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Social Selling and Building Brand Awareness with Snapchat

The unique appeal of Snapchat from a brand marketing perspective is the allure of the elusive images. Traditional “snaps” only last for 10 seconds before they disappear forever. This means that unlike a pin on Pinterest or a post on Instagram -- which exist indefinitely -- a snap’s lifetime is finite, and if not “consumed” during it’s lifetime, it’s lost. This creates an unusual opportunity for brands to interact with their customers, and to target them on a platform that is frequently used in their daily lives. Business Insider recently suggested that they’re nearing nearly 200 million active monthly users -- that’s a lot of eyeballs for a brand to capture!

snapchat fans demographic

Brands from retail, media, entertainment, and publishing industries are buying into the power of Snapchat. Victoria’s Secret and People Magazine recently launched a campaign through Snapchat’s new publisher portal, Discover -- the app’s first official offering for brand advertisers (currently only in a limited rollout). Michael Kors hopped on board in an attempt to brand build themselves, and to connect with their target audience of fashion-minded millennials. Media companies like Universal have used Snapchat as a venue for pushing out new movie trailers, and publishing companies like Cosmopolitan, as another channel for sharing new content.

To Snap or Not to Snap
So how do you determine if Snapchat is the right platform for your business? The question of whether to Snap or not to Snap is a relatively easy one. Snapchat has a very specific demographic, so that either works for your brand or it doesn’t. Companies targeting a predominantly female crowd between the ages of 18 and 24 will see the most success here.

Brand Building and Engagement
Before brands entered the Snapchat game, it was used only as a means for regular people sharing tidbits of their day with a friend -- especially those moments that you didn’t necessarily want to share with the whole world.

Now a user could just as easily get a peek into the life of their favorite brands, and that behind-the-curtain look and more intimate level of communication is very unique. This gives brands an opportunity to craft and refine their personality, using quirky, edgy, or even provocative images to pique the interest of a consumer. Snapchat lets your brand story be told, often with different content than other channels, and in situations -- like fashion week -- where brands can give consumers a peek of moments they aren’t regularly exposed to. The use of beautiful, evocative images that inspire and excite will leave your buyers always wanting more.

Coupons and Exclusives
Snapchat is also a great avenue for pushing out promotions and customer exclusives -- an effective yet unobtrusive way for retailers to build brand affinity. Whether it’s a coupon or giveaway, a snap of a limited availability item, a limited time offer for select shoppers, or a behind-the-scenes peek at the brand, exclusive offerings can create intrigue and excitement, both of which translate into a more positive brand image.

One practical way this can be applied is through the distribution of coupons. Given the perishable nature of snaps, users can’t view the snap until they are ready to purchase, which means they will have to go through the entire browsing and selecting process before they can open the Snapchat and apply the coupon to their purchase. Additionally, retailers can somewhat control where they drive their traffic -- online or in-store -- by denoting where the offer is valid.

New Offerings and Future Potential
Snapchat has rolled out both their “Stories” and “Discover” features, two different mediums brands can use for engaging their customers. These are more official ways of brand advertising, and arguably allow for a higher level of engagement, but they also come with a price tag.

So what comes next?

Beacon and bluetooth integration is one really interesting idea that could be a tremendous opportunity in the future. We’ve been talking about beacon technology forever, but it’s something that really hasn’t come to fruition. Through an integration with a platform like Snapchat that is purpose built for push notifications and alerts, beacon technology’s location-based targeting capabilities could be tapped into for deep engagement opportunities that simply don’t exist anywhere else.

Bottom line: get creative! Snapchat is a highly visual platform that allows for an exceptional amount of freedom to be creative, to tell a story, and to let your brand’s personality shine through. It’s social nature makes it ideal for the media-obsessed age of today’s consumer, and for brands, it’s a rare opportunity to express a more human side. By utilizing Snapchat, you’re opening your brand up to a new world of opportunity.

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