Snapchat is one of those things that you either get or you don’t. When it first arrived, people were genuinely in quiet awe of it. Alongside that awe was plenty of confusion.
How was it supposed to be used? You created what were essentially fleeting moments of communication and then watched helplessly as they disappeared, never to be found again. This was truly instant messaging. As it grew it found a place in the lives of young people, but it has also begun to gain traction as a marketing tool.
Getting started on Snapchat as a brand is quite easy. It’s what you do with it afterwards that makes all the difference. Let’s take a look at the basics for your brand when it comes to getting started on the platform.
The basics of Snapchat
There is a big problem with Snapchat for brands that has to be addressed fully and carefully right from the start. Once you have got your brand up and running on the platform, you may feel a little lonely after a few minutes have passed. Chances are, even if you’re a well-established brand, no one will find you. And that could be a permanent situation.
This is because Snapchat isn’t like any other social network out there. It doesn’t suggest people for you to follow. It doesn’t even help you find anyone unless you know their Snapchat name. This means that if you search for people to follow on Snapchat, most of the time the result will be fruitless (things are gradually getting more user-friendly though).
This means you need to look more closely at how you use your other social media accounts. And this points to Snapchat’s ‘marketing engine’ if you will. You need to publicise your Snapchat account through your other social media accounts if you are going to get people to find you and start to follow you (and Facebook and Twitter are not too happy about Snapchat getting so much attention).
So your marketing push across your social media accounts has to be savvy, and able to push Snapchat if you want your brand to gain any traction with the little ghost.
This isn’t hard to do, but it is one of the first and biggest stumbling blocks to your brand getting anywhere. Too many brands are simply jumping on Snapchat and expecting people to find them. They simply won’t, and your brand needs to be aware of this from minute one.
And if you are going to feature your Snapchat name on any other social media network, make sure that you only feature it as the actual Snapchat name. People will not, and we repeat that because it bears repetition, will not find you unless you literally state your Snapchat name as it is. If it is ‘orangesandlemons’ on Snapchat, for example, you need to list it like that, not ‘oranges and lemons’.
Reward your followers
Your next step is to reward your followers. They need something in reply to ensure that they feel better for following. It’s basic social media marketing, but it isn’t being used a lot by brands on Snapchat right now. There are various ways to do this and they are definitely effective as long as you do it. The ‘doing it’ part is what brands need to keep on top of.
A simple coupon against the purchase of your latest product is a perfect example of how you can reward a follower instantly. A 10% discount goes a long way for many people, and the fact they have found you on Snapchat (as we know it can be a chore) is reason enough to reward loyalty.
Give them a chance to enter a contest
But don’t let it stop there. Give them a chance to enter a contest that has major prizes attached to it. This again isn’t hard to do and the more you reward that loyalty, the more likely people will start talking about you on Snapchat. Snapchat is such a closed and uniquely social community, a lot of the traction a brand can receive is still very much down to word of mouth. Hook your audience, keep them loyal, and watch as they share your story.
Then work on the visuals
Then work on the visuals. This is of vital importance. Once people are following you and you have that kind of traction, start uploading videos and images that are linked to your brand, and echo what you are doing on your other social networks. This is standard practice on other social networks, from Facebook to Twitter.
Delivering great visual content isn’t easy, but a brand should now be focused on ensuring that what it does on social is carefully created, and highly visual. Snapchat is no different, and while you don’t always have to create brand new visual content for it, it makes sense to add some originality.
Head to “My Story”
“My Story” is the feature that allows brands on Snapchat to really deliver a message that resonates with an audience. With My Story, you can send out content to a select number of people on your contacts list, or to your entire audience. It begs for a little care and attention, and if you’re a brand that wants to make a difference on the platform, it should be your main concern.
Snapchat is, in the end, for the people, and not for the brands. My Story is there for the average user, but brands are taking advantage of the ability it offers to literally tell a story. You get the option to add a story every time you add content to Snapchat, so take it, with one caveat.
As a brand you do have to be careful. The beauty of Snapchat has always been its instant nature, but this becomes a little less clear cut with stories. They last for 24 hours, and you can allow everyone in your list to see them, or just people you choose. So you can see the marketing potential here. Just be careful to upload stuff that is capable of being seen for 24 hours on the platform.
You can’t delete a story (as far as we know) and that is where you could really become unstuck if you are not careful.
How new terms and conditions could affect brands
Well, it’s quite positive actually. The new terms and conditions come off a rash of updates, so it is all about a new way of doing things on the platform.
When it comes to brands, they need to know that users are being told that, essentially, Snapchat is holding onto content rather than deleting it. Snapchat has said this in the March 29th 2016 release of the new terms. It states that brands (as with other users) have the right to claim ownership of content, but that they should be aware that Snapchat now has a license to use any content.
In straightforward and plain English, this means that Snapchat can use the content you produce with other users (not unlike what other social network do). That sounds great at first, but it does mean that your content is no longer in your ownership, and that’s kind of weird to get your head round at first.
What this means to you is down to your brand’s position. If you can handle another company ‘owning’ your content, go for it. Maybe it’s just another reason to make exceptional content that markets your brand to everyone.
Another change is actually not a change. For a while now, people, and brands have been worried that Snapchat simply holds onto content, for an indefinite period. Rather than deal with this, the company has simply left in the terms a ‘get out’. Again, brands may not be too worried, but it does bear looking at:
‘Keep in mind that, while our systems are designed to carry out our deletion practices automatically, we cannot promise that deletion will occur within a specific timeframe. And we may also retain certain information in backup for a limited period of time or as required by law.’
So, not the most earth-shattering changes, but for brands, it’s all about ownership. If you’re fine with it, and you see your latest branded video appearing in places you don’t expect it, you can’t complain.
Snapchat takes time to get right, and no one is under any illusions about that. But it is worth the effort. We suggest taking a focused, disciplined approach, getting to know the platform, and always taking time to create awesome content.
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