6 Marketing Strategies for Crushing it on Snapchat

There are 150 million people sharing pictures and creating stories on Snapchat each day.

And yet, only a small percentage of those Snapchat users are businesses. But that’s starting to change as brands come to realize the value of Snapchat and the opportunities that it offers them to connect with their customers and community.

While Snapchat is generally known for its self-destructing photos some of its other features and benefits include:

  • Storytelling through photos and videos
  • Direct messaging with voice and video chat
  • High organic engagement 
  • Personalized filters for marketing events
  • The ability to track content views

These features are what make Snapchat a powerful marketing tool for any business whose customer base includes kids and and teens. But even businesses with older audiences should start including Snapchat in their marketing campaigns, given that 50% of new Snapchat users are over the age of 24.

On Snapchat, businesses are able to let down their hair and show customers the personal side of their brand through content unique to this platform.

According to lifestyle entrepreneur Lewis Howes, “it’s higher engagement than any other social media platform that I’ve seen, which helps build true fans. I do weekly ‘TruthTalks’ where people see behind the scenes what works for my business and life.” 

General Electric is a great example of a company that’s making good use of Snapchat  to show the personality of their brand and the fun side of science. Follow them on Snapchat and they’ll send you some “science” in return.

General electric on Snapchat
Follow @generalelectric

During the Super Bowl, Gatorade introduced a fun interactive lens that ended up gaining more than 160 million impressions, which is more than the number of people who actually tuned into the game on TV.

(Image Credit: Adweek)

And because Snapchat is still relatively new, those businesses that are active on the platform really stand out due to the lack of competition.

So now is a great time for your business to start snapping and here are 6 strategies for creating your Snapchat marketing plan.

  1. Create interesting content that will engage your audience

    One of the best things about Snapchat is that you don’t need a lot of money or resources to create fantastic content.

    On Snapchat it’s all about authenticity, so just grab your phone and start taking pictures. No fancy lighting or professional graphics are needed.

    But, as always, your content still has to be interesting if you want people to keep coming back for more.

    Here are a few ideas of the kind of content you can create for Snapchat:

    1. Tutorials: Create quick tutorials showing how your product or service works.
    2. Pull back the curtain: Let your customers get to know you and your businesses better by taking them behind the scenes.

      Give a tour of your office and take fun pictures of your employees enjoying some downtime.

      Cisco on Snapchat
      Cisco frequently posts fun pictures of their employees to showcase their company culture and encourage potential job candidates to join their company.

      If you’re a one-person operation you can also share pictures from your personal life to let people really get to know you, which is what Instagram pro Sue Zimmerman does.

      Sue chats with her Snapchat followers as she walks her dog, preps for dinner and hangs out with her family. She often offers Instagram tips during these videos, but sometimes we just get a few snaps from her personal life that lets us feel like we’re being invited to get to know her better.

      Zue Simmerman on Snapchat
      Follow Suzie at @suebzimmerman
    3.  Tell interesting stories related to your industry: 

      The best way to grab people’s attention is with a good story that will appeal to their emotions. It can be funny or sentimental, but it should make your customers want to keep coming back to see what other stories you have to tell

      DocuSign’s electronic signature service might not seem like the most engaging product for a site like Snapchat, but their cute series of videos about a newly engaged couple (played by two male dolls) debating on how to send out their wedding invitations, was fun to watch.

  2. Think of creative ways to present your content

    In order to stand out you have to do more than snap a few selfies of yourself throwing up rainbows or wearing a flower garland (yup, you can do that too).
    Here are a few ways you can jazz up your photos and use Snapchat’s features to tell stories about your product or brand:

    1. Get creative with Snapchat features and lensesTo promote their new eyeliner, L’Oréal Paris ran a sponsored Snapchat lens that added eyeliner and makeup to a person’s photo. Apply the lens and…voila! You’ve now got cat-eyes, pink cheeks and delicately glossed lips.

      L'Oréal on Snapchat

      There are a lot of fun things you can do with Snapchat’s built in features, like add cute stickers to chats, apply filters to your pictures or distort your selfies to make yourself look like a dog.

      Yes, most of these sound kind of silly but companies have come up with some creative ways to use these features to promote new products or get people talking about their brand.

      Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon also made use of a sponsored lens to promote the new Ninja Turtle movie.

      Take a photo and open your mouth and a slice of pizza will fly toward the screen, while the name of a Ninja Turtle floats above your head.

      via YouTube
    2. Invite other people to join you 

      Add some fresh faces to your photos and videos by inviting other people to participate, or even take over your account for a day.
      Influencers and local celebrities can be a great addition to your Snapchat marketing campaign.

      In order to appeal to millennials, one of Snapchat’s largest user base, Marriott hotels invited four Snapchat influencers to participate in a marketing campaign. Users helped decide what cities the influencers should visit and then watched on Snapchat as the influencers explored each of these locations.

      The content created in this campaign was also shared by the influencers on their own social media channel, which exposed it to new audiences. 

