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Snapchat & Business: Can You Build a Brand Ten Seconds at a Time?

Let’s talk for a bit about Snapchat.

Yes, that Snapchat.

The app has created quite a bit of buzz over its eventful first 4 years as a part of the social media landscape, both positive and negative

While I’m sure entire library wings could be filled with novels detailing how Snapchat has affected our personal lives, that is most definitely a conversation for another day. Instead, we’re going to look at how brands are utilizing the “messaging” app that has grown into a great way to connect with an audience that seems to never stop growing.

So the question on every Social Media Managers’ mind is:

Can Snapchat help my brand grow?

The answer to this question is a resounding maybe.

Snapchat lends itself to be more useful to more exciting brands looking to capture the fleeting attention spans of people under 25 years old, otherwise known as 71% of their users. It has been noticed that the best way to get the attention of this younger crowd is with entertaining content that they might consider funny or overall worth sharing.

There is simply no denying the meteoric rise in popularity of Snapchat – at the present, Snapchat users account for 18% of all social media users, representing 100 million daily active users. That is a very large audience and great chance for certain brands to reach their fans, if they fit the profile.

It is worth noting that when I refer to brands on Snapchat, I am not talking about the big names you see in the “Discover” section of the app. This is a great feature that allows brands to post exclusive content in a unique way, but from a user standpoint it doesn’t feel as personal. The names you see in the “Discover” section are automatically chosen based on data and are usually huge names like Buzzfeed and the Daily Mail. To me this section much more sales-y and corporate. It lacks the intimacy of watching a Story post that is restricted by the same guidelines that my friend’s must abide by when posting on the app.

Learn From the Best

So who’s got it figured out? A few brands have separated themselves from the pack when it comes to using Snapchat as a marketing tool and are presumably reaping the benefits of jumping on board with the young platform – brands who aren’t featured in the “Discover” section.

In order to better understand how a brand can see success with Snapchat, let’s take a look at how the undisputed champion of Snapchat does it.

Taco Bell

Taco-Bell-Snapchat-2

If there’s one thing Taco Bell has figured out, it’s tacos burritos nachos breakfast marketing. They are reliably awesome when it comes to their marketing efforts and have fully immersed themselves in the digital universe to connect with their fans.

Taco Bell is very active on Snapchat, which comes as no surprise considering their already strong social media presence. They are using innovative techniques to not only grab their followers’ attention, but to promote new products and run promotions and contests as well.

Taco Bell has taken the “Story” feature of Snapchat and turned it into an amazing portal of communication and promotion. They have embraced our short attention spans and constantly create engaging content that allows for actual interaction.

They do more than just promote product launches (which, they do very well) – they also run contests and have Internet celebrities cover events for them, such as the Grammys.

GQ Magazine

With so many digital options out there, magazines and other publications are being forced to adapt and find new ways to get their names and logos in front of people’s faces. GQ is fully committed to Snapchat, posting regular style tips, how-to guides, and even celebrity-hosted “takeovers.”

The Art of the Takeover

One way GQ is able to keep our attention is with the age-old technique of having a famous person do things, which is why these “takeovers” work so well for all brands. GQ has mastered this marketing tool and will commonly use them at large events, such as Nick Jonas taking the helm of their Snapchat account during the VMA’s this year.

Viewers love exclusives, which is essentially what these takeovers amount to. Viewers also love celebrities, whether it is a famous actor, athlete, or super model. GQ has combined the two to produce great content that people want to see on a regular basis.

Engaging users isn’t always a walk in the park, but GQ has found a method that works for them and continue to make it even better.

How Does It Work?

Taco Bell and GQ are far from the only brands running successful Snapchat campaigns. Major league sports teams, musicians, and award shows are all in great positions to see great results with Snapchat, but how?

One word: audience.

If A Tree Falls In the Woods…

The key to seeing marketing success on Snapchat is having an audience that cares. Sure, you still need to produce great and engaging content that evokes a response / gets the job done, but you need someone to see it. Hilarious videos or “screenshot this coupon” photos are great ways to get people talking about your business, but if nobody is there to actually see it then it is destined for failure.

Implementing Snapchat into your marketing strategy can work, but you must build an audience first.

You’ll notice the examples I highlighted earlier are enormous companies that have been enormous for years. They don’t have to worry about an audience: over 700,000 people saw this tweet:

If 10% of that 700,000 actually took the (very short amount of) time and actually went and followed GQ on Snapchat, they would already have an audience of 70,000 people. It’s on GQ to convert those viewers into buyers of course, but the reason they have the chance at all is because they have a large enough audience.

So back to the original question:

Can Snapchat help my brand grow?

The answer remains a firm “maybe.” As one part of a social media strategy, Snapchat can help bolster your brand and engage users in a fun and exciting way. However, you must build up an audience before expecting your Snapchat account to go viral.



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