What social media platform has 188 million daily users, with 78% of these users aged 18-24?  You guessed it:  It’s Snapchat.  Founded in 2011 by a trio of students from Stanford, the mobile app Snapchat has grown into a multi-billion-dollar brand, as well as a household name.  Users send “snaps” (disappearing photos) directly to one another, and publish stories (collections of snaps viewable to all Snapchat friends) through the app. With over 500K snaps sent every minute, and 400 million stories posted every day, Snapchat is the perfect way to reach your Gen Z target audience.  If you’ve never used Snapchat before, don’t be intimidated!  With a little legwork, you can unlock a new marketing channel to engage with customers.

Promote Your Account

After you’ve created your Snapchat account, you’ll need followers to reach your audience.  An effective way to gain new followers is to leverage your other social media channels. Link to your Snapchat account in your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter bios.  Invite your email subscribers to follow you on Snapchat.  Promote your Snapchat account in your YouTube videos.  Plug your Snapchat account on your website.  Don’t be shy!  No one will know you have a presence on Snapchat unless you spread the word.  The more channels you use to promote your Snapchat account, the better your chances of gaining new followers will be.

Create Content

You must give your followers a reason to tune in to your story.  Create content tailored to your Snapchat audience. Give a peek at life behind-the-scenes at your company.  Make useful tutorials about subjects in your business area of expertise.  Share your opinion on a recent industry event. Repurpose content from other social networking channels (but make sure it’s tailoredto Snapchat—keep it light, casual, and funny).  Invite fans to send you pictures of ways they use your products, then send out featured snaps starring these fans.

Post Often…But Not Too Often!

Snapchat users have been known to follow a lot of accounts.  That means they see a whole lot of stories every day.  If you’re constantly flooding your account with new stories, your followers are more likely to skip over your stories altogether.  You’ll actually decrease engagement!  To keep your users’ attention and maximize engagement, update your story about three times a day, with 4 or 5 hours between updates.

Discounts and Promos

Slow day, or not sure what to post?  Send out discount codes just to your Snapchat fans.  A 10% off coupon will help you increase conversions and drive sales, and that’s why you created a Snapchat account for your business in the first place, right?  You can also use Snapchat to highlight special promotions for your business, such as free samples (just pay shipping!), contests/sweepstakes, and limited-time offers.

Invite Participation

Like all social media platforms, Snapchat is not a one-way street.  Don’t just shout out at your audience—stay social!  Follow back.  Reply to snaps when you can, and when appropriate.  Encourage engagement by asking your followers to reply to your snaps, either on Snapchat or one of your other channels.

Account Takeovers

Snapchat has a unique feature where users can take over one another’s accounts for a pre-determined length of time.  This allows you to expose your Snapchat account to a wider audience than that of your current following, thereby increasing brand exposure and building brand awareness. Having an influencer take over your account gives you instant access to that influencer’s followers, which can potentially be in the millions.  Be prepared to pay for this, however.  You can also take over the account of another user with a mutual interest in what you’re promoting, and you’ll both gain exposure.  To convince this new audience to follow you, though, you’ll have to make it worth their while, so be sure to offer engaging content during the takeover.

Using Snapchat for your business is an absolutely viable way to increase sales, build brand awareness, and strengthen engagement.  If you don’t have Snapchat for your business, create an account ASAP, then use these tips above to get started.  Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to keep Snapchat as a valuable component of your marketing strategy.

Are you still unsure? Reach out to us. We know what it takes to build and keep engagement.