  3.  Include calls to action

    You’ve created fantastic content that your followers love but is your business benefitting from the attention?
    Encourage your followers to share your content and visit your website by including calls to action in your photos and videos.
    Here are a few ways that you can do that:

    1.  Screenshot and share: Ask your followers to take screenshots of your photos and to share them on their Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and other social networks.The World Wildlife Fund used Snapchat to raise awareness of endangered species with younger demographic. They created the #LastSelfie campaign which compared the short-life span of snaps to the disappearance of the animals. As part of the campaign, followers were asked to take screenshots of the snaps and share them on other social networks.

      last selfie campaign

      Many brands also run contests that require followers to take a screenshot in order to enter, or as a part of the application process.

    2. Lead followers to your website: Create snaps that reward Snapchat followers who visit your website.You can do this by offering coupons that will encourage users to visit your online store or to publish unique content that only Snapchat followers can access.The Bubbly Paws dog-grooming chain in Minneapolis has had great success engaging customers through Snapchat. They’ve run several contests and games and have seen an immediate jump in business after offering a $5 coupon on Snapchat.


    3. Promote your events with geofiltersSnapchat offers a few different filters for your pictures, including a few  shades that change the lightening, one that shows the temperature and another that displays the current time. There is also a filter that will include a little graphic with the name of your current city, and these are called geofilters.

      The beauty of geofilters is that anyone can purchase and design their own, which will be enabled in a specific address or location. So people who are located in the designated area will be able to take picture of themselves with this geofilter design displayed on the bottom.

      These geofilteres are a great way for businesses to promote events that they are running and to get participants involved in sharing the event with their friends.

      Below is a pictures taken at the Mermaid Parade in Coney Island, which includes a local geofilter. Parade attendees can add this filter to their photos to have these graphics automatically added to this picture.

      Mermaid parade

      The filters are also very affordable, especially compared to other social media advertising options, and are a great way to promote an event and encourage all attendees to share pictures of themselves at your event.

  4.  Build a following

    Building a following on Snapchat is a little trickier than on other social media platforms since people can’t use hashtags or the search function to find you or your content.

    This may require you to get a bit creative in promoting your Snapchat account and getting your videos and pictures exposed to new audiences.

    These are a few different strategies that you can use to promote your Snapchat account:

    1. Exchange accounts with another business and get in front of their audience.
      This is a similar idea to guest blogging. Find another Snapchat user with a similar target audience as yours and switch accounts for the day. If their followers enjoy your content then they may decide to begin following you as well.
    2. Share your snaps on your other social accounts with a link to your Snapchat Profile.
      Let your Twitter and Facebook followers know about your Snapchat account by sharing your snaps on those platforms.
    3. Host contests: Contest are a great way to encourage people to follow your account and share your snaps. Create images with instructions for how people can enter your contest. Many contests require users to screenshot snaps and share them with other people in order to help spread the word about the contest.You can use an app like Gleam to run your contest and collect entries from users.
    4. Promote your Snapchat account in your email signature and business cards.

      Because your customers are unlikely to discover your Snapchat account on their own you have to make sure to promote it any chance that you get. Two places that you should always include your Snapchat username are on your business cards and in your email signature.

      Email signature: 

      If you are using WiseStamp then you can easily add the Snapchat social icon to the bottom of your signature. When someone clicks on it they will be led to your Snapchat page, where they can find your username and ghost icon.

      Snapchat on WiseStampBusiness Cards:

      On your business cards you can include your username as well as your Snapcode design, which works like a QR code. When someone snaps a picture of your Snapcode with Snapchat they will immediately be added as your friend.

      Read this article for more information about using Snapcodes in printed marketing material.


  5. Interact with your followers

    “People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”
    – Seth Godin

    Snapchat is all about telling stories and building relationships. What this means for your businesses is that Snapchat is a place to connect with your customers on a personal level.

    You want to encourage interactions with your followers and respond to them when they reach out to you.

    How can you encourage these interactions? Here are few tips:

    1. Ask people to reply to your snap and reward them for doing so: You want your followers to do more than just look at your snaps and videos. You want them to respond, because that’s the first step in a relationship.
    2. Reply to snaps that you receive: If someone sends you a snap respond with a comment or an emoji.
    3. Comment on other people’s snaps: Spend some time looking at your follower’s snaps and commenting on them.
  6. Track your results

    Tracking your results is one of the most important steps in your marketing campaign. This is how you can tell if all of your hard work is paying off.

    Unfortunately, unlike with Facebook and Twitter, you can’t determine your success through the number of your followers or by how many likes you’ve received, since Snapchat doesn’t offer these measurement tools. Snapchat also doesn’t offer a native analytic tool, so the amount of data that you can track is somewhat limited.

    These are the results that you can track:

    1. Total view on a story: When you open up a snap there will be a number on the bottom left-hand side of the image that displays how many views the snap received. If the snap is the first image or video in a story, you will know how many people started watching this story.
    2. Completion of your story: By seeing how many views the last snap in your story received you’ll have an idea of how many people watched the story the whole way through.
    3. Screenshots: You can also determine how many screenshots have been taken of each snap by looking at the second number on the bottom left-hand side of your snap.
    4. Snap open rate: Snapchat allows you to see how many people opened the individual snaps that you’ve sent. So if you divide the number of snaps opened by the number of snaps that you sent out you’ll have a snap open rate that you can compare over time.

    By calculating how many views and screenshots your snaps and stories are receiving you can evaluate how your content is being received by your followers.

    To learn more about marketing on Snapchat take a look at these articles:


    Is your business active on Snapchat? What are your favorite marketing strategies?
    Tell us about them in the comments!