02.07.2015 How to use Snapchat successfully in a PR campaign

Snapchat is the hot topic of the social media world this week as it announces that at long last, users will no longer have to suffer the inconvenience of thumb exhaustion.

Introducing the new tap to view feature, which replaces the hold to view action, this marks a significant step forward for the app in becoming more user-friendly.

What was once a peer-to-peer platform that involved friends exchanging often silly, caught-in-the-moment snaps, it is now becoming an increasingly useful tool for brands.

On most social media platforms, users tend to either ignore corporate advertising or only glance at it. With Snapchat, although the content only ‘exists’ for 10 seconds, users usually deliver 100% of their attention to it while they watch it.

It’s personable and reflective of how we interact in the real world – phone calls and face-to-face conversations disappear as soon as they happen, just like Snapchat, yet often they are more memorable than one-way content.

So who has embraced it so far?

Brands like Heinz, Audi and Glastonbury have already embraced Snapchat by inviting new followers to be part of product launches, giveaways and broadcast-streaming exclusives. For example, this year people could view backstage snaps and exclusive video content via Snapchat from Glastonbury while sitting in the warmth and comfort of their own homes, and these were shots not usually captured by TV coverage.

One of the most iconic and effective Snapchat campaigns was constructed by Shorty Award (which recognizes the best brands and agencies on social media) winner Vayner Media on behalf of Fox. The objective was simple: drive conversation and awareness of the franchise’s first film The Maze Runner.

We won’t bore you with the theory; take a look for yourself here to see what the team achieved.

How a-maze-ing was that!? (excuse the pun, we couldn’t resist!)

This campaign clearly didn’t require a huge budget, and we think this approach could open a number of doors for organisations targeting the notoriously difficult to reach 18-24 year old age group.

Snapchat can be used for a range of campaigns, so long as it has been well planned and targeted, as in the following simple, yet effective examples:

  • The Co-operative Electrical targeted students with a money-off offer for new laptops.

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  • Taco Bell used fellow social platform Twitter to announce its presence on Snapchat and encouraged people to follow in order to receive exclusive content.

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When it comes to considering Snapchat as part of a wider communications campaign, here are six golden rules to remember.

  1. Ensure you establish clear, measurable objectives

Firstly, be clear about what is it that you want to achieve. It could be more people engaging with your brand or business, more people entering competitions or more people referring friends. Whatever the objective, be sure to establish measureable tactics that can be reviewed using the analytics tool. While the in-built tool is relatively basic, and third tools are still being developed, it’s important to build in ways to measure the success of your campaign.

  1. Know your audience

When planning your campaign, have your audience front of mind at all times. What interests/motivates/challenges them? Knowing your audience inside out will ensure you can design a campaign that appeals to their needs and interests, which is much more likely to generate meaningful engagement and impact. If you don’t have the budget for fancy focus groups, just ask around a few users of the platform – even these informal insights can be invaluable!

  1. Be creative

Don’t forget that this is a social platform so be creative. The last thing a brand should do is establish a presence and build up an audience to then bore your newfound audience into removing you. This could actually do more harm to your brand than good so we refer again to point two; there is no substitute for knowing your audience.

  1. Repeat repeat repeat

So you have the metrics that demonstrate you staged a successful Snapchat campaign? Now use those learnings and repeat while you have an engaged audience. Don’t leave it too long until you deliver another element of the campaign as followers will easily go elsewhere for similar content unless you regularly engage.

  1. Trial and error

While we advise repeating what works best, don’t be afraid to try different tactics too. For example, you may have run a competition on Snapchat asking followers to send in snaps to win prizes, next time try and ask your followers to all be on Snapchat at the same time so that you can deliver exclusive content relating to a new product.

  1. Invite your audience to feel part of your brand

Gone are the days of announcing a new product or event in a newspaper or magazine – so feel free to try different ways of providing your audience with valued content that makes them feel part of your brand story.

By doing so, you will help bring your audience closer to your brand. Make each individual feel part of the journey. Remember they have proactively followed you on Snapchat so making your audience feel special and engaged is the key to success.

Snapchat offers such an exciting opportunity for brand communications, and we are genuinely excited by its potential.

For more Snapchat inspiration, check out this Pinterest page with great examples.

Have you seen any great Snapchat campaigns? Tweet us @brightercomms using the #snaphappy hashtag and the best one will receive a £10 Amazon gift voucher.