Snapchat is so much more than a simple picture-sharing app for mobile-obsessed teens. It also provides an excellent platform for brands to reach a younger audience and foster a close-knit community. And, with more than 616 million users, there’s plenty of opportunity for that.
While the public-facing social proof you get from having tens of thousands of likes on a Facebook page or thousands of followers on Instagram can do a lot to contribute to your credibility and make your brand look more legit, Snapchat’s value comes in another way.
Instead of building a huge follower count, Snapchat lets you engage a smaller community of your biggest fans—people who are genuinely interested in what you’re doing.
This comprehensive guide will help you get started and develop a Snapchat marketing approach which will reach and engage your business’ target audience.
What is Snapchat?
Snapchat is a social media platform that allows users to send photos, videos, and text messages on a one-to-one basis or to a group of people. The differentiator is that content disappears within 10 seconds, making it the perfect place to share authentic snaps.
There are several features brands can use to their advantage, including Snapchat Stories (which don’t disappear after 10 seconds and can be replayed for up to 24 hours), Memories (that can be saved for future viewing), and Snapchat filters and stickers.
Why is Snapchat good for marketing?
Snapchat is good for marketing because its “walled garden” attracts only your most engaged followers, provokes their fear of missing out, and creates an authentic relationship like no other platform can.
There are plenty of other benefits that also make Snapchat marketing a no-brainer:
- Content on Snapchat expires, so you don’t have a traditional “feed” that displays your Snapchat history, which adds a sense of urgency to content consumption.
- Snapchat has creative editing options that let you not only add location-, speed- and time-based filters and face-recognizing “lenses” for videos, but also draw on your snaps, add emojis and text, and more.
- Custom geofilters let you brand user-generated content by allowing your fans to add a branded filter while they are at your physical store or some other venue. Submit your custom filter and, once approved, encourage your fans to use it.
- You can send snaps to specific followers or curate a Story of multiple photos/videos that your followers can view before it expires in 24 hours.
- You can communicate one-on-one via messenger with text or a live video chat that’s more intuitive and more intimate than Instagram Direct (and a great addition to your Snapchat marketing strategy).
- The inherent low threshold for quality keeps Snapchat authentic, putting more focus on sharing creative ideas and moments rather than trying to be Instagram-worthy every time.
Free Reading List: Social Media Marketing Tactics
Want to learn more about how social media can help drive sales? Download our free, curated list of high-impact articles.
Get our Social Media Marketing Tactics reading list delivered right to your inbox.
Almost there: please enter your email below to gain instant access.
Snapchat for Business: How to Start
- Download the Snapchat app.
- Click “Sign Up” to create a new account.
- Name your account (we recommend treating your business as if it were a person, so that any future employees or team members can access it).
- Select your business’s birthday (Snapchat users have to be over the age of 13, so use your business’s actual birthday if it’s older than 13, or another important date if it’s not).
- Choose your Snapchat username (you can’t change your username once you’ve created your account, so make sure you choose a name that’s aligned with your business).
- Choose a password (don’t use a personal password here, as you might have multiple team members logging in to the same account).
- Link your account (Snapchat requires users to link their account to a mobile number or email address. We recommend using an email address set up specifically for social accounts).
- Confirm you’re not a robot, and off you go!
Getting started with Snapchat Business Manager
Snapchat’s Business Manager feature is available for brands all over the world. You can set up Snapchat ads, get deeper analytic insights, and unlock new marketing features
To get started, you’ll need a regular Snapchat account (follow the handy steps above). You can then set up a Snapchat business account. Log in to your Snapchat account using your usual username and password, enter your business name and business email address, and choose the country you’re in, as well as the currency you want to use. Click “Next” and your Snapchat business account will automatically be created.
Build and carry out your Snapchat marketing strategy
Snapchat is great for growing a community and building deeper connections with a younger audience. Consider how you’ll use the platform to achieve your overall business goals, whether that’s increased engagement, more site traffic, or better brand awareness.
First, plot out a top-level Snapchat marketing strategy focused on:
- Your target audience: Snapchat is renowned for its young audience (59% of users are under 25). Take it further than that and think about who you want to reach within that age group. Is it college students? Young professionals? Game-obsessed teens?
- Your goals: Your Snapchat goal will inform the type of content you create and how you use the platform. For example, if you want to increase engagement, maybe you’ll focus on polls, quizzes, and interactive content.
- Your content: Snapchat is a unique social platform that requires unique content. While you can repurpose Reels and TikTok videos, you’ll also want to build out a repository of content specifically for Snapchat.
Next, follow these seven key steps to maximize the Snapchat marketing opportunity:
1. Generate your custom Snapcode
Scratching your head at the term “Snapcode”?
Like other social media platforms, people can follow you once they know your unique handle, so share your handle on social media or add it to your bio.
Better yet, every Snapchat account has a unique Snapcode that lets others add you simply by “snapping” it. You can make your Snapcode your profile picture for a brief period to draw attention to your Snapchat presence. Or you can share it as an image post with a call for other Snapchatters to follow you.
2. Access your Snapchat analytics
Your Snapchat business account gives you access to deeper analytics so you can track what’s working and what’s not.
