Here’s an important stat: There are over 100 million daily active Snapchat users.
One-hundred million (that’s a really BIG number) of people making weird little doodles, creating snaps, chats, and stories to share with friends, customers, and the world.
With a growing number like this, it’s no wonder that many top corporate brands are working hard to monetize a piece of this Snapchat activity.
Big brand names like Amazon, General Electric, The New York Times, and Taco Bell are among the most popular accounts. Plus celebrity personalities ranging from Kylie Jenner to Arnold Schwarzenegger have harnessed an abundance of followers.
You might be thinking to yourself, “Self, you are not Justin Bieber or Marriott Hotels. Maybe there’s no place for you on Snapchat.”
A reasonable question might be: Is Snapchat a real source of income, brand awareness, and customer engagement for smaller brands or individuals?
Let’s take a closer look to find out how the average Jane and Joe business owner can use Snapchat.
1. Qualify your audience.
Be logical. Make sure that your target audience is on Snapchat before investing time in a social channel that can’t deliver. If you’re catering to the 55+ crowd, move along. Snapchat is a predominantly millennial platform with ages 18-24 being the highest user demographic in 2016.
2. Watch & learn.
One of these social media platforms is not like the others, and that’s Snapchat. Because it’s different from the Facebooks and the Twitters, the learning curve might be a little more steep, so get the app, set up an account, look around, and add your favorite brands and icons. Watch their stories; marvel at their artwork and creativity. Learn from the best.
Here’s a few top accounts you can add when getting started:
- Gary Vaynerchuk (garyvee)
Vaynerchuk, a down and dirty roll-up-your-sleeves business mogul is fond of recording even the most seemingly mundane moments of his day. His snaps present him as a real entrepreneur struggling through his workday like the rest of us. He offers inspiration through his tough love, no nonsense approach and authentically raw messaging.
- Mike Platco (mplatco)
Platco started out by creating what he dubs snapterpieces. By following his artistic bliss (often referencing Harry Potter, Star Wars, and The Hunger Games) he’s now a top influencer who’s partnered up with GrubHub, Disney, Marriott Hotels, T-Mobile, and more.
Want to follow more? Here’s a seriously comprehensive list of top user accounts.
3. Add nearby friends.
If you’re a brick and mortar store owner, a cool way to grab snapchat followers is to encourage them to open their Snapchat app and click on “Add Friends” followed by “Add Nearby.” As long as your business’ Snapchat app is open you’ll be automatically added to their feed. This means they can see whatever stories you post. (Hint: a Snapchat story is any blend of quick images and videos you put together with or without additional text/fonts/colors/drawings).
4. Encourage user-generated content.
Ask your users to snap themselves with your product or in a particular location (at the office, on vacation). This will depend upon what it is you’re selling, but the idea is that content begets content and the more of it you have out in the ether about your brand, the better.
For more on this idea, check out our article on influencer marketing for small business.
5. Show ‘em how the sausage is made.
Snapchat provides and cool and casual way to show your audience a behind-the-scenes look at what your company and team are up to. Some ideas to share may include company outings, happy customers, new products, conferences — really any goofy thing that humanizes you and your business.
6. Add a geofilter.
If you’re aiming to reach a target audience in a specific location, you can pay to add a geofilter that uses a pre-made image/text template to your messaging. This is useful if you’re working to get the word out about a new product launch, sale, or big event.
The HostGator team was recently in New York City for a marketing conference. We set up a geofilter in Times Square to run for two days from 8am to 8pm. It was used 131 times!
Is your business using Snapchat? Let us know in the comments!
Henry Green is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas who helps small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their online presence through marketing, social media, and website optimization.