In a Snap: How Brands Can Use Snapchat Better

When Evan Spiegel first introduced Snapchat in September of 2011, his intentions weren’t anything close to digital marketing. The smart phone app was originally a senior design project for one of his capstone classes at Stanford University. Since its birth, it’s grown and evolved into an across-the-board digital giant. Snapchat has become a part of everyday life for Millennials and several big brands have already taken advantage of this opportunity to market their brands to an attentive audience.

Who’s on Snapchat?

Big and small brands alike are advertising to their fans on Snapchat. Here are just a few:

  • Taco Bell
  • Mashable
  • McDonald’s
  • Free People
  • General Electric
  • GrubHub
  • Brothers Bar and Grill
  • American Eagle
  • Acura
  • Rebecca Minkoff
  • The NBA
  • Heineken
  • Riffraff Boutique

Tips for brands engaging through Snapchat

Familiarize yourself with the app
Snapchat has undergone several changes since its first launch, so understanding all the bells and whistles is essential. Some features you should be aware of are:

  • Drawing Feature—Readily paint and draw on your snaps with all the colors of the rainbow, except for black and white. To draw in black, simply select the pencil and drag all the way down. For white, click and drag all the way to the left.
  • Time—You have the ability to select how long your Snapchat will last. Before you send a snap, select 1-10 seconds for viewers to see it before it disappears.
  • Filters—To acquire the six different filters, capture your snap and swipe to the left.
  • MyStory—MyStory is a new feature within Snapchat which allows you to send a snap to all your contacts. Once a snap is sent to MyStory, users have the ability to view the snap as many times as they want within the next 24 hours. Didn’t mean to send that? Don’t worry, Snapchat lets you delete snaps from MyStory.
  • Video—To make a video snap hold the capture button down to record. When finished release and send!


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 Example of black and white colors used to draw. 

Identify your audience
Like any marketing campaign, knowing your audience will help you create direction. Put yourself in your audiences’ shoes. What do you think they would enjoy seeing? Remember Snapchat only allows up to 10 second videos at a time, so think wisely. This medium is also meant to be casual, so the content of your snaps should be easy to understand. I would also recommend researching other brands on Snapchat to get a feel for what they are doing.

Use the Video Feature
The video feature makes snaps more personable and real. Try tying your snaps together by stringing multiple videos together.

Don’t be spammy
There is nothing worse than receiving spammy content on Snapchat like “Enter to Win” or “Use this Code.” Try to avoid spamming your followers with coupons and tell them rather about contests and deals in a creative way. For example, send snaps of behind-the-scenes tours, highlight employees or give a how-to demonstration.

Engage with followers
Show your followers some love! Send snaps back or encourage them to send you snaps that you can modify to snapback. Another way to engage with followers is to offer special promotions for those who snap at you. Lastly, engage with followers by providing exclusive deals to those who follow you on Snapchat.
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            Mashable uses Snapchat to unveil the new Blackberry Passport

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Taco Bell recently gave their followers a video tour of their headquarters.

Have you used Snapchat for your brand? What are some tips you suggest for a fool-proof Snapchat marketing campaign? What are some of your favorite brands on Snapchat?