Once upon a time, not too long ago, Snapchat was born out of the creative genius of Evan Spiegel, perceived as a platform geared mostly towards pre-teens and teens.
However, over the last couple of years, Snapchat has revamped its features, decked out its façade, and made creative changes that has moved it into a much broader space.
The burgeoning social media platform is no longer reserved for flower crowned and rainbow puking selfies!
On average, Snapchat reaches 41% of all 18 to 34 year-olds daily in the U.S. alone.
If you are not left gaping openly at the sheer monstrosity of that statistic, you might be more impressed to learn that a better part of new users signing up for Snapchat have crossed well over the “25 year” threshold. Don’t Guffaw!
Looking at the insane popularity of the app, it’s hard to believe that it only launched four years ago. In such a short time, more than 150 million people use Snapchat every day to watch 10 billion stories and videos.
For all savvy social media marketers and SMB owners, that should read as a billion daily opportunities to make their brand reach unprecedented heights.
Forget 90% of what you think you know about social media marketing; it probably won’t apply to Snapchat.
There are no hashtags, comments, or likes. URLS and links are foreign concepts. So is virality. The app celebrated for amassing a massive millennial cult audience and boasting ephemeral messaging, has evolved way beyond the social media and web to emerge as the first mobile media network, touting a huge emphasis on media.
In a nutshell, Snapchat has as much in common with DirecTV and Time Warner as it does with YouTube and Facebook, albeit with a class of its own!
Why do Small businesses absolutely need to be on Snapchat?
Snapchat’s need for novel content and its young demographic is definitely a promising opportunity for many businesses; especially SMBs looking to appeal to younger Millennials.
The platform allows users to mix videos and photographs, and employ creative tools like digital crayons, filters, and fonts.
The mammoth audience of devoted followers, in conjunction with the rich media experience, has made Snapchat an appealing marketing avenue for SMBs all over the world. In addition, with the launch of the state-of-the-art, spectacular, and simply sexy camera-equipped ‘Spectacles’, Snapchat has satiated all speculations of them venturing into the hardware realm.
All the more better for opening up advertising opportunities for SMBs!
Snaps – 10-second videos or pictures shot on the app – are an effective and expedite way to incentivize customers and humanize a business, in addition to communicating brand initiatives and values.
Small businesses all over the globe are fast capitalizing on Snapchat to elicit actions from their Snapchat followers and heighten brand awareness.
If you’re a creative small business aspiring to reach a younger audience, Great! Here are 4 reasons why SMBs prefer adding Snapchat to their marketing mix over other social media channels:
1. Snapchat takes your audience behind the scenes
There’s nothing people love more than gleaning a behind-the-scenes sneak peak of people and companies they care about. Where Instagram and Facebook only reveal the final product in the best light, it makes people question the reality of it. It’s all as dreamlike, made-up, and artificial as it is time-consuming.
People are more intrigued about the real-time process of getting to that final product. They want to see what lies behind the curtains in the everyday life of a business. They wish to be a part of the backstage of events they are unable to attend. Snapchat can let them in on the instances of “products in the making”.
According to businesses already making waves on the platform, Snapchat is the best place to tease followers with passing glimpses into your operation. And since Snapchat provides a topnotch immersive video experience, snaps are way more powerful at making an impact than an Instagram photo or a simple tweet.
According to Jessica Maslin, directing partner at DayDreamCinema, a multimedia marketing agency actively employing Snapchat to promote behind-the-scenes clips from its various brand shoots, “Snapchat is a glimpse into the lifestyle of your company. We have a lot of fun at work so we want people to see that. We shot an ad for Michael Jordan kid shoes last week but that edit won’t get released for eight months. On Snapchat it’s easy for people to watch and see how cool that is. They wonder how we’re filming and what it’ll look like in the end.”
Snapchat was so enamored with the creative string of DayDreamCinema that it hired CEO Josh Martinez Dubon and Jessica Maslin to kick-start a weekly Snapchat-branded video series, focusing on exploring a day in the life of a profession that people would never experience for themselves.
2. Snapchat gives you advertising wings
According to a post published in Adweek, Snapchat recently started expanding its advertising horizons with a host of new and innovative Snapchat-for-business features.
Perhaps rolling out Snap Ads between Stories is the hardest challenge that Snapchat has come to grips with. If you are gawking in astonishment at what you read – this is exactly what it sounds like. The Snapchatters’ stories are soon likely to be peppered in with Ads. While the Ads won’t be incorporated within the stories themselves, and are easily skippable, they will pop up full screen with audio when Snapchatters move from one story to the next.
In addition, for the first time in the history of Snapchat, business ads will be certified by third-party agencies, as opposed to just Snapchat itself.
When users swipe up on business content, business owners and marketers will be allowed to choose additional actions. Your business can direct them to an article or website (without leaving Snapchat), divert them to an extended video, or urge them to install another app.
In collaboration with Media Science, Snapchat surveyed 320 consumers aged 16 to 56. During 552 sessions, the survey compared Snapchat video ads to those on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TV. The study tested exit surveys, eye-tracking, and emotional responses.
