Snapchat for business: Getting started

New snapchat updateWhen you think of digital marketing for businesses, you probably don’t think automatically of Snapchat. Yet if you’re targeting a younger audience, Snapchat could prove a lucrative source of new business.

While it’s true that Snapchat doesn’t enjoy the same popularity as rival platform Instagram, its ‘self destructing’ content will still be accessed by 14.5 million people in the UK this year. As of 2018, nearly half (45%) of Snapchat users are between 18 and 24 years old, so if your business markets to this age group you should really consider whether Snapchat could be a valuable platform for you.

Here’s how to get started in using Snapchat for business…

1) Sign up for a Snapchat account

You can only register a Snapchat account from the mobile app. When you’ve downloaded it, follow the on-screen instructions to add your birthday, choose a username, enter your email address and add your phone contacts as friends. When signing up, you should use your own personal information, not information about your business.

Unlike other social platforms, Snapchat doesn’t allow extensive profile customisation, but you can add a username and a bitmoji.

2) Take a Snap

When you first open the app, the camera will be back-facing by default, but you can turn it around to take a selfie. There are also options to put the camera into night mode, to turn the flash on or off, search nearby snaps and go to your profile.

Just like taking a photo with most phone cameras, you press the circular button at the bottom. To take a video, just press and hold the button.

To customise your Snap before sending it, edit your image by adding text, emojis, links and filters. Then, choose which friends you want to receive your content and set a time-limit of 1-10 seconds before it self-combusts! If you’d like to keep what you create at your end, just add it to your memories.

3) Start conversations

Like all social media channels, Snapchat works best when the conversation is two-way. Make sure you view and reply to other users’ Snap stories. You can also make use of the app’s instant messaging (IM) feature: any time you reply to a Snap that another user has sent you, this will send them an IM, from which you can build out a more detailed conversation.

4) Snapchat stories

As the name suggests, stories are a great opportunity to add context to your Snaps. By using Snapchat stories, you can document what’s happening ‘under the hood’ of your business, which is a great way to engage your audience. You could also make use of Live Stories, where a group of users at the same event or location (e.g. an industry conference) can, in the words of the company, “contribute Snaps to the same community narrative”.

5) Advertising

Finally, Snapchat offers several options for paid advertising if you want to extend your reach beyond your organic audience. Some of these choices include:

  • Snap ads

These are short video ads with a call to action, e.g. a link to a product page.

  • Collection ads

If you have a series of products, creating a collection of ads gives users a seamless way to browse and buy your products.

  • Custom geofilters

A great option if you don’t want to share selfies yourself – let users take them instead, framing their poses with your branding before sharing with friends. These custom filters are only available to Snapchat users in a defined location and timeframe that’s specified by you. This is a simple, and often cost-effective, way of introducing your brand to a younger audience.

  • AR lenses

More interactive than geofilters, AR lenses place the user inside your ad for a fully immersive experience.

One final word of warning before you get going… Some businesses have tried and failed with Snapchat. Success on this platform often comes down to attitude, authenticity, and a willingness to play and have fun with your audience. It’s NOT a typical marketing tool, and you certainly need to be careful about hitting the younger generations with nothing more than a stream of adverts.

Hopefully you now have a good steer on getting started with Snapchat for business. Come along to our next Embrace the Space social media workshop for more useful tips and tricks!

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