Why Snapchat Might Be Your Next B2B Marketing Tool

When thinking of Snapchat, you might envision groups of teens exchanging selfies and videos. Not really a space where serious B2B marketers spend their time. But while this app was becoming wildly popular with tweens and teens, something else was happening, too. It was transforming from a quiet dark horse into a serious contender in social media.

Snapchat has grown to over 150 million daily active users. That’s more than Twitter. But, more important, these users are no longer your neighborhood kids; half are 25 or older. They are now your prospects and customers.

B2C companies were early entrants into using Snapchat, including brands such as Amazon, Coca-Cola and General Electric. Yet B2B marketers have been slower to adopt Snapchat into their marketing efforts. Rapid growth in this social media channel, combined with the demographic shift, however, make it difficult to ignore. But what is Snapchat and how are brands successfully deploying it in their marketing strategy?

What Is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a mobile-only messaging application that people use to share all different types of media, including photos, video, text and even drawings. This sharing platform became very popular within a short period of time, especially with young people. But if you haven’t used this app before, you might be wondering – how does it work?

Each user gets a QR code (not your mother’s boring old QR code; this one is basically a picture that can be animated as a gif). For B2B marketing purposes, you might want to use a logo or relevant company image. Here’s an example of what one B2B company used:

B2B stalwarts, like IMB in this screenshot, are testing whether Snapchat will be the next big B2B marketing tool.

Through Snapchat, you can snap quick videos or photos to share in your feed, which is called “Your Story.” These items are only available for 24 hours, which creates a sense of urgency to check back often.

(And this now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t nature accounts for the Snapchat logo, “Ghostface Chillah” [based on Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan]).

But how are brands using this platform to drive engagement and results?

IBM – Showing Behind-the-Scenes Footage

Companies are using Snapchat to connect and engage with viewers by offering behind-the-scenes footage. For example, B2B stalwart IBM offers a behind-the-scenes look into their technology, showing how they collect tennis match data, analyze it, and distribute scores and statistics.

Snapchat is built to be a fun platform for sharing. So make sure that the footage you share is interesting and entertaining for your target audience to drive optimal interest and engagement.

CISCO – Enlisting Employee Involvement

Understanding the power of Snapchat, CISCO decided to get employees on board and share an inside glimpse into the company. They recently published the blog post, “Oh snap! Cisco employees take over Snapchat.”

Examples of events they share through Snapchat include the annual employee Crawfish Boil in Texas, an up-close tour of an office location and other behind-the-scenes footage.

CISCO uses snapchat as a way to give employees an inside glimpse into the company

Enlist the help of employees to engage on Snapchat and harness ideas for various types of content to share.

Everlane – a Clothier Providing “Radical Transparency”

Everlane is an online clothing retailer with a unique hook: the company’s radical transparency is a promise to disclose the true costs of an item, and then show you their markup. They were an early adopter of Snapchat. They use the social channel to maximize other aspects of transparency between the retailer and the customer, publishing raw, live footage to better connect with their audience.

Visiting the company’s Snapchat is almost like getting a backstage pass into their e-commerce business. From current events to company culture, they leverage this platform to create a narrative around their brand and tell their story. Content ranges from short video clips of tours around their spaces to customer interviews at the retailer’s brick-and-mortar locations.

Everlane was an early adopter of Snapchat

They also take a personal approach to responding to “snaps” (which are like messages) from customers. A customized response is created for each message to drive higher levels of engagement. In fact, it’s not uncommon for customers to reach out and seek advice on a potential outfit.

The company is continuously trying to find little pieces of what’s going on at headquarters and share these stories through Snapchat.

General Electric – Spreading Knowledge

General Electric is known for its involvement in social media and is active on a plethora of channels – from Twitter and Facebook to Instagram. But a couple of years ago, they also took the plunge into Snapchat, sharing snackable pieces of knowledge through the platform.

They share short video clips that teach interesting knowledge and facts, such as the snap below.

General Electric uses Snapch to share short video clips that teach interesting knowledge and facts.

Like other companies, they also share company event details. For example, in the snap below they are inviting viewers to check out snaps from the event they are attending in Las Vegas.

Snapchat can also be used to notify and invite participants to an event.

Overall, their strategy is to get the audience engaged and connected to build stronger relationships and keep top-of-mind.

Snapchat: 5 Tips for Success

Are you thinking about using Snapchat in your B2B marketing efforts? If so, you’ll need a few tips for getting started. Here’s a few to inspire your efforts.

1. Test all features available through Snapchat.

Snapchat is designed to be fun, so don’t rule out any features until you test them. For example, you can use emoji, filters (which allow for text and drawings) and short raw video clips. Test a variety of features to determine which ones resonate best with your target audience.

2. Cross-promote your snaps.

When viewing the examples above, you’ll notice that many brands are cross-promoting their snaps through other social media channels. For example, you can promote a snap through your Twitter account. This lets your audience know that you’re on Snapchat and secures greater exposure for your snaps. For example, check out Coca-Cola’s cross-promotion below.

Snapchat is also a great method for cross-promotion as seen in this Coca Cola example.

3. Consider the “Snapchat takeover.”

You’ve likely heard of influencer marketing, but marketers are applying these concepts to Snapchat as well through Snapchat takeovers. This involves partnering with an influencer (that you trust wholeheartedly) in your space and giving them access to your Snapchat account for the day.

The benefit of this marketing strategy is that it helps to grow your audience faster within a short period of time. Test it out in your marketing strategy and measure the results.

4. Showcase tradeshows and events.

You can play events chronologically through Snapchat, which allows the story to unfold as you attend an event. You can also show your location, so don’t be surprised if Snapchat followers track you down at an event!

5. Showcase product sneak peeks.

Snapchat is a great way to unveil details about an upcoming product launch. Create a story behind your launch and share details up until the launch date to build excitement.

Did I Mention … Snapchat Is Supposed to Be Fun?

Snapchat is the opposite of a stringent, uptight, corporate culture. It’s a great place to showcase your brand personality and create more engaging and authentic interactions with your customers. And it’s proving to be a low-cost and highly engaging platform that helps brands more effectively reach customers in new and engaging ways.

But, as with any platform, the key is consistent testing and gauging your audience’s response to the content.

Have you used Snapchat in your marketing efforts? If so, please share your results.

Title Image Credit: ArthurStock / Shutterstock.com