What is Snapchat and should you use it for business?

In order to explain why Snapchat appeals to the younger generation – we asked a young digital native, and web expert Jamie Bell to give us the lowdown on what Snapchat is, and why it’s beginning to deliver a positive return for some businesses who understand how to use snapchat to talk to a younger demographic.

Snapchat for business

So what exactly is Snapchat?

You have probably heard of the hugely popular mobile app called Snapchat. It’s an enjoyable way to conveniently send photos and videos to individuals or a group of contacts. The content you send is only available for a few seconds, after that it’s deleted and can never be viewed again. It is most commonly used by millennials who take up over 60% of Snapchat use in the USA. The ages of 13 to 17  year olds take up half of the remaining 40%.

Launched in 2011, the app was originally called Picaboo. Picaboo was renamed Snapchat and quickly gained popularity. By April 2012, Snapchat had 100,000 users. The app is also known for enabling users to add filters, text and draw on their photos and videos. The popularity increased with the introduction of Snapchat stories, the Discover Channel and of course, Snapchat Filters!

The app is insanely popular in 2016, but how can SME’s get involved with Snapchat and take advantage of the popular app?

Benefits for SME Organisations

Gain access to Snapchats 100 million daily users
In 2016, Snapchat has on average 100 million daily users, who spend 25-30 minutes each day on the app. This is a huge number which at the moment has not been taken advantage of by SMEs.

Gain a following
Like every other Social Media platform, having a following of fans is extremely rewarding for businesses. Not only does the number of your company’s unpaid promoters increase, so does your businesses connections and opportunities.

Raise Awareness about a new product or event
It’s easy to raise awareness about a new product or event with Snapchat. You can use Snapchat stories to show off a new product. Examples include giving exclusive previews and demos of your product in action which helps build excitement and awareness. You can easily cut down whole events into short stories for others to watch and enjoy.

Make use of geo-filters for promoting events
Snapchat allows organisations to create on-demand Geofilters. Geofilters are filters in Snapchat only available in a specific location. Businesses are able to purchase an area for a time frame which enables them to sponsor their business or event. A good example would be a filter for a business launch or a football team filter within their stadium. If you have an event planned or simply want to promote your businesses in a unique way which appeals to millennials, then Geofilters are ideal.  The example below is how NSDesign used a Geofilter for their recent “Embrace the Space” social media masterclass, allowing everyone attending the event to choose this custom Snapchat filter from within the training room!  For a short 1-day promotion, and covering a small location (just their office building), it only cost NSDesign £7 to set this up.

Snapchat on-demand geofilter

Increase revenue with promotions

The simplicity and speed of sending a snap to your audience allows businesses to effortlessly promote their products and services. Sending Snapchat exclusive promo codes to your audience is a great way to make your followers feel special. It also motivates them to tell their friends to follow you!

Flash sales
Snapchat stories create a sense of urgency between users as they are only available for 24 hours. This makes it the ideal platform to promote a flash sale, which will drive users to your store. The quick expiry of stories makes Snapchats users come back for more daily so they don’t miss out.

Give users an insight into your business
Snapchat is the perfect platform for storytelling and showing raw in the moment content to users. This allows businesses to show a different side to its audience. Fans want to know more about your company, so showing behind the scenes footage of the business is a great way to engage your audience. Show your fun side and feature any fun events, funny moments and birthdays!

Work with Social Media Influencers to promote your business
Teaming up with Social Media Influencers is an effective way to show off to a larger audience. Do something funny that could go viral. If the influencer is related to your niche, then do something with them your audience would love to see.

Advertising with Snapchat

Cost of Snapchat ads

Snap Ads
Snap Ads are mobile video ads. Generally, these type of ads start at $1,000. Snapchat states that their mobile ads receive a 5x more open rate than the average Social Media Ad click through rate, impressive (but very expensive for most small businesses)!

Sponsored Geofilters
Geofilters are the cheapest type of advertisement that Snapchat offers. Geofilters lets you choose a specific area to add a custom filter onto users Snapchat, this is very effective for targeting locals and especially effective for promoting an event.

Snapchat Case Studies

Audi decided to stand out from every other advertiser during the Superbowl, the biggest day for advertising. They decided to team up with the Onion to create snaps to send to their audience, they named it “All the news that isn’t Football.” They featured hilarious snaps that had absolutely nothing related to the Superbowl in order to truly stand out.

Audi received over 100,000 snap views and had over 37 million impressions in total. Watch the video below for more.

Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner is a brand in her own right, the reality star has over 76 million followers on Snapchat. Kylie released her own makeup line and has been promoting her products on Snapchat. Her Snapchat marketing strategy has clearly worked, with Kylie seeing millions of dollars in sales from her makeup line.

Kylie Jenner’s Snapchat promotion of her lip kits is a perfect example of how effective the use of Snapchat can be for brands. Her audience loves to see behind the scene footage of her life as well as showcasing her products and promoting new ones soon to be released. Kylie does not make use of ingenious marketing campaigns or expensive ads to gain followers and engage with her audience. She features raw behind the scenes footage of her life and promotes her products with a quick snap or two, making it an ideal case study for brands to learn from when it comes to marketing on Snapchat.  Watch the video below for more.

Tips when using Snapchat for Business

Promote your Snapchat account, gain followers!
It’s a great advantage to have followers on Snapchat, an easy way to quickly gain followers who are already familiar with your company is to promote it to your audience on other channels.

Social Media makes it easy to cross promote your Social Media accounts.

  • Add your Snapchat account name on your Social Media biography’s. This makes it easy for your audience on one Social Media platform to see that you are also on others too.
  • Let your audience know that you are on Snapchat by posting about it!
  • Feature your snaps on different platforms so your audience can see what you are up to.

Get Feedback on new products using story replies
Snapchat released a feature called Story replies, this enables your audience to directly reply to a Snapchat story. As a business you could feature new products or ask questions and your audience will be able to reply and give you feedback. You can even follow up and have a conversation with your audience, making it a valuable resource to receive feedback and learn more about your audience.

Find out what other brands are doing
It’s easy to follow others on Snapchat. Follow some brands that you are interested in as well as any competitors. You’ll be able to see what these companies do on Snapchat and be able to take notes on how to better your own.

Never stop Snapchatting
Snapchat never stops, it’s a platform that demands attention and entices its users into constantly visiting the app due to the quick expiration of content. It’s wise to develop a plan to update your Snapchat story regularly.


Snapchat is an app that has the ability to get your business in front of millions of users, particularly millennials. Snapchat is still underused by SME’s, despite the benefits. Which makes it a great platform to make your company stand out and engage your audience in a different way from competitors. If you’d like help establishing a social media presence for your business, start by getting in touch with NSDesign’s social media experts today.


About the author:
Jamie Bell operates All-In-One Web Design, a Web Design company in Dumfries. He has worked with a range of companies providing Web Design and other Digital services. In his free time, Jamie enjoys working on his other business, Airsoft Deals

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