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Marketing

Yes, you do need to be on Snapchat for business. Here’s how it makes your business better

With over 100 million daily active users, and 10 billion videos viewed every single day, Snapchat is the fastest-growing social network on the market. So how do you start using Snapchat for business?

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Despite having seemingly revolutionised social media, it’s interesting to note that only 2% of businesses on social media are actually using Snapchat for business. Whether this is due to lack of promotional options, or a general fear of the unfamiliar, Snapchat’s largely uncharted territory provides the ideal marketing opportunity for your business to stand out and shine on the platform.

How do you get started?

We’ve set out four simple steps to make Snapchat work for your business.

1. Start with strategy

Money and attention are both finite resources, especially for small businesses. Too often many try to nab a spot on social media without knowing why they are there in the first place. Before you sign up for Snapchat, it’s important to ask yourself some fundamental questions:

"Snapchat offers authenticity and brand narrative, setting the platform apart from other channels that focus largely on curated content."

  • Why am I on Snapchat? What do you want to gain from being on the platform? Whether your objective is to raise awareness of your brand or to increase leads and sales, without knowing ‘why’, your time, money and creativity are essentially lost investments.
  • Who am I talking to? As the adage goes, fish where the fish are. As a social media platform, Snapchat is most often identified with millennials, but in 2015, its 25-34-year-old users increased by 103% and its over-35 user base grew by 84%. This suggests that the platform is branching out to older users, opening up marketing opportunities for businesses.

2. Build a following

Growing an audience on Snapchat may be a challenge, but it’s far from impossible. While the platform has no hashtags or search functions, there are avenues you can use to grow your presence.

  • Share your Snap code. A snap code is an image that users can scan to start following other users on Snapchat. Cross-promotion using other social media is a fantastic way to share your snap code and invite others to interact with your business on Snapchat. For example, you could temporarily switch your Twitter and Facebook avatars for your snap code image, or even post it on your social media channels, along with some of your best Snapchat content.
  • Letting people know you’re on Snapchat. A simple post on your other social media platforms saying, “Heads up, we’ve just joined Snapchat! Be part of the fun by following us. Our username is XXXXX” may be all it takes to get people watching!

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3. Develop great content

Snapchat offers authenticity and brand narrative, setting the platform apart from other channels that focus largely on curated content. With both image and video functions available for use, businesses have the opportunity to set themselves truly apart on Snapchat and create authentic connections with their audience without investing in expensive advertising.

  • Go behind the scenes. Snapchat is the leader in real-time social media interaction. Its ephemeral nature allows businesses to offer a look behind the scenes to give people an insight into how they work. Make the most of this by capturing what’s happening in the moment and sharing it with your audience. For example, if you’re managing a small bakery, you can use it to show the process behind baking fresh bread every day. If you’re managing a restaurant, you can give audiences a sneak peak of where all the magic happens.
  • Tell a story: Snapchat’s story format allows businesses to use a series of snaps to tell an evolving linear story. Use a mix of photos, videos, drawings and captions to build anticipation for a product launch, present a special offer, prepare a simple tutorial or even tell a story about your business. The trick is to plan and build content that respects the time and attention of your audience.

4. Encourage two-way interaction

Social media isn’t just a one-way megaphone for your business’ promotions. In fact, it rewards those who know how to captivate and engage with their followers.

  • Ask questions. Invite your followers to reply to your snap, sharing their experiences and opinions using your products.
  • Consider following people back on Snapchat. When followers send you snaps, read them and reply (if appropriate). This goes a long way towards letting users know your business is made up of real people who appreciate their support.
  • Ask people to take screenshots of your snap. Make the most of Snapchat’s 24-hour stories by offering your followers a limited-time coupon in the form of a snap. Send out a snap telling followers you’re about to give out an exclusive coupon and suggest they take a screenshot of it to claim. You can even mention this limited offer on your other social media channels to help grow your Snapchat following. Then reveal the coupon code and measure how many people opened, watched and screenshot the snap. This gives you the chance to evaluate the effectiveness of your call-to-action and levels of engagement, while giving your followers a small reward for participating!

While Snapchat for business may be a foreign concept, one thing’s for sure – it’s only going to keep growing bigger and bigger. So before Snapchat gets too cluttered, make the most of its uncharted territory, and let your business shine!

Jo Scard

runs Fifty Acres where she provides big picture communications for corporate and not-for-profits. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

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