The not-so-secret world of Snapchat marketing

The wealth of social media platforms on offer for marketers to create dynamic, fast-paced campaigns with a global reach and high levels of engagement is vast. But while now older platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have become a go-to staple of many a social media strategy, newer, arguably more niche platforms are only just beginning to be tapped into when it comes to marketing potential.

The rise of Snapchat

Take Snapchat, for example. Initially released back in 2011 by Stanford University students Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, Snapchat quickly became a popular social media platform, particularly for young people. By allowing users to send photos and videos for a limited amount of time (“snaps”) and share them with an exclusive list of fellow snapchat users, snapchat successfully played into the selfie and sharing cultures so popular among young social media fans.

More recently however Snapchat has matured into much more than a platform for avid selfie takers. Industry commentators FastCompany put it aptly in a recent article which claimed ‘if you still think Snapchat, a company valued at $16 billion, is just a teen sexting app, you’re not listening to the kids, bro.’ The article focuses on the incredible engagement created by the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards which saw a huge 12 million viewers tune in via Snapchat and outstrip viewing figures for the TV coverage of the same event. FastCompany argues ‘in a mere 15 months since its first Live Story, Snapchat has transformed itself from a photo-based messaging app into the singular obsession of the media and advertising industries.’

Snapchat as a myriad of marketing opportunities

MTV are not the only brand to have recently tapped into the myriad of marketing opportunities now possible on Snapchat. In fact, Marketing Magazine hailed fashion powerhouse Burberry’s Snapchat marketing campaign as ‘the best piece of marketing in 2015’. Using Snapchat as its platform of choice, Burberry shot a 24 hour fashion campaign with the help of Mario Testino, the award-winning Peruvian photographer famous for his Vogue and Vanity Fair shoots. By mixing a traditionally high-end, artistic form of expression like fashion and portrait photography with a new, simple social media platform like Snapchat, the Burberry shoot has been hailed by observers as ‘a match made in heaven.’ By cleverly playing on the limited time span of availability of the Snapchat images, the Burberry campaign was able to tap into the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) syndrome so rife among young, engaged, technology savvy audiences of the social media generation. If you missed out, you can see some of the images here on social media hub Mashable.

More recently many other brands have also been exploring new ways to utilise Snapchat as a marketing tool. Back in November The Drum focused on how Real Madrid, the Spanish football side valued at a staggering $3.26 billion has agreed to ‘become the ephemeral messaging apps first individual sports team with its own account and an ‘official live story’ documenting the squads upcoming clash with Barcelona.’ The campaign encouraged fans with tickets to the iconic match to submit their photos to a live feed of the event to create a video then to be aired to Snapchat’s some 100 million daily users. Other brands to get in on the Snapchat hype have included food outlet Dominos, who have just this week launched on Snapchat with the creation of a video entitled ‘Dough to Door’. Alongside a creative story of the intrepid journey of a pizza delivery boy, Dominos’ campaign will include a series of random letters which allows viewers to redeem a discount with their online order and continue the brands use of up-and-coming social media sites following their Valentines Tinder campaign last year.

How to start your own Snapchat story

Interested in using Snapchat for a new marketing campaign for your brand? Forbes has created a useful basics guide to starting out with Snapchat marketing, which includes understanding the audience and tone of this social media app. Unlike platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter which straddle the casual and professional world, Snapchat is dominated by relaxed, friendly, engaging content which speaks to viewers at the level of their day to day lives. Forbes argues ‘ideally, the language you use should be easy-to-understand, and your posts should have a sense of fun’ and ‘doing so will make your team seem more personable and approachable.’

Social Media Examiner has also put together a handy podcast for marketers setting out on their Snapchat journey. In an interview with the CEO of US based VaynerMedia Gary Vaynerchuk and Shaun McBride, a celebrity on Snapchat who has represented brands like Disney and Taco Bell on the platform, Social Media Examiner explores everything marketers need to know about Snapchat and how to use it to get the most out of your social media strategy.

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