Snapchat is the newest of the ‘Big 4’ social media platforms, and arguably the most unique. The app allows users to send and receive 10 second photos or videos, and to follow each others ‘Stories’ – content that remains available for 24 hours. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have all reached their maturity stage, being commonly accepted as ‘musts’ for the majority of businesses. On the other hand, many brands are confused as to how they can use Snapchat to their advantage. Fear not, because here are seven ways you can use Snapchat to improve your business in 2017.

  1. Geofilters
    Geofilters are banners that users can add to their photos while they are in a certain location. They can be designed to reflect your business and even to run for a specific length of time during an event. Creative geofilters that reflect your business can increase brand awareness by encouraging users to spread it to their friends.

  2. Sponsored Lenses
    Everyone loves using goofy Snapchat filters, or ‘lenses’ – many users check back each day to find new ones that they can send to their friends. Reports estimate that approximately 30 million snaps are sent with lenses each day. This kind of fun and engagement isn’t as common with other ad formats, making Sponsored Lenses a very expensive (but very effective) form of advertising. It also isn’t as simple as buying the ad – companies and Snapchat work together to create an interactive design that suits both parties.
  3. ‘Discover’
    Instagram also has a section for content published by its media partners, such as the Daily Mail, CNN and Vice. If your business is mentioned in an article and that article appears on Snapchat ‘Discover’, you’re in luck, because it could translate to thousands (if not millions) of views and a lot of clicks to your website. Having a publicity expert on your side to pitch the story is a must – it must be high quality, interesting, ‘click-worthy’ and in line with the brand of the outlet you are targeting.
  4. Collaborate with Influencers
    An influencer is defined as someone who has the ability to affect the behaviour or opinions of others – in 2017 this is usually due to a large following on social media. Pairing up with an influencer – either through paid Snapchat ads or ‘take overs’ can increase your reach. Not only will your current followers view the Snaps, but fans of the influencer may follow them to your account and learn about your product/service.
  5. Incentives

Sales are always a big draw card for businesses. Posting special ‘promo’ or discount codes is an easy way to get users to shop – especially if it is only valid for a limited time. Many brands will direct followers to their Snapchat using another social media platform, such as Instagram or Facebook. Uber rival ‘LYFT’ uses celebrities to share special offers such as $50 in free ride credits. If users want to secure the credits, they have to download the app, making them more likely to use it again in the future (especially when they are rewarded with the promotion).

  1. Behind-The-Scenes
    Ever wondered about what goes on behind-the-scenes of your favourite Instagram account, popular music festival or inspiring business? How do they take their photos? Where do their products get made? What is an average day like? Behind-the-scenes Snapchat stories alleviate this curiosity by lifting the curtain and showing followers what goes on ‘backstage’. Some events, such as the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, will pay to have their event featured on ‘Snapchat Live’.
  2. Exclusive Previews
    Much like a ‘behind-the-scenes’ Snapchat Story, exclusive previews attract those who want to feel like they are accessing premium, special content. An example could be a popular fashion line debuting their new collection. This is something previously reserved for industry experts, designers and celebrities. The preview enables even the most distant consumers to feel a connection to the brand.

  3. Engage with Customers
    One of the reasons social media has been so beneficial to businesses is its ability to connect a brand directly to the consumer. The two parties feel closer and their relationship is strengthened – meaning brand loyalty is often increased. You can engage with your customers on Snapchat by asking them to engage with you and by actively viewing and responding to their messages.
  1. Call to Action
    If the goal of your social media campaign is to increase sales, you will need to include a call to action. A call to action tells customers to do something – such as to buy a product or follow a Snapchat account. This ties in with ‘incentives’ on Snapchat. By sharing a special, limited-time discount, the brand is telling its followers to BUY at the point in time.
  2. Boost Employee Morale
    The only way a business will reach its full potential is with motivated, inspired employees. They are representatives of the brand, and therefore should feel engaged and valued at all times. Having a ‘staff-only’ private Snapchat account is an exciting, unique way to encourage employees to share their work, collaborate and have fun doing their job. It’s also a great way to connect employees working in different departments and spark team spirit. The account could also be made public, to showcase how the staff ‘live and breathe’ the brand, but as with any social media page, it is important to keep it regulated.

Snapchat continues to experience incredible growth, and its marketing capabilities are sure to expand as the app develops. The possibilities are great and it is important not to ignore it in favour of the now ‘more traditional’ networks like Facebook. After all, a successful brand needs to have a point of difference, and using Snapchat could be an excellent way to stand out from your competitors in 2017.