Snapchat has three main metrics from which you can gain insights:
- Views are more active here than on most other channels, and therefore more valuable as a metric.
- Screenshots tell you when someone has saved your Snap for later.
- Replays tell you when someone has played your Snap again, either because they want to enjoy it once more or because they missed it the first time.
You can see specifically who among your followers views each Snap in your Story, which offers some nice insight into who your truest fans are.
And though you can’t generate outbound clicks through Snapchat, you can try including shortened URLs in your captions that you can track through bitly and other services, or use Snapchat-specific promo codes for more measurable results.
3. Create engaging content
Snapchat has released a number of engaging features since it emerged, giving you ample opportunity to create content that’s interactive and engaging. Snapchat’s 2022 investor presentation showed that 250 million Snapchat users engage with the platform’s augmented reality features every day.
Consider experimenting with some of these:
- Lenses, for special effects and animated features. You’ll find a new Snapchat lens is released every week, depending on what’s trending.
- Filters, to add colors and graphics to your snaps.
- Polling, to encourage engagement and learn more about your fans.
Snapchat also gives you the chance to share exclusive, creative Snaps with only your most loyal fans, such as:
- Day-in-the-life content like funny photos, selfies, entertaining moments, or a look into your company culture or how your products are made.
- How-to content that teaches your target audience something new while simultaneously showing off what you know.
- Teasers for an upcoming product to build excitement and make followers feel like they’re in the know.
- Product placements that let them see your inventory out in the real world. (You can get Snapchat influencers to participate in this too.)
- Event coverage that can be uploaded as a Story.
- User-generated content that spotlights your customers and their experiences.
- Exclusive promo codes you can share with your own followers or send to a Snapchat influencer to share with their audience.
- Contest details to entice user-generated submissions from other Snapchatters.
4. Experiment with Snapchat ads
Snapchat ads let you target specific Snapchat users based on their location, interests, age, language, and even the type of device they use. The location targeting is particularly powerful, with its multi-country, metro, or point radius options that let you target users who are close to a specific address.
Snapchat advertising offers a range of ad formats to choose from, including video ads and Snapchat Stories. You can create ads like on other social media networks through your Snapchat business account.
5. Get local with custom Geo Stories
Want to generate more footfall in your brick-and-mortar store? Snapchat’s custom Geo Stories can help ramp up your marketing efforts. You can tag a location (like a town, city, or neighborhood) or input a specific address with a point radius around it to capture users who are near your store. This is a great way to run local Snapchat marketing campaigns for specific audiences—for example, you could run different campaigns in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
6. Share behind-the-scenes stories
The ephemeral nature of Snapchat has made it the “behind-the-scenes” platform. Content doesn’t stick around, so you can afford to get real and authentic with it. This builds trust and credibility and creates deeper connections with your fans.
Consider sharing behind-the-scenes footage of your products, including how they’re made and what your team gets up to, offer exclusive sneak peeks of new lines, or showcase a big reveal to your most loyal fans.
7. Partner with Snapchat influencers
Sixty-one percent of consumers trust influencer recommendations, compared to just 38% who trust branded content. Incorporate influencer marketing into your Snapchat strategy by partnering with relevant influencers who can promote your brand and products.
Here are some tips for a successful Snapchat influencer campaign:
- Tap into micro- and nano-influencers. These are accounts with between 1,000 and 100,000 followers and tend to have more engaged followings.
- Choose influencers in your niche. Identify influencers whose audiences will be interested in your products (don’t just choose influencers based on their metrics).
- Share content ideas. Give influencers content inspiration they can use to create useful snaps around your brand and products.
Get started with Snapchat marketing
Content marketing in all its forms is usually a long game, and being authentic is how you win it.
You could start a blog, post photos on Instagram, or do any number of things to grow a large following elsewhere. But if you know you have people who are fans of your brand, consider taking it to the next level on Snapchat.
Anyone who’s willing to climb the wall and join you on the other side on Snapchat is easily many times more engaged than someone who followed you in the hopes of being followed back.
Set up your Snapchat for Business account, then plan your Snapchat marketing strategy to determine who your target audience is and how you can reach them. From there, you can explore sponsored content in its Discover section, and use Snapchat ads to market yourself without compromising the integrity of the platform.
Like with most social platforms, your success with Snapchat marketing will come down to getting creative, engaging your audience with regular activity, and using analytics to double-down on the content that works.
Snapchat marketing FAQ
Can Snapchat be used for marketing?
Yes, Snapchat is a great marketing tool. Its engaging features help you create interactive posts and connect one-on-one with your most loyal fans.
What are the benefits of Snapchat for marketing?
Increase brand awareness Build trust with a younger audience Communicate one-on-one with customers Share authentic content Creative and engaging editing options Use custom geofilters to target customers in specific locations Powerful ad targeting options
Why is Snapchat good for advertising?
Snapchat’s powerful targeting capabilities and engaging range of content filters and lenses make it a great way to reach customers in your target audience.
Why is Snapchat difficult for marketing?
While Snapchat doesn’t have detailed analytics like other social media sites, it is still a great platform for engaging and connecting with your most loyal customers.