Snapchat is the social media darling of the year. Major brands across the board are investing in creating a presence on this platform. But if you’re a small business owner, you might not immediately recognize the benefits. Without a clear way to link products or an intuitive interface, is it really worth the time to take on another social media platform? Here are some Snapchat tips to consider for your business.
Snapchat tips for small businesses
Before you worry about setting up an account, let’s first review some Snapchat tips to see what the platform can do for your business.
Snapchat can help you reach a target audience.
People across all demographics use Snapchat in different ways. The organic nature of Snapchat can benefit brick-and-mortar businesses looking to connect with locals. For example, a local coffee shop whose target demo is coffee drinking college students could boost sales by targeting these users with the content they post in their Snapchat Story.
Talk to your customers and find out how they use Snapchat. Ask them what they do with the app, whether they watch Stories, and how often they check Snapchat. You might be surprised to learn how many Baby Boomer customers are using it.
Snapchat offers unique networking opportunities.
What if your customers aren’t on Snapchat? Are there still ways you can benefit from having a presence on the app? Absolutely!
Fellow business owners, influencers, writers and other professionals you want to interact with might be on Snapchat. It’s an intimate platform for interacting with people, brands and influencers in a casual manner.
LinkedIn is known for its value in helping members make business connections, but Snapchat has unique value as a networking tool because of the virtually non-existent barriers. If a user allows people to send them snaps or chats, you can connect with them.
A blogger I met at a conference connected with me on Snapchat, and we chatted about business and health. A few months later, my inbox blew up with messages about an article I was mentioned in. The blogger featured me in a list of Latina bloggers to watch on a major news site. What started as a chance meeting at a conference turned into a deeper connection via Snapchat, resulting in a news article that garnered thousands of dollars worth of leads for my business.
Snapchat provides a platform for sharing exclusive content in a snackable format.
If your business has the ability to offer exclusive sales and content, Snapchat is a great way to connect with your customers. Here are some Snapchat tips for types of content:
Screenshot offers. Offer freebies, coupons and other exclusives to customers who screenshot your Story. Tell them in your snap to “Screenshot this snap” and bring it into the store. If your coffee shop’s foot traffic slows after 2 p.m., post a screenshot offer to Snapchat to bring customers in the door.
Exclusive content. Whether this is a secret menu item at your restaurant or a special message from the company founder, content that is only available via your Snapchat Story will get people really excited about checking in often.
Behind-the-scenes. People love to know how their favorite companies work. Forklifts in the warehouse unloading stock. Videos of the company designer sourcing new materials. These are exciting ways for customers to connect with your brand.
Personality. Customers want to get to know the people behind the brand. Share a video of the office dog or a photo of the team using a Snapchat filter to swap faces.
Takeovers. Partner with influencers or other brands to “takeover” your Snapchat account for a limited time. The influencer will log in to Snapchat as your brand and post content specifically for your customers. A clothing brand might have a fashion blogger takeover their account for 24 hours.
Note: Sharing exclusive content in a snackable way might not always work for your business. If any of the following applies to you or your business, reconsider using Snapchat:
- You have nothing to sell.
- You don’t have a face for your brand.
- You service other businesses (i.e., business-to-business work).
- You work in a competitive or secretive industry.
It can be challenging to connect with viewers if you don’t have an engaging, open brand or company.
Sure, you have some editing tools at your disposal, but you have to share content as it happens. The real-time nature of Snapchat has a come-as-you-are feel that appeals to a lot of viewers.
Snapchat provides a new way for your existing following to connect with you.
Advocates of your brand will want to connect with your company in a number of ways. Adding Snapchat to your arsenal is just one way to boost engagement and drive customers to your business.
It’s important to note that people can’t “discover” your brand on Snapchat.
There isn’t a search function, there are no categories, and there are no hashtags. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means you have to promote in a different way. To connect with you, potential followers need to know any one of the following:
- Your exact username (@hydrangeahippo for example)
- A photo of your snapcode (the yellow block with the black dots and white ghost image inside)
- The url to your Snapchat profile (http://snapchat.com/add/hydrangeahippo, for example)
Companies and brands with a strong social media presence, a website and/or an active email newsletter list are in a strong position to drive traffic from those platforms to Snapchat.
Ready to embrace Snapchat? Here’s how to get started.
Now that you’ve reviewed the benefits, you can move forward with starting an account. Here are a few Snapchat tips to keep in mind when actually using the application.
Be very clear about your expectations from Snapchat. Since you can’t link to your website within your Snapchat Story, expecting “clicks” from Snapchat isn’t an attainable goal. If you have clear goals, you’ll be able to stay focused and create great content within the platform.
Be aware of Snapchat etiquette.
Like every social media platform, there is a culture within Snapchat. Here some things to avoid:
- Do not message new contacts with your sale info.
- Do not send your Snapchat Story to all of your followers — this clogs up their chats.
- Do not message sales copy in response to other people’s Stories and snaps.
- Do not create monologues or speeches on Snapchat. Snaps can be 10 seconds long. Followers get annoyed when they see a string of snaps of a talking head in a Story.
Share brief, snackable content on Snapchat. Consider sending messages welcoming new followers in an effort to get to know them better. When sharing your Story, consider how this snap benefits or provides value to your followers.
Plan what to post.
What kinds of content can your company create with a mobile phone or tablet consistently every day?
Really think about what you can share and how you can make the most use of the Snapchat platform by adding text, filters, drawings and stickers to your snaps. Always think about creating a compelling Story that people will want to watch.
Plan who will post.
Establish a dedicated person or team who can create and post content organically to your Snapchat account, and ensure the team is on the same page. It could be boring for your followers if three separate employees posted back-to-back snaps of the company dog, even if the dog is adorable.
Before you post your first snap, consider what type of content is completely off-limits.
It might be obvious to you that sharing images of product prototypes is off-limits, but unless you explicitly state that in your Snapchat plan, another staff member could share sensitive information in an effort to give followers a “sneak peek.” Will your brand use strong language and post images of scantily clad models? Or do you want to keep content G-rated? Make the decision, and then share it with your team.
Tell your customers.
Your customers and fans will be eager to connect with you on Snapchat. Share your Snapcode, profile link and username everywhere you have an online presence. Print out your Snapcode and display it in your retail locations with a call to action to “Follow us on Snapchat!”
Start conversations with them. You can also earn new followers organically when your followers physically share your account or your username online and in forums. Join groups on other social media platforms dedicated to growing your Snapchat following.
Snapchat can be an integral part of your social media marketing plan regardless of industry. After reading these Snapchat tips for your business, do you think it’s a good fit for you? Have any other tips to share? Tell us in the comments below!
Also published on Medium.