09.11.2015 Four ways to use Snapchat as a social media marketing tool

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Snapchat is becoming more brand friendly all the time, constantly adding new features to enhance its potential as a digital marketing tool. The social app is no doubt keen to emulate the success of Facebook and Twitter, which have maximised profits by offering paid-for advertising services. The imminent opening of Snapchat’s first UK office marks the company’s desire to expand their marketing services worldwide.

 Despite Snapchat’s best efforts to benefit from the boom in social marketing, many brands are still unsure how to use the platform to their advantage.

Here’s Brighter Comms’ guide to how to make Snapchat’s marketing features work for your brand.

  1. Snapchat Lenses

Useful for: Multinational corporations, major brands

Snapchat’s latest feature is Snapchat Lenses, which allows users to add real time special effects to their selfies. Snapchat has already started to monetise the new feature by offering brands the chance to create their own Lenses, which will then be distributed to users. The first to take advantage of this opportunity was The Peanuts Movie, which allowed users to enhance their selfies with Peanuts characters and music. Because Peanuts is an established brand with recognisable imagery, the ‘Peanuts Lens’ appealed to Snapchat users.

The beauty of the new Lenses feature is that it actively encourages users to share and interact with branded content. This creates a real buzz around the product and generates significant peer-to-peer publicity. This kind of exposure doesn’t come cheap, with Snapchat charging up to $750,000 (£492,000) for use of the native advertising service – although they do promise the content will reach a minimum of 12 million people. Due to the hefty price tag and capacity for global reach, this service is only suitable for multinational corporations.

  1. Snapchat Discover

Useful for: Multinational corporations, media outlets, brands launching new products

Snapchat’s Discover feature allows brands to share their content with users through dedicated channels. This feature is mainly used by major media outlets, such as Mashable and MTV. A mixture of articles, images, and video content can be distributed to Snapchat users who choose to interact with Discover channels. Since the launch of Discover, non-media brands have been able to advertise on these channels at a cost of two cents (one pence) per view. Recently, the marketing capabilities of Discover have been extended even further.

The social network introduced the concept of promotional Discover channels last month, when it launched a 24-hour ‘SPECTRE’ channel to mark the launch of the new James Bond film. This use of the Discover feature is perfect for showcasing a new product, and is particularly suited to launching films, music releases, and television shows. Promotional Discover channels look set to become a regular feature on Snapchat, but again this feature is only accessible to the biggest corporations.

  1. Snapchat Geofilters

Useful for: Small and medium businesses, regional brands, festivals and events, brands with physical stores

Geofilters allows users to add unique filters to their snaps based on their location. In its simplest form, the Geofilters feature adds a graphic to a snap, telling recipients which city it was taken in. Snapchat have also offered the use of this feature to brands as a digital marketing tool. McDonald’s made use of the feature by creating a Big Mac Geofilter. This filter became available to Snapchat users when they were near to a McDonald’s restaurant, enabling them to share their dinner plans with friends through a snap.

Because this feature is activated by location services, Geofilters is a great resource for regional businesses. Nightclubs, gyms, events and festivals could all benefit from making a personalised Geofilter available to their patrons. Effectively, Geofilters is to Snapchat what Checking In is to Facebook, but with the added benefit of encouraging patrons to create and share user-generated content.

  1. Snapchat Stories

Useful for: Small and medium businesses, start-ups, brands with low marketing budgets, brands with an established social audience, brands wanting to use snapchat for pr and communications.

Stories is the only free digital marketing resource available to brands on Snapchat. Stories is made up of snaps that users decide to share with all of their followers. By creating a Snapchat account, brands can create photo and video content and upload them to their Snapchat Story. Their followers can then view this content and interact with the brand through photo, video, or text-based messaging.

The downside to Snapchat Stories is that brands need to build a following before Stories can become a useful PR and marketing tool. If a brand has an engaged audience on other social platforms, building a Snapchat following will be fairly easy – simply promoting their Snapchat account to their existing audience should do the trick. On the other hand, those without an existing social audience could struggle to build a Snapchat following. Brands in this situation should focus on improving their presence on Facebook and Twitter before trying to leverage Snapchat.

For more Snapchat tips, read our blog on How to Use Snapchat Successfully in a PR Campaign