I’ve been spending a LOT of time on Snapchat lately – experimenting, playing, and researching what other personal and professional brands are doing.
It’s no secret that I’ve seen major business potential with Snapchat from the beginning. I wrote a starter guide for newbies and an editorial writeup about why it’s going to be huge for brands several months ago.
But these articles haven’t gone deep with actionable information focusing on how to utilize it for your business. I wanted more time experimenting and watching before doling out advice. So I started following people and brands, and it’s been incredible watching folks push the limits on creativity to tell fun and insightful stories.
I always advise that the best thing to do to learn about a new social network is to find people or businesses who are in the same industry, resonate with your values, and are successful. Take the time to watch what they do, make mental notes about what you like and don’t like, and then apply it in your own way.
Diving into a new social network and hoping to “wing it” won’t get you anywhere fast, and could be more damaging than good if the network’s rules of etiquette aren’t followed.
If you are intimidated by Snapchat, it’s okay to be a lurker and watch what others are doing before creating and sharing your own Stories. However, if you’re ready to start Snapping away – these strategies will give your mission purpose.
1. Find and grow your followers
A. Tell the world
The best way to grow any social network is to let fans and followers from other social networks know what you’re up to.
Utilize the Snapchat code to allow for easy following and include your username for those who aren’t familiar with how to use it. And don’t forget to offer to follow them back.
If you have a brick and mortar business, add a Snapchat sticker to the door or register. Include username information on receipts, add it to business cards, and tell customers about your new account.
Include your information in newsletters and email blasts. And let folks know why they should follow you – are you offering coupons? or discounts? Let them know what’s in it for them.
Bottom line, the easier you make it for people to follow you – the better. Share your code/username multiple times on social networks, email newsletters, and don’t expect people to see it the first time. Be persistent and the account will grow.
B. Utilize Facebooks ads to grow your audience
Creating Facebook ads to promote a Snapchat account is an AWESOME idea I heard on MCEOtalk: Snapchat for Brands (below) from Chris of Caribou Social.
This is excellent advice for anyone ready to get serious about utilizing Snapchat for promotions and sales. And it’s such a killer idea because you can utilize all of Facebook’s targeting options to ensure they’re reaching a high quality audience who’s interested in what you’re selling.
Plus, if your targeting is set up correctly, it will be very cheap. Lead generation FTW!
C. Ask your social networks who you should follow
To find others, check out the Add Nearby or Address Book options to see who’s available.
But to get a great start with following cool folks – ask people you know who to follow! And always follow your audience back if it’s a business account.
Something that annoyed me about following a fellow digital marketer was that he’d ask people to Snap him and then never open it, which seemed counterproductive to me. If you’re going to ask for participation from your audience, follow them back and open their Snaps!
2. Make AWESOME Snaps
A. Play with Stories
One of my favorite accounts on Snapchat, @clywcanada (a Canadian Return Top company), creates short Stories to share company news or ask for opinions on new products.
Stories are a fantastic way to engage fans and grab their attention with witty storytelling abilities.
To compile a Story – storyboard! Define what your message needs to translate. Are you asking for interaction or sharing a promotion? Write out your goal and then compile a list of photos to take that sum up that goal. Utilize black screens to incorporate wording that may be difficult to communicate in photos. Have fun with color to add texture or emphasis, and add in filters where they make sense.
And before you get intimidated about creating Stories, play around and watch others. The most attractive feature of Snapchat for users is the raw approach to content – no one is expecting professional grade Stories or photos. Users want to see real, approachable, and fun content. So bring out the goofy side of your brand and have fun!
For short story inspiration, check out another favorite, @figoamericano, who simply creates awesome short stories because, well, he’s awesome. And funny.
B. Humanize your brand and build employee advocacy
Snapchat is a powerful avenue to humanize any brand and can offer a fun way to build up employee advocacy by allowing employees to takeover an account for a day or event – whatever suits best.
Super Snapper, @TheCarlosGil, used Snapchat in a fantastic way to share a company picnic on his personal account and the company (BMC Software) account incorporating photos of yummy food and fun games the employees participated in.
Humanize a brand by sharing the backend stories, introduce employees, show processes, and simply have fun. Snapchat isn’t a corporate environment and users prefer raw production, so there’s no need to go overboard.
C. Blast off with questions
One of the best things I see happening on Snapchat right now is the use of questions to engage followers.
Questions are a genius way to get fans involved on any social network, but Snapchat questions can really drum up engagement and get folks excited about your brand. In addition, they offer a way to get followers involved, which establishes emotion that leads to loyalty.
Snapchatter, @blakec432 does an incredible job at utilizing questions to generate interaction with theme days and offhand subjects. Then goes a step further by using 3rd party apps to share the answers with followers.
3. Monitor analytics
While Snapchat hasn’t grown out professional analytics for the platform yet, there’s plenty you can begin tracking and use to monitor what your audience most enjoys to consider ways to improve on content and timing.
Start a spreadsheet and begin taking note of particulars like, Snaps sent/opened/received or go deeper by keeping track of coupon codes used or open percentages.
Be on the lookout for more Snapchat tutorials and editorials in the future as this social network unfolds.
What else can you add to this list?