Can Snapchat Marketing Benefit Your Brand?

July 16, 2013

Snapchat has made its way from a controversial sexting social media app popular among teens to a useful marketing tool for brands in less than two years. Do they have Taco Bell to thank for the turnaround? Taco Bell became one of the first major brands to step out onto the platform and experiment with the channel for marketing purposes.

 When the popular chain decided to bring back their Beefy Crunch Burrito, they took to Twitter and asked fans to follow them on Snapchat for a big announcement. The next day they sent out a “snap” informing followers of the popular burritos return. Fans were elated over it.

“Sharing that story on Snapchat is a fun way to connect with the fans that we are thrilled to have. It’s all about treating them like personal friends and not consumers,” says Tressie Lieberman, Taco Bell’s director of social and digital.

You may be wondering if your brand could benefit the same way Taco Bell and other companies have from using Snapchat to market. And, with so many social media options to choose from, is adding Snapchat to your social roster wise?

What is Snapchat, anyway?

Snapchat is a social app that allows users to snap a photo, add drawings or words, and then send to a recipient. Easily put, it’s picture text messaging. The catch is, the recipient only has one to 10 seconds to view the photo, depending on how long the sender has set the time frame. After the selected time frame is met, the photo is deleted forever. Or, is it?

From Privacy to Marketing in Five Teenage Seconds

As quickly as the teenage crowd figured out how to use the app to send explicit photos, they also found out how to save the image from self-destruction. With a simple screen grab, the fleeting photo becomes permanent. While this was bad for the sexting generation, it was great for marketing. Brands could benefit by sending coupons and vouchers that recipients can grab, or, like Taco Bell, as a fun platform to make brand announcements that are grabbed and shared on other social media channels.

The Intense Anticipation Factor

Snapchat provides a no-filter-zone that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can’t. The fleeting nature of the photos creates anticipation in the user. The excitement of receiving a photo that is going to self-destruct within seconds has caused the popularity of the social channel to expand from 50 million photo shares a day to 200 million shares a day in a matter of months, and marketers are taking notice.

Snapchat is quickly becoming a competitive player in social media. It demands a recipient to engage with a photo for the entirety of the time limit. There is major marketing power in a platform that can grab an audience’s attention and hold it for a selected amount of time.

So, will Snapchat marketing benefit your brand? Experts say, being that this is such a new concept and social channels are constantly changing, it may be a good idea not to dive in headfirst. You may also want to consider the age group with which Snapchat is popular among. The main demographic of Snapchat app users is between 13 and 23.

Watching how the channel does over the next year could be the most beneficial to your brand. And, unless you’ve already mastered other major social media channels and are looking to be on the cutting edge of this new wave of marketing, don’t attempt to take on Snapchat full-speed just yet.

What are your thoughts on the Snapchat app? Are you already using it? Do you intend to use it? If so, how? Tell us in a comment below.


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