Snapchat claims that its ads garnered 1.5 times more visual attention than Instagram, and twice that of Facebook. Not to mention, Snap Ads proved to be 1.3 times more effective than those on YouTube. When compared to traditional and contemporary media, Snapchat asserts that its ads generated twice as much intent to purchase and a much escalated emotional response.
If Snapchat still hasn’t won you over, this is what I have to resort to: “everybody who’s anybody is doing it.” Snapchat has recently brought on 10 test business partners, including Express, Warner Bros., Procter & Gamble, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, and Verizon. The numbers say it all!
Snap Ads Case Study: Recently the hip music app Spotify leveraged Snap Ads to promote their annual campaign – “Year in Music”- where users can reminisce and review all the songs they listened to on Spotify that year. Ads run by Spotify popped-up on Snapchat’s Discover channel, focusing on a different music genre every day. Before the campaign was over, Spotify earned a 30% increase in subscriber intent and 26 million total views! That’s no small potatoes.
3. Small businesses can create a Snapchat geofilter
I can’t get enough of this new Geofilter technology that Snapchat has introduced. Any small business can create and customize their own filter and it only pops up on Snapchatters’ phones when they are within range.
Snapchat lets you upload your trademark or logo, and set up a “geofence” for meticulous targeting of users. This translates into instantaneous, easy promotional opportunities!
Currently, Snapchat has two types of custom Geofilters that are available to businesses: On-Demand Geofilters, starting at a humble $5, and their much pricier counterpart Sponsored Geofilters, which can cost a fortune.
— Snapchat (@Snapchat) February 22, 2016
For instance, if a taco truck wants to promote a Cinco de Mayo special event, customers eating tacos can take snaps of themselves and mark them with the Geofilter to let their family and friends know whose tacos they are enjoying and where they are. Here, a relatively inexpensive On-Demand Geofilter is all that is needed to brand the event.
For brands jumping on the bandwagon to prove how socially-savvy they are, or trying to connect with millennials, creating and launching a custom Snapchat Geofilter could mean the ultimate difference. Snapchat Geofilters can perfectly harness the attention of your audience since they are already digesting, and hopefully loving, your content. Geofilters make it easier for your audience to promote your brand or product organically, and also engage with it on an interpersonal level. Small businesses can also leverage Geofilters to announce new product launches, share their company culture, and support their personal brands.
Jay Hawkinson, senior VP of client success at SIM Partners, said in an interview with the SocialTimes that he feels these custom Geofilters can work wonders for businesses:
“Snapchat Geofilters communicate the “where and when” of a snap, giving brands an opportunity to engage with consumers in the moment. From an event and location-based marketing perspective, they give brands an opportunity to create shared experiences with consumers as well as another way to activate their sponsorships. For example, a brand sponsoring a car at the Indy 500 might do a Snapchat Geofilter that highlights their car and driver. Fans in the stands could then share snaps with their friends using that filter to celebrate their favorite driver and commemorate being at the event.”
The annual event – The Hoopsfix All-Star Classic – exhibits the best in British basketball talent. While searching for a way to spread the word about the event out of the reaches of the arena in Brixton, London – Sam Neter, Hoopsfix founder – turned to Snapchat for help.
To engage the audience in attention, they created a filter and made it live on the evening before the event to allow the Hoopsfix team to regale the audience with some behind the scenes action of the arena coming together.
While the filter expired as soon the event was done with, it only cost $30 in its 25 hour life. However, before the filter expired, it had received 91,346 views and been used 389 times.
4. Self-destructive snaps create a sense of urgency
A major reason that makes Snapchat increase engagement and work for small businesses is that having photo and video content that auto-destructs after a fleeting instant, means that consumers should forever be on the lookout for your content and consume it right away.
If they miss it, the content could be lost forever in the ether. Being given a deadline to take action can certainly be a motivator for engaging users and stirring them to action. If people are not motivated to do something right away, chances are they won’t do it later as well.
A fool-proof way to build brand loyalty is to share coupons on Snapchat that work within a certain time period. Stories on Snapchat only last 24 hours, while snaps disappear instantly after you have watched them. Just as a radio campaign compels users to stay tuned for that thrilling “cue to call,” Snapchatters feel duty-bound to follow your business on Snapchat and act promptly to avail the deals or coupons you are offering.
Food delivery service, Grubhub, launched an unprecedented week-long scavenger hunt contest, which came to be known as “SnapHunt”. For each day of the week, the brand posted a new challenge for users for a shot at $50 in free takeout. During the contest, almost 30% of GrubHub’s Snapchat followers participated and the brand witnessed a boost of 20 percent in followers.
Brands that fail to meet the requirements of the digital age will fail across all avenues. If you want your brand to be seen as up-to-date, fresh, and young, it’s high time you grab a phone, and get set snapping!
Guest Author: Evan currently works at Design Mantic and is an expert in digital marketing and has run several successful marketing campaigns. He has been working in the social media space since 2008, with a focus on design services, user interface planning, branding and others in the graphic design industry.