Snapchat for Businesses 2.0: An Update

One of my first blog posts at Breaking Even was written almost 2 years ago and dedicated to one of my favorite apps of all time, Snapchat. Although my excitement towards app has arguably waned, it’s made some significant changes in this time period, and people have had time to find ways to use it as a marketing tool. I mean, even The White House is on Snapchat now. As we’ve discovered with Constant Contact vs. Mailchimp, nothing is permanent when it comes to apps, marketing, and social media (basically, the internet). The almost two year mark seems like a good time for a Snapchat for Business update:

1. Discover. Since we last talked about Snapchat for businesses, Discover is probably one of the biggest changes. Comedy Central, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Buzzfeed, People, and National Geographic are a slice of the brands you’ll find in Discover. One of the theories behind Discover is that it’ll encourage younger generations interested in the news and current events by delivering it to them in this medium. For example, if you’re looking at WSJ’s story, if you swipe up, you can read the full article associated with the snap.

What the "Read the Whole Story" process looks like.

What the “Read the Whole Story” process looks like.

2. Tell a story. When I first wrote the Snapchat article, stories either weren’t an option or I hadn’t figured them out yet (sorry guys). Most businesses use stories as a way to share content with anyone who adds them on Snapchat. These can be a series of stills or videos that anyone who follows you can view. For instance, I follow the Whole30. Since they are a brand built around a specific diet/lifestyle, they share content that’s related to food, cooking, and motivation. The most recent story was a video message from founder Melissa to those who started a January 1st Whole30 to “hang in there” (anyone who’s done the Whole30 knows the first week is often the most difficult to get through). Using stories in this way allows you to connect with your followers in a unique way, and with this example, I’m sure the January Whole30-ers appreciated the boost.

3. Build your following. Whether you’re a business or individual, Snapchat now lets you generate your own personal snapcode (basically the same thing as a QR code). Some people use their logo in the little ghost silhouette (individuals often use their face).

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Unless you have an individual in your contact list, adding someone on Snapchat can be difficult. Without this or a snapcode, you have to know someone’s exact username in order to add them. If you misspell or have any sort of typo, you end up following the wrong person. It ends up being confusing and/or embarrassing. A lot of businesses have not only created Snapcodes, they share them on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, so people can easily find and follow them.

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I found the Whole30 Snapchat account after they shared their snapcode on Instagram.

4. Delegate. This article from Forbes brings up something businesses might find useful: relinquishing power of the business Snapchat over to employees. The pros: employees are at the “front lines” and can deliver real time content with greater ease than their managers (in theory). Cons: since it’s “real time,” you’re investing a lot of trust in other people. Giving this access to employees might mean a brief training on what to share/what not to share, but if done correctly can result in some popular snaps (think “behind the scenes” and product launch material).

5.  “Take risks, try new things, and put a human feel on it” – Christina Coy, marketing manager of Pie Five. It’s unlikely that your Snapchat content is going to be used in other marketing channels (unlike Facebook or Instagram, where you can use images and videos across channels and in future marketing efforts). So, if you’re going to use Snapchat, you might as well have fun trying out some new marketing tools. It’s a low risk way to see how people respond to new marketing ideas, for instance, 16 Handles noticed that consumers responded more to their snaps featuring cartoon characters eating their products, as opposed to messages about the benefits of froyo. In other words, it’s simplified A/B testing.

An example of marketing from Kit Kat (I didn't know there were different flavors until seeing this...)

An example of marketing from Kit Kat (I didn’t know there were different flavors until seeing this…)

6. For businesses interested in metrics, Snapchat doesn’t have the metrics one might find desirable. It’s based on private interactions, so you can’t forward or share someone else’s snap (that would entirely defeat the purpose). Discovery messages can be saved or sent to friends, but as mentioned before, these are big brands that bought into this. If you’re into marketing with more concrete metrics (i.e. not just how many people opened a snap story), this probably isn’t the best medium for you to experiment with.

In 2015, businesses have poured into the Snapchat marketing world. It’s still a unique way to foster relationships with consumers, although it lacks the ability to be far reaching (i.e. no ability to share or “re-snap”) and provide concrete metrics. Unlike Ello, this former-fringe network is earning it’s place among the larger social media networks, and I’ll probably have to write another update in two-ish years.

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.
Kassandra Strout
Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.