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Are You Snapping Yet?

Optimizing Snapchat for Your Business

We’ve written about Snapchat a few times on the Dowitcher blog but I realized, while perusing the archives, that we’ve never delved deep into how it can be used for businesses. That’s likely because, at first, it was really just an alternative social network for teens. Now, however, the social platform has evolved (as all good long-lasting social networks do).

Snapchat, for the uninitiated, is a free temporary photo and video messaging app that allows Snapchatters to add text, drawings, or filters to an image before sending it to people. Initially released in 2011, Snapchat was little more than a private messaging app that let people send content back and forth. However, it quickly became increasingly popular among millennials.


There are now over 100 million daily users, the majority of who are between 18 and 34. Five years after its release, Snapchat has grown into an effective way for brands to directly reach their users and connect with a huge audience of potential customers. Marketers, for large and small businesses alike, have jumped on the bandwagon and are utilizing the app to reach that younger demographic and promote their business.

Okay, you might be thinking, “That’s all well and fine but college kids aren’t exactly my target audience.” Or maybe, “My company isn’t as big as the NBA, Buzzfeed, or Vogue. Why should I try out this photo app thing?” Guess what? Snapchat has actually shown to be a great tool for small businesses.

Allow me to throw a few numbers at you

  • In the United Sates, there are approximately 26 million Snapchat users
  • 77% of college students use Snapchat every day
  • 58% of those college students say that they would likely purchase a brand’s product/service if they got a coupon through Snapchat
  • 45% of college students would open a Snapchat from a brand they didn’t know while 73% would open one from a brand they did know.

Snapchat also recently confirmed that 10 billion videos are being watched daily. 10 BILLION. That’s a force to be reckoned with.

There have been many upgrades and improvements to the original platform. You no longer can only view a snap once; there is the option to view it again before it is deleted. There are also nifty chat options for communicating via live text or video calling between contacts (alternative customer service medium, anyone?). Plus, now Snapchat Stories allow you to communicate a longer narrative through a chronological display of photos and/or video which remain available for a full 24 hours.

After the addition of Stories, there was a boom of activity. Brands from all types of industries, with a variety of target demographics, started recognizing the potential for marketing on this platform. Snapchat content is less curated and way more original and raw. This perceived authenticity makes if feel more human, more spontaneous, and more real which makes it more appealing to connect with and relate to wide audiences. It was connection that helped push Snapchat beyond the teens-only realm.

Here are a few quick Snapchat strategies to get you started:

Download and customize your Snapcode

A Snapcode is basically a follow button that you will need to use to build your audience. It’s an easy way to add friends. Now, Snapchat allows you to download and customize your Snapcode which means you have a vector image that you can use to attract visitors (by placing it in your business’s window or on your website, for example).

Highlight special events

Are you hosting or participating in a live event (like a concert, party, fundraiser?) Snap it! You can also now create a unique geofilter for people to use during your event. This is a great way of unifying the visual conversation that might be happening at and around the event in real-time.

snapchat geofilter
Geofilter used at Santa Barbara’s 2016 Earth Day Festival

Push incentives

Got a new product you’re getting ready to launch? How about a sneak preview?

Teasing new products is a great way for your audience to feel special and in-the-know. Use the app to share videos and photos of new products. Remember, snaps last a limited amount of time so a flash image is bound to create great buzz around the product.

Offer exclusive content to your followers

Provide coupons, promo codes, and share contests that only your Snapchat followers will be privy to.

Engage your community

Do this by showing them a side of your company they might not know about. People love the behind-the-scenes type of content. So have fun, add captions, experiment with Snapchat’s many filters, or create a geofilter. Utilize this opportunity to show off how you are different than the competition. Don’t forget to always be engaging! Ask questions and ask for responses (be they video, photos, or direct chatting.) Want to switch it up? Host an ‘influencer Snapchat takeover’ or give a valued employee control of the reins for a day.

Want to see what other brands are doing on Snapchat? A few fun ones that Hubspot recommends checking out are Sour Patch Kids, General Electric, Gatorade, Warby Parker, and the New York Times.

Snapchat is a great way to show your company’s personality and culture in a way that gets people excited or interested in what you might have to sell. It’s low-cost, highly personal, unpolished, and fun. So are you “snapping” yet?

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