A Content Marketer’s Guide to Snapchat

Aug 8, 2016
Digital Marketing

As one of the Gen-Y employees at Lush – the Content Agency, from time to time I get asked about my views on new social media platforms. Often I can be pretty unhelpful when it comes to the latest trends — things like Periscope never grabbed me, and to my knowledge none of my peers ever embraced the likes of Kik.

One exception to this rule is Snapchat. While many of my colleagues claim to me they “don’t get Snapchat”, I use it almost every day.

For those of you in the dark, Snapchat is a platform where users can send each other time-sensitive images or videos — which last for between one and ten seconds — or upload to a ‘story’ which is accessible to your connections for 24 hours.

What’s in it for users

I enjoy Snapchat because it’s instant, authentic and under my control. Despite the recent addition of filters and ‘memories’ from your camera roll, Snapchat isn’t about airbrushing or careful construction. To a certain extent, what you see is what you get on Snapchat. Because all content can only be viewed by tapping — either on a personal picture message or on a connection’s ‘story’ — what you see is also what you want.  

Snapchat Stories

In a Snapchat story, the purpose of publishing is storytelling. Instead of stunning photography, a user’s Snapchat story is likely to document a timeline of events. It’s not uncommon to see users narrating their actions.

What’s in it for brands

If you’re still not sold on Snapchat as a marketing tool, consider the following stats:

For brands looking for tools geared towards more traditional advertising, Snapchat offers sponsored filters and location-themed overlays. However, for content marketers, the real draw of Snapchat is the story function.

Branded stories are available through a function called ‘Discover’ which is described on the Snapchat website:

Stumble upon channels from top publishers who curate content daily, watch live stories from an event, or check out local campus stories”.

If users like what they see in Discover, they can tap ‘subscribe’ to see that content in their story main screen. Many of the world’s biggest online publishers including CNN, National Geographic, Daily Mail, and News.com.au have Snapchat Discover channels.

Unfortunately for businesses, listing on Snapchat Discover isn’t so simple. Rather than simply purchasing ad space, they must go directly through Snapchat or contact a Discover channel partner. It’s also worth noting Snapchat does not gather demographic data when users sign up for a profile, so audience targeting and detailed analytics can be challenging.

Another option available to brands is to create a profile as a user. This allows them to interact with their audience in the same way any regular person interacts with another. Brands can send their connections direct photos and videos, or post their visual content to their story with the ability to see which of their connections have viewed it. 

Importantly, this approach to engagement over Snapchat is free of charge. All you’ll need is to encourage your audience to add your username. 

Not just B2C

While Snapchat seems an obvious choice for B2C marketers looking to engage with Millennials, it has also been used as a B2B tool. Marketing automation platform Hubspot uses their Snapchat account to showcase their corporate culture, employees and in-house events. According to Hubspot, it functions both as a marketing and recruiting channel.

If you’d like help finding creative ways to distribute your content through social media, contact Lush – The Content Agency. Social media amplification and distribution is included in every content strategy we write.