“Within a few months of launching, the company has made an enormous and lasting impact on the culture of communication and the Internet- and we should all be grateful.” -Tarun Wadhwa, Forbes contributor
Snapchat is a photo and video sharing app for iPhone and Android created by four Stanford students in 2011. But it is not just any ordinary photo and video sharing app; it allows a user to add text or drawings to pictures and send to a controlled list of recipients for a set time limit of up to 10 seconds when it then “disappears” and cannot be seen again. Snapchat currently ranks #9 in the App Store and has recently reached 150 million sent photos per day. So far the Snapchat community has shared over a billion “snaps” and is continuing to gain new users at a rapid pace.
Savvy businesses have started to implement Snapchat into their marketing efforts, such as Taco Bell, who announced via Twitter they were now on Snapchat and to follow them for a secret announcement. Those who followed their Snapchat account were sent a snap picture of the Beefy Crunch Burrito and the date it would be reintroduced. Taco Bell’s Director of Social and Digital stated, “Sharing that story on Snapchat is a fun way to connect with the fans that we are thrilled to have. It’s all about treating them like personal friends and not consumers.”
16 Handles, a New York-based ice cream chain, has also turned to Snapchat for creative marketing. Customers who sent a picture to the company’s Snapchat account of themselves trying any of their ice cream flavors were sent back a snap of a coupon. The coupons, which ranged from 16% off to 100% off, had to be opened at the register at the time of their next purchase and would vanish after 10 seconds.
So what are other ways businesses can use Snapchat for marketing purposes? Here are a few ideas:
1. Contests – Contests allow brands to reach out to specific customers and quickly receive feedback. To receive a prize or discount, users would need to gather clues or tips from snaps that are sent out.
2. Discounts – Discounts can be provided depending on customers buying habits. Just as customers often provide an e-mail address when making a purchase, they could also provide a Snapchat account. Discounts can then be provided via Snapchat to those customers who make frequent purchases. This will make them feel part of a group and help to build a stronger relationship as well as a stronger brand connection.
3. Send insider marketing – Information on new products or sneak peeks of new products can be sent exclusively to loyal customers to create buzz and excitement.
4. Brand gamification – Gamification is pairing gaming and gratification in order to engage users and create interest in return. Businesses can create a scavenger hunt using snaps as clues to receive a prize. Gamification can also be used before a special day or event and can lead users to a business’s website or other social site.
Although Snapchat is still relatively new to businesses, there are several marketing approaches that can be taken to help increase brand awareness and build stronger relationships with customers.