Using Snapchat to promote your startup
Kitty Harris
Monday, March 14, 2016
5 min read

Using Snapchat to promote your startup

You’ve probably heard about Snapchat. The messaging app claims to have over 100 million users, although that estimate is growing every day. You might wonder why you need to branch out to Snapchat if you are already covering your bases on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Brief photos and videos that disappear almost instantly sounds a bit like a disaster for marketing – how does it make any sort of impression? Well, when used correctly it effectively reaches a huge network of young people and can potentially serve up ads with 100% visibility. Not bad, right? Plus, it’s pretty fun.
Snapchat’s main user base are aged 18-35, so if your target market fits in that category, then using Snapchat will be a great way to gain a wider reach. That’s not to say older users don’t exist (because they definitely do), but young people are making the platform their own. So if that age bracket isn’t responding as well to email or Twitter campaigns, then you might want to try targeting them on their own territory.
Snapchat is unique because it creates a feeling of intimacy coupled with an under-layer of urgency. This is particularly useful for celebrities – fans wanting a closer look feel as though they are part of the glamour and are rewarded with a feeling of privilege as they experience areas that the paparazzi aren’t allowed into. The teaser aspect of Snapchat is a psychological trick that leaves you wanting more. If you are able to perfect snaps that end on a cliff-hanger, then you will create a following that keeps coming back for more.
For a startup this is an effective way to create interest around events or big moments at the office. Snapchat an event and include what happens behind the scenes to garner interest around a launch. Or Snapchat a work night out (just keep an eye on the amount the designated Snapchatter drinks). Let your consumers see the faces behind the company name and get people excited about what you might be up to. In terms of attracting talent to your business this is a great way of showcasing your company culture (which has previously only been done on Instagram). If you are a startup that wants to utilise creative ways of recruiting new employees, then Snapchat is the perfect vehicle to shout about the great creative atmosphere and office perks available to the people that want to work for you.
If your business is all about a product and you have a big launch coming up, then think about giving your loyal customers a sneak-peak before it goes on sale to the public. You could also send out vouchers or discount codes, both of which will have a knock-on effect of gaining followers once word gets out about the incentive.
Snapchat is also simply another channel through which to increase your social reach. Promote any interesting posts you have up on other channels and direct attention towards your blog posts as they come out.  And vice versa, once you have Snapchat make sure you are cross-promoting it across other networks.

The most effective way that brands are using Snapchat is through the ‘stories’ feature. Individual snaps get strung together to create something linear that captures the attention of even the most distracted millennial. Make it amusing and unique, just make sure it tells a story in tantalising drips that keep the viewer hooked. The underwear brand MeUndies is great at producing fun content for their Snapchat stories that tie into their brand image. Their way of operating means that the story comes first and whatever product advertised has to tie in with the story. If they want to push a product that bit more then they end the Snapchat story with a trackable link that has seen 10% - 12% conversion rates.
A huge marketing feature of Snapchat are its custom Geofilters and Sponsored Lenses. If you are having a public event, then paying for a Geofilter that targets your location is a great way to increase awareness and publicity. A Geofilter is a graphic overlay for snaps that are specific to a location. The size of the location is up to you and how much you want to spend, but the filters usually start at $5, so there’s a lot of room to play with.
Sponsored Lenses are a little costlier for the startup budget, but if you get a bucket load of funding poured on you, then it can be a fun way to draw attention to your brand, particularly as the average time spent playing with a lens is 20 seconds. The best part about Geofilters and Lenses are that they extend your reach beyond your own followers. As people in the vicinity are invited to Snapchat your event they increase awareness about your brand to their friends and family, and your network increases.  


The bottom line is that Snapchat is revolutionising the way that businesses can reach out to their consumers. Startups, generally seen as younger and more relaxed than their corporate counterparts, are likely to benefit the most from connecting with their consumers on this more human level.

Need a graduate to do your Snapchatting for you? BrighterBox connects smart grads with startups in London. Click here to read more. Or check out Fanbytes - damn those guys know how to use Snap!

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