Snapchat: The how-to marketer’s guide


In case you haven’t heard, Snapchat is all the rage at the moment. The app was launched back in 2011 but it’s just in the last year or so it has gained popularity or in some cases notoriety for its photo messages that automatically delete themselves shortly after being viewed. Now, it has also launched a chat function, allowing for complete interaction between its users and generating in Snapchat’s words, a means of storytelling. As with photo messages, when a user leaves the chat screen, messages viewed by all participants will be cleared.

But why should you care about this app as a marketer?

To put this app’s popularity into context, over 400mil messages are sent and received everyday, across the world. It also has an estimated 30 million users worldwide. That’s a huge audience, who are engaged and using this application to communicate, sometimes on a daily basis. To bring this seemingly huge figure back down to earth though, it seems pretty moderate when compared to Twitter and Facebook, with the former having over 200 mil active users, versus Facebook’s 1.8billion. Nevertheless, 30 mil users is not to be sneered at, especially when Snapchat’s growth has been very impressive, as daily photos shared have grown from 20 mil in October 2012 to 200 mil in June 2013  to 400 mil today.

Secondly, people’s attention span has dropped drastically over the last 5 years, from an average of 12 minutes to just 5 minutes. Plus in general, 93% of communication is non-verbal and therefore visual. Therefore, apps like Snapchat are in the words of its founder, ‘a marketer’s dream’, where we can condense stories and content, as well as play up to this limited attention span.


How can we get started on Snapchat?

You can set up an account straightaway and be ready to send out reactive, clever content with entertains your potential audience. First of all though, some housekeeping:

  • Lock down the username you want, even if you are not planning on using Snapchat account immediately. Also think about whether you should use your brand/product name, depending on the fame you company already has and consider the interplay between your twitter name and potential Snapchat name.
  • Set up an email address that is solely used for Snapchat and pay attention to the password you choose to ensure security. Nobody wants their account being hacked.
  • Change your privacy settings so that everybody can see your account and content that you allow. As an individual, privacy is important but as a brand, you want to be as visible as possible on social networks, especially when it comes to enticing new followers.

Now you have an account, you can post either image or video content to your followers.


Once you’ve taken your snap, you can crop it/reduce the length of the video, add a caption and select the number of seconds you want your snap to be viewable for, before it disappears. This latter function can be key if you are planning to tease your audience. The app also offers drawing tools and different fonts to add to your image. In addition, if you feel like getting fancy with your content and strategy, you can create a narrative by posting several, connected snaps to the Stories section of your account.


Finally, all brands must ensure the content they are putting out is worth their followers time, however limited that time is. Therefore, posting things like behind-the-scenes content, promotion driven or even embracing the ‘naughty’ screenshot are things each marketer should certainly consider in their Snapchat, as well as their general social media, strategy. Content is always the most important part of any advertising campaign, so consider your products, strengths (and KPI’s) and send out messaging which will truly engage as well drive sales.



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