Snapchat Marketing 101

Marketers haven’t jumped on Snapchat like other social media. Snapchat users send pictures, videos, and messages that quickly expire, usually in a matter of seconds. They can also create and follow public accounts, whose posts stay active for 24 hours in feeds called “Stories.” But impermanence makes advertisers leery — why work on something that’s going to be completely unavailable in a few hours, if not sooner?

Writing for Quartz, social media expert Ian Kar highlights the benefits of Snapchat: the focus on content creation, a company dedicated to security, and a general air of authenticity. This makes Snapchat an ideal marketing platform for companies that value real relationships with their customers. “The result is content that seems more genuine than what you can find anywhere else,” Kar writes. “And if your content fails to meet even that bar, Snapchat’s designed so that your shame isn’t permanent.” What’s not to like about that?

Snapchat can be a great way to cover a live event or product launch, or to give away temporary discounts and promo codes. If you’ve ever wanted to simulate the nail-biting, breath-holding suspense of a live unveiling event, Snapchat is the platform for you. But don’t think that you need a perfectly curated Snapchat account; quantity and authenticity are going to be more important than getting it perfect right out of the gate. Don’t be afraid to experiment. It shows that your brand is “real” enough for the platform, and, as mentioned, it all disappears in 24 hours anyway.

Because Snapchat can be used privately, you can also offer private deals or discounts. Additionally, you can reach out to individual customers and build one-on-one relationships. You can also just goof around — or have an influencer goof around for you, letting them hijack your account for a few hours to have some fun. This approach has proved effective for brands like Adidas and Audi.

Snapchat requires commitment. Since content disappears so quickly, it’s important to update Snapchat more often than other social media. The flip side is that you’ll see quick results from your marketing, and the standards of quality are considerably lower, because nobody expects you to churn out perfect content six times a day. Keep it real, and watch Snapchat work for you.