Snapchat: Your Secret Marketing Weapon?

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On first look, using Snapchat as a marketing or branding tool seems preposterous. It’s a tool used by teens! Snapchats only last for 10 seconds! All our hard work will be gone and we won’t have anything to show for it!

But let me rephrase those concerns: Snapchat is a tool used by millions of teens. You only get 10 seconds to capture their imagination! It’s a great challenge to build memorable moments in that span!

If you can harness the power of Snapchat correctly, you have access to an audience of over 30 million active users. The keyword there is “active”. The question for content creators then becomes “why wouldn’t you want to provide content on the Snapchat platform?”

Snapchat’s rise can be attributed to two larger movements, one more prominent than the other. The first is the rise of mobile. According to a study conducted by the Pew Internet Project, 58% of adults own a smartphone (90% of adults own a cellphone). Not only that, but the same study revealed how deeply we’re involved with our mobile devices, as 44% of owners say they sleep with their device next to their head, and 29% say they can’t live without their mobile device.

The other important aspect in the rise of Snapchat is creating content that is deleted forever. Much is made of how everything in the internet age is permanent – Snapchat is a direct statement against that belief. And this idea is rising – Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is the mind behind a text messaging application called Cyber Dust that deletes texts forever after 30 seconds.

Framed this way, Snapchat is not only a current trend with apps, but also the future of what apps may become.

McDonald’s and Taco Bell Campaigns

If you’re still skeptical about using Snapchat as a marketing platform, let me tell you this: you’re late. McDonald’s and Taco Bell have already used the app to reach people where it matters – their smartphones. Let’s take a look at their respective campaigns:

  • McDonald’s: McDonald’s unveiled their new Bacon Clubhouse sandwich through a Snapchat campaign featuring Lebron James, Richard Sherman, and Johnny Manziel. They used (and companies who roll out content campaigns on this social media platform) Snapchat stories for their 36 second marketing unveil. A hidden advantage of Snapchat stories how it forces the user to interact with advertisement to see the next panel, and ultimately, the great unveil.

  • Taco Bell: Like McDonald’s, Taco Bell unveiled a new product on the platform. The fast food company reintroduced the Beefy Crunchy Burrito through a straightforward Snapchat marketing campaign. As social and digital director of Taco Bell Tressie Lieberman says, “Sharing that story on Snapchat is a fun way to connect with the fans that we are thrilled to have. It’s all about treating them like personal friends and not consumers.” Lieberman’s comments are revealing. After all, treating customers as friends is a way to humanize a brand and give a casual sense that people aren’t being sold to, but nudged.

Brands as diverse as Karmaloop and Nissan used Snapchat marketing campaigns as well – especially with newly added video features (we discussed how to create video content here). As a Yum brands representative says “Our social team is excited about the video feature on Snapchat and as with all social platforms and new features, is ideating around the best way we can use this to engage with our fans on Snapchat”.

Marketing content, regardless of the platform, comes down to one word: engagement. If you are able to engage your audience with compelling content, you’ve done your job – even if your content disappears forever.


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