Whether you think Snapchat is the wave of the future or you’re confused about this new-fangled platform young folks are obsessed with, one thing remains clear: It’s a place for brands to capture an audience with enormous purchasing power. Snapchat recently said it has more than 100 million daily users spending an average of 25 to 30 minutes on the app, and said it hosts 10 billion video views per day. (That’s 2 billion more than Facebook.)
A recent study by Variety and Defy Media found that 44% of 1,117 U.S.-based Snapchat users between the ages of 13-24 said they had used the Live Stories and/or Discover features on at least a daily basis. Meanwhile, comScore reports that 60 percent of all 13 to 34-year-old smartphone users are active on Snapchat. With 80 million millennials in the United States representing $200 billion in annual purchasing power (and Gen Z coming up right behind them) reaching young people is crucial for any businesses — and they’re there for the taking on Snapchat.
One reason people are flocking to Snapchat is its authenticity. It’s a place where people are posting raw, uncut content that typically has a “behind-the-scenes” feel.
“With Snapchat there isn’t an expectation that you’re creating a multimillion-dollar video campaign. The content is supposed to be snackable and authentic,” said Brendan Lowry, marketing director at Curalate. “Ditch the corporate vibe and be quirky. Use Snapchat to offer a new type of view into your company.”
On May 31, Lowry conducted a webinar offering seven ideas for smarter brand storytelling on Snapchat. (A full video of the webinar is embedded at the bottom of this story.) Here are the highlights.
1. Offer a Peek Behind-the-Scenes
Since Snapchat has an informal feel, it’s a great place to take customers behind-the-scenes. Forever 21 has been sharing quick videos of models on set, offering something different than the overproduced, glossy image that appears in a magazine, catalog or email blast. Plus, it lets the models — and the brand — show off their personalities.
Pro Tip: Use your top-performing content from other social channels to inform the type of footage you share on Snapchat. If you’ve noticed that laydown shots have been getting high engagement on Instagram, then use Snapchat to take the viewer on a behind-the-scenes look at how that photo shoot came together. When you post the beautiful, final shot to Instagram, update the link in your bio to direct people to your Snapchat page so they can see the process behind creating that image.
2. Align the Brand with a Lifestyle
Many brands want to be associated with a certain lifestyle. Harley Davidson wants to project an image of the leather jacket wearing motorcyclist. Nike wants to associate itself with a sports-loving person obsessed with exercise. Forever 21, has a brand ascetic that’s young, stylish and trendy. So it sent some folks to the Coachella music festival to show what the consumer experience and lifestyle is like for Forever 21’s prototypical customer.
Pro Tip: Engage your Snapchat audience with poll questions. Forever 21 posted a photo of the lineup on the Coachella Stage and asked: “Snap us who you’re most excited for.” Then its audience felt engaged and were more likely to follow along with the rest of the Forever 21 Coachella adventure.
3. Create Exclusive Snapchat Offers
A unique feature about Snapchat is that people have to click through each post in a story to see the next piece of content. GrubHub capitalized on that functionality by using Snapchat to gradually reveal a 15 percent off discount code. The people that clicked through the story (with new content posted every 30 minutes or so) were rewarded with a discount on their next order.
Pro Tip: Use a specific code to measure your company’s engagement with its Snapchat audience. In this example, Grubhub knew that the discount code was only available to its Snapchat followers, so it had a clear indication of whether it was driving them to make purchases.
4. Give Employees a Voice
SoulCycle, the fast-growing indoor cycling company, conducts Snapchat interviews with trainers after workouts. For SoulCycle and many other businesses, employees represent the brand — so why not show them off?
SoulCycle uses Snapchat to create a connection between its trainers and members when they’re not at the gym — hoping that it’ll prompt people to keep coming back to future classes.
Pro Tip: Ask your Snapchat audience to submit questions about your business, and find employees (that aren’t camera shy) to answer them in short videos.
5. Showcase Trending Products
Snapchat is a great place to show off products that are trending or products you’d like to push to your audience. Time for a boring stock image set against a white backdrop? Forget that. Instead, brands like Forever 21 tap into Snapchat’s quirkiness by dancing up images with text overlays, flowers and smiley faces.
Pro Tip: Emojis, filters and text are your friends. Big time. If companies can make customers feel like a friend sent them a snap — not a business — it’ll feel much more natural and will likely drive more engagement.
6. Create Your Own Geo-Filters
A few months back, Snapchat began letting people create their own geo-filters. Here at Curalate, we had an open house event at our Philly HQ, so we created our own geo-filter to give attendees a fun way to interact with our brand.
Pro Tip: Use custom geo-filters to drive people to events or specific store locations. If you’re a retail brand, for example, create a hyper-local geo-filter for each specific store and use it to attract customers.
7. Snapchat Takeovers
A great way to use Snapchat is to allow an influencer or trusted associate to takeover your account. Nickelodeon held a Snapchat takeover with the stars of Make It Pop while a new episode debuted on TV. The audience could watch the stars react to the show and ask tons of questions. For fans of the show, it had to be a major thrill.
Pro Tip: Snapchat content only lasts for 24 hours, so brands should feel free to experiment — with little risk. Plus, Snapchat’s low production value makes it easy for even a novice to create content.
Watch the entire webinar here: