Snapchat: Your next great marketing tool

Snapchat: Your next great marketing tool

There are many social networks that small business owners think of as reliable marketing tools. Facebook and Twitter immediately come to mind, while Pinterest and LinkedIn receive attention depending on an establishment's target audience. However, company leaders can't afford to ignore other valuable outlets, even if they seem like they were designed exclusively for consumers. For instance, Instagram was developed for personal picture sharing, but has since become a go-to advertising resource for digitally savvy entrepreneurs.

Snapchat was also built for people to send photos, but the app's main appeal was that images were deleted after a brief period of time. This service was meant for consumers who wanted to control their online reputations, and now it's becoming one of the trendiest marketing tools out there.

Entrepreneurs are finding creative ways to capitalize on Snapchat's growing popularity. The below strategies are just some of the approaches small business owners can use to add the app to their next marketing campaign.

Coupons that vanish
According to YFS Magazine, 16 Handles was the first enterprise to use Snapchat for marketing purposes. The yogurt shop decided to send out coupons via the app. There were two catches with the campaign though. First, the discounts disappeared within seconds of being opened so customers had to wait until they were in the store to open the message. Second, the coupons could be worth anywhere from 16 to 100 percent off a purchase, so patrons were motivated to come in and buy some treats.

This is a brilliant strategy that almost any company can replicate. Consumers rarely turn down great deals. Additionally, the air of mystery around the coupons adds a fun element that most discounts lack entirely. A Snapchat campaign similar to the one pioneered by 16 Handles can drive customers who are willing to make purchases into an owner's establishment.

Winning the present
In an interview, James Kirkham, co-founder of Holler, told Marketing Magazine that Snapchat's growth shows that consumers demand immediacy.

"Many compare it to opening a present, as the speed of communication and erasable conclusion means there is no need for pride or embarrassment from the deliverer. As such, it informs a more unexpected message, and you can obviously see how brands might want to take advantage of this, owning the micro-moment," Kirkham said.

Indeed, Snapchat can be beneficial as it puts a brand directly in front of consumers faster than other social networks can. Users may go hours before reading tweets or scrolling through Facebook, but Snapchat messages command almost immediate attention.

Building competition
Social Media Today points out that Snapchat can be effective for holding marketing competitions. The news source notes there are a couple of possibilities. First, Quicksnap is when every customer receives a message. The winner is determined by who responds with their own Snapchat message first. Second, the app is perfect for scavenger hunts. Pictures and videos are sent out as clues so recipients have a limited window in which they can find the location and move on to the next part of the competition. Promotional items and gift cards would be the perfect prizes for these fun games. 

Competitions can be a great way to build brand awareness as they are more engaging than other marketing tools. While consumers usually ignore direct mail and billboards, they may participate in a fun game, especially if they can win great prizes for their efforts.

Snapchat may represent the wave of the future for small business marketing. While the app is all about temporary information, it's a great way for owners to connect with consumers who participate in the latest online trends.

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