The year of Snapchat is upon us. The social media platform is growing at an unbelievably rapid rate and doesn’t show signs of slowing down. In fact, the latest reports put Snapchat’s user base at a whopping 100 million. Compare that to Twitter’s 300 million and you’ll realize that Snapchat is not a social media platform your business can ignore any longer.
If your goal is to reach new customers and engage more with your current fans, then Snapchat needs to be a priority for your business. Here are five ways to take advantage:
1. Give away free stuff. Who doesn’t like free stuff? Think of ways you can keep your followers coming back for more. Use Snapchat to directly ask your audience to participate by sending in their entries, and then reply to them directly to create one-on-one interactions.
GrubHub launched a successful campaign with the Snapchat community using a variety of promotions, exclusive deals and contests. In fact, they were a pioneer in the Snapchat scavenger hunt game. During a five-day campaign, they asked their followers to post a daily snap, whether it was a food selfie or a food doodle.
The following morning, GrubHub posted a congratulatory message for the previous day’s winners and their winning snaps, followed by that day’s scavenger hunt challenge. GrubHub saw 30 percent of its Snapchat followers participate in the contest and got a 20-percent increase in Snapchat followers as a result.
2. Take the audience behind the curtain. With Snapchat, you can provide behind-the-scenes content to your community, which helps create and engage a strong following. The audience should think of you as their friend, someone who shares important details with them.
The audience is more likely to engage with behind-the-scenes content because it isn’t as planned or polished in advance. Instead, it shows your slice of life with snaps that show who you truly are. Behind-the-scenes content could be product teasers, an office tour, or an images of your staff having fun at birthday party.
Behind-the-scenes footage of the Miss Universe pageant is a great example, capturing everything from the contestants backstage to the big “oh no” moment when they mistakenly crowned the wrong winner.
3. Create one-to-one engagement. Snapchat enables users to send videos, photos and texts to individual followers. This powerful method of one-to-one marketing will allow businesses to build strong, personal relationships with their customers. By using the one-to-one feature, business’ can turn followers into loyal customers by building a strong connection through individually targeted content.
Perhaps send your new followers a personal video thanking them for following you. You’ll be surprised how far this simple act will go. Also, encourage your followers to interact with you and try to respond to every question you get, whether by text or video. Show your followers you appreciate their attention by trying to get to know them.
You can leverage the fact that Snapchat is a very interactive platform. You can easily start a Q&A session to engage with your followers, and be cheeky while you’re at it. The disappearing nature of the content encourages quick replies and provides you with a unique way to interact with a young fan base.
4. Partner with influencers. Brands have been known to collaborate with influential personalities to expand the reach of their product or service. These personalities include YouTube celebrities, Vine megastars, Twitter powerhouses, and so on. Discover users in your industry with big followings and partner with them to produce great content and to promote your product to your targeted demographic.
Just like with Instagram and other social channels, social media influencers on Snapchat can help spread brand awareness and reach. By partnering with influencers, you can spread awareness to a demographic that’s hard to reach through traditional media. Logan Paul, a Vine star, did a five-day Snapchat campaign with Sour Patch Kids. Check it out:
5. Prove you’re a “cool” company. If you hadn’t heard of Snapchat before Facebook’s stunning $3 billion offer, you’re not alone. That’s part of what adds to its allure. The number of users are growing exponentially every day, month and year — but it’s still new enough to make businesses who use it “in the know.”
The Snapchat frontier is still wide open for adaptive marketers who are ready to start exploring. Those who hit the ground running will have the biggest impact, plus the chance to define the ways marketers will use an emerging genre. Take time to explore the app with your team, and have fun generating content for your audience through a different perspective.
Are you considering Snapchat to market your business? Think it’s just another fad? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Khalif Chestnut is a 22-year-old, self-taught entrepreneur who was born and raised in Philadelphia. His background in web development and marketing led to him forming a marketing agency called Addacity where he serves as co-Founder and CEO. Follow him on Twitter and of course Snapchat:khalifchestnut.
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