the spotlight, but not quite? Snapchat to the rescue. Use a quick 10 second snap to build excitement about a new product.
Snapchat is all about fun and candid, unscripted conversation. Use this platform to connect with your community and show off your humanness. Authenticity, more than anything else, will help you sell to a younger demographic. And coupons—never forget that.