Snapchat_Body.jpgBy Jennifer Shaheen.


Among teens and young adults, Snapchat is the most popular social media network. Nearly 30 percent of respondents ages 13 to 24 rank Snapchat above Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook as the social media site they consider most important, according to a study by global investment bank Piper Jaffray. Another demographic that values Snapchat are parents of young children. reports that the very private, ephemeral nature of Snapchat makes it ideal for sharing baby pictures safely.


If you’re a small business trying to connect with either of those target audiences, Snapchat deserves a place in your marketing mix. The best digital marketing puts your content on the platforms where your customers are already spending their time. Users average between 25 and 30 minutes per day on Snapchat, and at this point, Snapchat’s video view numbers equal Facebook’s.


What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is a photo and video sharing app that enables the user to send out shared content—called Snaps—that lasts for no more than 10 seconds. Users can use filters to alter the appearance of a photo, add text, and more.


Snaps can be collected into Stories, which can be shared publically. This is where they can be useful to small businesses. Each Story consists of up to a dozen Snaps, viewed in chronological order. Stories are viewable for a longer period of time—up to 24 hours. The Story feature is the most popular aspect of Snapchat for users of all ages.


Snapchat_PQ.jpgUsing Snapchat as a story telling tool

It’s always a good idea to understand the culture and best practices of a social media platform before establishing a business presence there. Snapchat is all about speed and authenticity: the images shared there tend to be far less polished and professional than you’ll find on Instagram.


The types of Stories that are most popular on Snapchat have a casual quirky tone. Successful brands have built Stories featuring celebrities, sharing special offers—most often in the form of a coupon code revealed in the final Snap—and having regular, everyday people enjoying the brand’s products.



When it comes to deciding how many images to share to tell a single story, “Less is more,” says British Broadcasting Corporation social media editor Mark Frenkel. He limits his team to six Snaps per Story. Even though Snapchat is casual, your approach to posting content there should be anything but. On a platform where judgements are made in the blink of an eye, you need imagery that’s compelling and appropriate for the platform. A good best practice is to plan out your Story using four to six images and testing those via private Snaps to trusted customers or friends who are regular Snapchat users before taking the Story public.


On-Demand Geo-filters boost business visibility

Snapchat filters are designs you can overlay onto a photo you’ve taken using the Snapchat app. Geo-filters are available only to people who are in a specific area, such as your neighborhood or even the new restaurant  where your customers love hanging out. When creating a geo-filter, keep in mind Snapchat’s unique culture and stay away from overly promotional messaging; the most successful uses of geo-filters have been focused on fun events, with the emphasis on the fun.



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