When Snapchat was first launched in 2011, many saw it as a social media platform that wouldn’t last. This year, its user base reportedly hit 100 million people, confirming its status as an app here to stay for the long haul.

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is an app that lets you send photos and videos to friends. These photos and videos disappear between one and ten seconds after receiving them, depending on the length the sender set. With disappearing content, Snapchat makes sending pictures or videos more exciting, as you only have one chance to view. Of course, if you want people to be able to view your content over and over again (within a 24-hour time period) you can always utilize the Story function, where you can post content for 24 hours. This allows all your followers to reap the benefits of watching whatever you post multiple times. The Story function also allows businesses to push content to their followers, as promo code or offers would be useless if they could only be viewed for a few seconds.


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But, as an app that is widely viewed as a communication tool for millennials, how and why should businesses go about implementing it into their marketing?

  1. Reach a Younger Audience

Millennials, at the moment, have become Snapchat’s core user base. One of the reasons why this has occurred is because it’s hard to be able to add a user on Snapchat unless you know their exact screen name meaning that parents are highly unlikely to track down their children, a common occurrence on older social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. You can, of course, use your address book or nearby people to add users to your Snapchat but, in it’s early days, knowing a person’s screen name was the only way. As many children become ‘embarrassed’ by their parents, Snapchat seems a safe option, almost helping them regain their freedom.

If your target audience doesn’t revolve around millennials, it may be unwise to introduce Snapchat as a marketing tactic as you would likely be targeting to users outside of your market.


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Snapchat’s core audience sits around 13-25 years old but many marketers seem afraid to advertise to millennials. Yet, there are plenty of positive examples that show it can be done, and to a successful level! KarmaLoop, the streetwear, ecommerce store uses its account to post images of new stock as and when it comes in. One main reason it’s doing so well? The occasional coupon codes only accessible on Snapchat can’t be hurting…

  1. Show customers a side to your business they haven’t seen before

We all love to get behind the scenes, whether it’s at the Oscars or on the set of your favourite T.V. show. The same goes with businesses, it allows companies to provide customers with access to exclusive content they wouldn’t previously have been able to access.

Fashion brands like Michael Kors have used Snapchat on numerous occasions to debut their collections before they even hit the runway. At Valentino’s show at Paris Fashion Week, actors Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson took behind the scenes one step further as they reprised their Zoolander roles for a runaway walk-off. The added feature of a ‘Blue Steel’ geo filter at the fashion show provided attendees with another way to feel involved, almost making them feel like part of the event.


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Of course, most businesses aren’t appearing on the world’s best runways but the same principle can be transferred. Show off a different side of your company, capture birthday parties, Christmas Do’s and the occasional office bake-off! If your customers only see your business as a business, they may struggle to build up trust. By introducing faces of the business and what you get to up when you’re not working hard, it allows you to connect customers with your business on a more personal level in this digital world. Really let your brand’s culture shine through.

  1. Partner with well-known Influencers

Influencer marketing (using well-known names to promote your products) is a great method of advertising if executed effectively. There are so many personalities with high follower counts using Snapchat, from bloggers to Youtube stars. These people can create content with you that will will help you market to a reach you never dreamed of. These users of Snapchat are well taught in creating video content that can complement your brands voice and personality. Not to mention, if you can get these influencers to direct their own followers to your business accounts, your reach will increase by association. You might need to reimburse these influencers for their time, with either money or products, but in the long run it will be worth it.


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Sour Patch Kids partnered with social media star Logan Paul to host a ‘Real-life Sour Patch Kid’ campaign. Which meant his 500,000 Twitter followers were directed to the Sour Patch Kids Snapchat so they could see his antics, introducing a whole new audience to the brand/product.

  1. Boost your marketing campaigns

When you’re only given a slotted amount of time (don’t forget, it’s only up to 10 seconds – max!) there’s not a huge amount you can do in one go. Unless you’ve planned something to perfection. But you can use these precious seconds to send out a teaser. A popular option in the entertainment industry, both Pitch Perfect 2 and Pretty Little Liars have used Snapchat to gather snaps of behind the scenes content of the film set and the premiere. Pretty Little Liars worked alongside Audi on their campaign, which lead to users who engaged being 13% more likely to have to give Audi’s product a better view even though Pretty Little Liars audience is not similar to Audi’s.


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Now not all businesses have sets and film premieres to show sneak peaks of but the truth is, everyone likes to see what happens behind the scenes. Shooting a new commercial? Share clips of the process with your fans on Snapchat. Launching a new product? Post photos of the packaging to really get people excited. Teasers are common in marketing, but when seen on Snapchat, the content feels more exclusive and personal, leading to viewers being more likely to watch the show, pay to watch the film, etc.

Spend the time setting up your Snapchat accounts and what you post and you’re likely to be leading the field compared to your competitors. Especially if your business is targeting 13-25 year olds, you cannot afford to not be advertising on Snapchat. Not only will your bond with your customers be stronger, as they gain access to a different side of your business, your sales are likely to increase as well.


Elena Lockett

Elena Lockett


Elena Lockett, Marketing Assistant, FM Outsource.