“Social media evolution is inevitable. All you can do is evolve along with it.” – @carlosgil83 Click To Tweet
Snapchat is a platform seemingly designed to confuse people of a certain age. Let’s say those of us who were high school age or older when Bill Clinton was president. If you’re in that demographic, you probably didn’t immediately “get” Snapchat’s minimalist UI and self-destructing messages.
Even if you’re one of the hip kids snapping away at home, it can be hard to see the business value of the platform.
But among the emoji and the rainbow vomiting there’s a huge potential audience. Brands with the right content and strategy are already enjoying success. If your target audience matches the platform’s demographics, it’s time to dive in.
At his Social Media Marketing World session, BMC’s Head of Global Social Media Carlos Gil made a compelling case for Snapchat as a marketing tool, and offered tactics for engaging on the platform.
Who’s on Snapchat
There are over 300 million monthly users on Snapchat. The vast majority are between 18 and 34 years old. 77% are over 18, and 24% are in the 25-34 bracket.
It’s a much smaller audience than, say, Facebook, but it’s a major player for millennials. 41% of all millennials in the United States are on the platform.
If your audience includes millennials and Gen Z, Snapchat is most likely a good fit for your business. If you’re hitting an older demographic, Carlos says, that doesn’t automatically count you out. It’s still worth doing a little research to see if your particular Gen X or Boomer audience is on the platform. Even B2B businesses can find an audience on Snapchat.
Brands Are Seeing Amazing Success on Snapchat
Carlos didn’t pull any punches in his assessment of the platform’s potential: One of his slides read simply “Snapchat is a legit marketing channel.”
Take Gatorade’s Super Bowl lens, for example. The lens added football-style eyeblack to people’s faces and simulate the celebratory Gatorade dousing at the end of the game. More people saw Gatorade’s branded lens than saw the Super Bowl itself–and for a fraction of the cost of a 30-second ad.
How to Build a Following on Snapchat
It takes work and engaging, fun content to get people to follow your brand, Carlos says. If you’re just starting out, it makes sense to experiment with geofilters first. People don’t have to follow your brand to see geofilters–they pop up based on location. Use geofilters to build brand presence, reach local users, even amplify tradeshow presence and community events.
To build your audience, start by leveraging your existing social media channels. Make sure your Twitter and Facebook followers can easily connect on Snapchat from their preferred platform. You can also run Facebook and Instagram ads that are targeted at Snapchat users. Just add “likes Snapchat” to your targeting criteria before running a campaign, and use creative that includes your Snapcode and handle.
Influencer content is huge on Snapchat as well. After you have started building a following, look to influencers in your vertical to co-create content and do channel takeovers.
Content that Engages on Snapchat
Unlike every other channel, Snapchat users want quality content that is fun, creative, and/or educational.
Okay, like every other channel, Snapchat content should be fun, creative, and/or educational. The difference is Snapchat is more informal and a whole lot shorter–you’re looking to build stories that are 2-3 minutes long, and each segment is just 10 seconds.
Carlos suggests keeping it extra real: Use the platform to go behind the scenes, feature the employees that make your business work, highlight your corporate culture. If you have a physical product to sell, think product story, not sales pitch.
Carlos used Nike as an example. If they’re launching a new shoe line, their Story will show people playing basketball in the shoes, not someone highlighting the shoe’s selling points.
Most importantly, keep your content fresh and updated often. Stories only last 24 hours, so constant refreshing is vital to keeping your audience entertained.
Keys to Converting from Snapchat
According to Carlos, marketing on Snapchat isn’t all about brand awareness fun and games. It’s definitely possible to inspire action and track results. Here are Carlos’ top tips for conversion and measurement:
- Keep stories brief and include a very direct CTA
- Offer followers exclusive VIP offers and flash sales
- Use tracking URLs for every link out of Snapchat
It’s All Snappening
If your target audience includes millennials and Gen Zers, Snapchat is worth exploring. Start with the best practices you use for all of your social content creation–keep it authentic, entertaining, and educational. Then embrace the unique qualities of the platform. Go for informal, person-to-person content that humanizes your brand. Take your audience behind the scenes, let them meet your people and see what you’re about.
As Carlos says, “The key word in social media is ‘social.’” That’s true on every social media platform, but even more so on Snapchat.
Is your business using Snapchat? What questions do you still have about the platform? Let me know in the comments.