Snapchat Marketing: Is it Right for Your Business?

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Snapchat launched in 2011. It is a mobile messaging application. In the beginning, it was a great way to send photos and videos without bogging down your phone's storage. The younger kids picked up on it first. They could add captions, drawings, and even filters to their photos and videos before sending them to friends and family, thus the term "snap." The element that attracted most users was the fact that you could only view the "snap" for 10 seconds before it disappeared.

 Poof – gone for good!  You can probably see the attraction for tweens and teens. Today Snapchat has over 100 million active users and over 7 billion daily video views. Now, you understand the attraction to marketers.  

Here's how Gary Vaynerchuk explains the Snapchat phenomenon: "Snapchat closely resembles how we communicate face-to-face than any other social network. when we talk to each other, passing in the halls or just living out our lives, those moments disappear. Snapchat emulates that behavior and psychology.  Moments are temporary and that's exactly the feeling and behavior that Snapchat matched to." 

In 2013, Snapchat introduced a new feature called Snapchat Stories. This enabled users to string together photos and videos taken throughout the day creating narratives. Think of it as a Twitter feed or Facebook timeline. The stories last for 24 hours. This new feature took hold and users continued to grow, according to Business Insider over 40% of 18-year-olds were using Snapchat.


In 2015, they launched a new feature called Discover. Discover took Snapchat to an entirely new level. Discover connected SnapChat users with top media companies and media companies started publishing content to the app users. The companies they launched with included ESPN, Cosmopolitan, National Geographic and CNN.

This feature has pushed the platform into a prime position for monetization.  

Ok, so that's a brief history on SnapChat, now let's talk about why marketers are bringing it to the attention of business owners.  

Snapchat users have centered around the millennial generation that's one attraction, but other generations are adapting to it daily and active users continue to increase in volume.  Facebook has continually been losing the younger audience to applications like Snapchat, and ComScore reports that three out of every five 18 to 24-year-olds use Snapchat. The numbers are attractive and the application carries more value than just snapping photos and videos that disappear.  

There is a lot of buzz about Snapchat lately, but you are really the only one who can determine if it's the right social platform for you and your business.  It is growing in popularity and users on a daily basis, so let's explore some of the ways that Snapchat can be used so that you are able to make the educated decision on whether or not it fits into your marketing strategy.  

The challenge with Snapchat is that the marketing options are not as advanced as those available on social platforms like Facebook. You need to have a clear understanding of the objective you want to achieve with Snapchat and how it will add value to your overall social marketing strategy.

Snapchat does take a considerable amount of time to create a presence that is continuous and strong.   

How to Get Started 

First things are first if you are considering using Snapchat you will need to first setup your account. 

  • Step 1 – Download the Snapchat Application from Google Play or the App Store.  

  • Step 2 - Claim a Snapchat profile for your business.  
    The signup process is not difficult, but you will need to enter your email address, password, and birthday. Once you enter this information you'll need to select a username. This is what your customers will see so I suggest using something that is associated with your business.  

  • Step 3 – Enter your mobile number. 
    You will need to enter and verify your mobile number. This is to verify that you are not a robot. The app will send you an authentication code via text.   The number can be removed from your profile later.   You can bypass this step and complete a visual text to prove you are not a robot if you prefer. 

    Your Snapchat account is now setup and ready for use. Get familiar with the application by following these tips and trick by Snapchat. 

    How to Use Snapchat 

    It's important to remember that content on Snapchat only lasts for a short period of time after a 24 hour period of time they disappear, so it's not like other platforms where you can repurpose the content on an ongoing basis. With that being said, that's also the attraction of Snapchat. Users know that the content on Snapchat is fresh and updated, and this is a big part of its appeal.  

    If you think Snapchat is something that will work for you, here are some ideas you can use to get started in producing content:  

    • Use Snapchat for Behind the Scenes Footage 
      This is a great way to give your customers/prospect and insider's view of your company.  Sharing your company culture can really help to engage your following with interesting content. 

    • Media Influencer Outreach 
      Like all social media platforms, Snapchat also has its share of influencers. Partnering with influencers can help in sharing your brand and conducting an awareness campaign.  It's a great way to share your brand's voice and personality, not to mention Snapchat is able to reach a demographic that's hard to reach throughout more traditional channels.  

    • Share Promotions, Coupons or Contests 
      Everyone loves a deal, so Snapchat is a great way reward your followers with promotional codes, coupons, contests, and giveaways. Be creative, it will keep your customers/prospects interested.  

    • Deliver Exclusive Content 
      Because of the uniqueness of Snapchat, it's a great way to deliver exclusive content to your followers.  We all love to be the first "in the know." 

    • Report from Live Events 
      Share your live events with your followers using Snapchat. It's a perfect app to give the insiders view of what's going on.  

    Evaluating the Value the Marketing Value it Brings to You 

    It's clear that Snapchat has the ability to create engagement with your customers as well as awareness with your prospective customers through the use of daily stories.  It has the potential to get you in front of a new audience that is perhaps being missed by other social media platforms.  However, with it come a few downfalls that you have to be ok with.  

    • Your marketing message can't be recalled, this means it's one and done.   

    • You currently can't drive traffic from the Snapchat app. This means it is nearly impossible to convert them through the purchase or lead process. 

    • In marketing departments that are already tapped for time and resources, it's one more social media platform you will have to activate, feed and monitor.  

    Only you can make the determination of whether Snapchat is a good channel for you. Like any other social media platform, Snapchat will work well for some businesses and not for others. I would also say that I believe Snapchat will continue to evolve, grow and increase their marketing opportunities. 

    The only way to know if it's right for you is to try it. Evaluate it, try to develop a content plan that is Snapchat specific and see how difficult it is. If you find the content plan comes naturally, why not give it a try?  If you struggle you should take that as a hint that perhaps this is not the right platform for you.