We are recent converts to the value of Snapchat for brands. Far from being a fad for teenagers and celebrities, the platform has a lot to offer businesses that are prepared to be creative and a little bit brave, particularly when combined with other social media channels.

One of the simplest ways for a company to take advantage of Snapchat’s unique capabilities is through the use of geofilters, which are only available in certain locations. Log on to Snapchat in London, or any other major global city, for example and you will be able to select from a number of locally themed filters that can be added to photos and videos to show that the user is in that area.

The great news for businesses is that it is easy and fairly cost-effective to create bespoke geofilters that can be linked to locations such as offices or events. This allows your stakeholders to engage with your brand in a fun, light-hearted way that spreads brand awareness and displays your company culture. Here’s a quick guide to setting up your own Snapchat geofilters.

Create bespoke geofilters that can be linked to locations such as offices or events

How Geofilters Work

Once you have created your Snapchat account you will be able to create a geofilter via the desktop app. The first step in the process is to design your filter, which you can either do beforehand in the likes of Photoshop and Illustrator, or via the website.

There are a few simple guidelines to bear in mind when designing your geofilter. For instance, don’t use hashtags, usernames, email addresses, or phone numbers in your filters. Avoid contact information entirely. You also can’t include photographs of people in your filter’s design, or “add more than two lines of stylised text.” Filters should be fun and enjoyable rather than overly promotional.

Finally, cover as little of the screen as possible with your design. Users will attach your filters to their own photographs, so you don’t want to obscure their faces or other subjects. If you cover too much of the screen, Snapchat will likely reject the filter.

Filters should be fun and enjoyable rather than overly promotional

Once you’ve created your filter you will need to select the time frame over which it should be available. For instance, if you’re holding a corporate event, you might set the filter to go live half an hour before the start time, and to disappear half an hour after the event is scheduled to end. Snapchat charges based on the time you keep the filter live but the daily costs are relatively low.

Finally, you will be asked to select the location the filter should apply to, which you do by creating a virtual ‘fence’ around the specific area. You will then be shown the price for the filter you have requested.

When To Use Geofilters

Think carefully about whether it will add value to have a permanent geofilter for your office or other business locations. Unless you are a well-known destination brand there is an argument for reserving geofilters for special events when you have a specific goal, whether it’s to engage new prospects, attract new talent, or engage your existing audience. Additionally, think about maximum exposure. If you’re hosting an event that might draw only a few dozen people, wait until you have a larger audience.

You can use geofilters for myriad events and purposes. For instance, if you’re attending a trade show, put up a geofence around the venue so guests can use the filter to share their experiences at your booth. Follow that same strategy for a product launch, convention, seminar, business dinner, or award ceremony.

If you’re attending a trade show, put up a geofence around the venue

Some businesses have found success using Snapchat geofilters for charity events. These are opportunities to promote your brand and a charity at the same time, which means that every pound you spend pulls double duty. Put the cause front-and-centre, so participants feel good about sharing their snaps with the filter overlay.

While these filters might make the most sense for improving brand awareness and engaging more customers, they also have useful internal purposes. More and more businesses have begun engaging with their employees and prospective talent on social media, making connections and sharing stories.

For instance, you might use a custom geofilter for your next hiring event. Let potential candidates get a feel for your corporate culture and brand identity while spreading the word about your hiring needs. You could also use them for incentive travel; maybe you’re planning a team-building activity in the mountains or a corporate retreat in a tropical destination. Snapchat geofilters make these events feel more inclusive, which helps employees and superiors bond.

How To Make Geofilters More Effective

Snapchat geofilters help spread brand awareness. Not only do event attendees see and use the filters, but their friends also see them and associate your brand with the snap. This can be critical to any campaign’s success, so include your logo or other significant brand imagery in the filter. You don’t want it to take up the whole screen, but make it big enough to be identifiable.

Another way to elevate your filters is to incorporate your Snapchat campaign with platform influencers. An influencer enjoys a broad audience, which means more people will see snaps with your filter. If you can invite an influencer to your event and include him or her in a meaningful way, it might yield increased return-on-investment from the campaign.

If possible, ask influencers to promote the event in advance — assuming it’s open to the public. You can boost attendance numbers while increasing brand visibility at the same time.

Blog and social media posts can relate to your filters both aesthetically and contextually

Reaching More People Through Geofilters

A Snapchat geofilter only works when people use it. If your filter features unattractive or offensive imagery, for instance, it probably won’t pass the platform’s sniff test. Even if it does, attendees may not use the filter because they’ll feel turned off.

Make sure the filter relates to the event. For instance, if you’re holding your event at a restaurant or bar, use food- or beverage-related imagery to entice attendees and make your filter more relevant. However, include your own branding to complement the event-specific design, so users automatically recognise the filter as yours.

In terms of design, you can take several approaches. If you want a refined and professional Snapchat filter, don’t settle for a design that an intern whipped up over his or her lunch break. Instead, hire a professional who knows your market, understands your goals, and has worked with Snapchat geofilters in the past. Otherwise, you risk damaging your brand.

Snapchat geofilters offer an intriguing opportunity to take your content marketing efforts to the next level. Blog and social media posts, for instance, can relate to your filters both aesthetically and contextually. Use these platforms in tandem to enhance your brand and reach more potential customers.