Zehnder Communications, Inc.

Snapchat: Self-Destructing Photos that Can Build Your Brand

When Instagram launched in 2010, it was mostly used to share cat photos. Not too shortly after, brands like Starbucks and Nike came on board – because where the audience goes, the brands go.

At the time, marketers had to explain the what, how, and why of Instagram when it came to advertising. And today, it’s basically a no-brainer component of many businesses’ social media strategy.

poofFour years later, we’re all wondering about Snapchat, a photo-sharing (and somewhat self-destructing) app. Snapchat is like other social media platforms in that it allows friends to share content with each other; but it’s unlike other platforms in that each piece of content (a “Snap”) permanently disappears after 1-10 seconds.

And sure, Snapchat’s first users rely on the platform to share cat photos with their friends – but there’s a marketing opportunity that savvy businesses are capitalizing on in this app’s early days.

What Companies Are Using Snapchat?

Some of Snapchat’s earliest adopters include Taco Bell, MTV, American Eagle Outfitters, and GrubHub. This lineup – fast food, music, juniors’ clothing, and food delivery – isn’t that surprising, given that 70% of Snapchat’s user base is between the ages of 13 and 25 and that 77% of college students use Snapchat daily. Snapchat’s typical audience is right up these brands’ alleys.

Will Snapchat’s audience stay this young forever, though? Given this social media platform’s booming growth rate, we’d bet that (similar to Facebook and Twitter) its user base will age and diversify as it becomes more popular – meaning that it might be best to get in, get ahead, and start building an audience now.

How Are Companies Using Snapchat?

Snapchat’s time-sensitive nature makes it the perfect platform for content that focuses on creating a sense of urgency – such as a flash sale or limited-time discount.

On a psychological level, Snapchat users may feel like “insiders” receiving a Snap – because in less than 24 hours, they’ll be one of the few people to ever witness the Snap’s history. The content’s rarity makes it more valuable to its audience, who might recall it with a “you-had-to-be-there” feeling.

Snapchat’s Stories function makes the platform more accessible to different types of advertising, too. Through Stories (which last 24 hours), brands can display a series of images and short videos together to create a collective narrative. Stories have been popular with brands like the New Orleans Saints, who rely on Stories to give behind-the-scenes event coverage and sneak-peek information.

Stories are a great platform for special events and behind-the-scenes collections, but they don’t have to be used solely for that purpose. Mashable, for instance, publishes a weekly Story that highlights top content published on that week – using Snapchat as a “teaser” platform to ultimately push people to the company’s website.

Is Snapchat a Useful Advertising Tool for My Company?

Snapchat Before jumping into (or running away from) Snapchat, consider the following:

  • The demographics of your audience
  • Whether or not you can offer flash sales and discounts
  • Whether or not you have appealing, entertaining content to offer
  • Whether or not your other digital platforms (e.g., website and Facebook) are in good shape
  • Whether or not you have adequate resources to manage your Snapchat account

If the answer to number 1 is “mostly young,” and/or the answer to number 2 is “yes,” then you’ve got definite Snapchat potential. As for numbers 3,4, and 5, that’s where we can help. Zehnder offers a suite of digital advertising services, including social media community management, content development, research and reporting, and more. Get in touch and let us help you get ahead of others by joining Snapchat.

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