Overview of Snapchat
Snapchat Really Wants Your Business
If you were told that there was a social network for smartphones that lets you take photos and videos that disappeared 24 hours after they were viewed, you probably would think the idea was crazy. You might find it hard to imagine that “ephemeral social media” could be popular, particular for companies looking to market to consumers. A message disappearing without an archived version online seems too fleeting to make an impact.
Snapchat is one such social network and extremely popular. Since it’s inception, Snapchat has changed with businesses in mind. Snapchat is a social mobile app entirely based on your smartphone that lets you take or upload photos and videos – or “snaps” – and share them with others.
Connecting on Snapchat
You can connect with others through Snapchat in several ways:
- Through your smartphone contacts. This is handy if you are the spokesperson and will be producing the content for your Snapchat marketing. Otherwise, you do not have to connect your personal contacts with your Snapchat account.
- Through usernames. If you know someone else’s username, you can search and add them. You can survey your customers requesting they share their Snapchat username with you as a way to connect.
- Through customizable “Snapcodes.” The Snapchat app can generate a code similar to a QR code that can be used online, print such as flyers and brochures, and other formats that allow people to take a photo of it with their smartphone. Once they do, they can import it into their Snapchat app and locate your Snapchat profile to connect.
- Through the Add Nearby function. This feature can be useful at conferences or other events where your target market may be present and using Snapchat.
Having direct contacts is great on Snapchat, but you can also post publicly through Stories.
Share your photos and video publicly through the Snapchat Stories feature. Yes, they still disappear after 24 hours; however, there is also a feature that lets you download your Stories to your phone and then computer. You can then leverage those mashups of images and video elsewhere online such as YouTube, Facebook or Instagram.
Planning for your Snapchat Stories can be like storyboarding a television show, and while you can be more spontaneous about your snaps, you will have a better chance of staying on brand with key messages if you determine in advance what you’re going to post. Remember that you can use both photos and videos in your Stories, and mixing them up can make for a more engaging Story.
Snapchat users love photo filters that enhance or even alter their images and video and include text and graphical overlays. Take advantage of filters as you are telling your stories, but don’t be gratuitous. Vary things up to keep your Story interesting.
Some major companies including movie studios are purchasing actual filters that are not triggered by location. These are said to run upwards of $250,000 dollars, out of the price range for most small businesses. Still, using these popular filters – including those of noncompeting companies – is a way to participate in the Snapchat community and share recognizable images.
A feature that is bringing in revenues for Snapchat and gives your company the chance to extend your brand is the Geofilter. Geofilters are custom filters that show up in specific geographical areas on specific days and times. You can now design and purchase a filter and specify where it will show up and when. Prices for Geofilter start under $10 and can go as high as $15,000 or more, depending on the square footage covered and duration of the filter.
When Snapchat users arrive at the location where your company has designed and purchased a filter, they will see it pop up as an option to decorate their image or video. The location of your Geofilter could be your retail or restaurant establishment or a conference you’re attending or even a public place, like a park – although if the location is public, a Geofilter with your logo may not be appropriate and not be approved by Snapchat. Be creative without being too commercial.
In general, your Geofilter can contain your logo or some other recognizable branding or appealing design. The emphasis should be on universal appeal, a design that people would love to put on their photos and videos. Once you purchase your Geofilter, you’ll be able to access analytics that tell you how many times people used your filter and how many people saw snaps with your filter.
Snapchat continues to look for new ways to turn their popular app into a lucrative business. The company recently debuted a wearable tech product called Spectacles, actual glasses you can wear and use to take snaps and upload directly to your Snapchat app. Cheaper and less stealthy than Google’s Glass, Spectacles could be the next thing in live broadcasting. Of course, it remains to be seen if they’ll catch on.