When Snapchat debuted in 2011—then known by its original name, “Picaboo”—few took the app seriously. Flash forward a few years and it has emerged as one of the dominating social media platforms in 2017.
Boasting over 300 million daily active users, the millennial-dominated app has emerged as a valuable tool for brands and marketers to leverage in their social media strategies.
Here’s what you need to know.
Snapchat is the instant messaging and multimedia social platform that allows users to take photos or videos that can be edited with captions, drawings, emojis, geotags, and filters. “Snaps” can be delivered to contacts for a maximum of 10 seconds or added to a user’s story (more on that in a bit).
Snapchat is largely credited with the rising popularity of vertical video and has more recently delved into the tech side of content creation with the release of Spectacles.
Filters and Lenses
Geo-fenced filters and augmented reality lenses allow brands to create and sponsor special add-ons that users can add to their posts. These are typically light-hearted and engaging, offering a relatively easy and inexpensive point of entry for brands to begin experimenting with the channel.
More recently, Snapchat evolved its augmented reality offerings with “World Lenses,” allowing users to place 3D objects into a Snap.
Snapchat’s Stories feature allows brands and users to string a series of snaps together into a cohesive narrative. They are updated in real time and expire after 24 hours. This is the most popular (and imitated) feature Snapchat offer—frequently a first look for brands creating and sharing content on the platform.
If your brand or client is a top publisher (i.e., is willing to invest a healthy budget into a Snapchat strategy), chances are you’ll be invited to publish content to Snapchat’s elite “Discover” channels. Here, more robust video content is sliced together, allowing users to swipe for more or tap through to see the next piece. Companies here curate and publish content daily and are given prime real estate on the Stories tab.
With these oversized sunglasses, users can record 10-second videos by pushing a button on the left side of the lenses. Unlike Google Glass, Snapchat embraces the quirky appearance of the Specs and claims that they’re meant to be worn at a party or social gatherings.
Snapchat is targeting people who’ve accepted dorkiness and made it a lifestyle (i.e., hipsters and teenagers), which is crucial to remember when establishing your strategy and incorporating Specs.
So, what next?
Step one, use Snap Codes—unique, scannable codes that make it easy for fans to add your brand and open content. If you want to gain followers and expand your reach, it is absolutely necessary for you to advertise your snap code.
From there? Have fun with it. Test, learn, evolve. Be sure to promote your Snap handle (and code) across other social channels and keep in mind that content here should always be mobile-first, digestible, and engaging.
As you get more involved, your approach may get more sophisticated, but the most successful brands on Snapchat aren’t afraid to reach their audience in new ways and experiment with new tactics.