Let’s face it. Snapchat has quickly moved from the fringe of social media relevance to a legitimate platform where the likes of BMW and Hasbro now frequently advertise. Snapchat has deftly figured a way to include paid advertisements within in its app without disrupting the user experience. Now for small business purposes, the paid advertisements are not within the realm of financial feasibility. However, this is not to say that small businesses can not find use for the app. 


As of last year, over 400 million snaps were sent daily. With over 25 million users in the United States alone, there is a good possibility that you may have some potential customers frequently using the app (even more likely if your target demographic is skewed younger). Especially with the inclusion of the story and chat features, companies are starting to figure out ways to effectively use Snapchat’s organic reach potential.


It is possible to take leads from companies such as Red Bull and Taco Bell, both of whom have neatly folded Snapchat into their social strategy. Taco Bell uses the transient nature of the app to tease new products and promote their own mobile app. They offer discounts exclusively to users who follow them and consistently provide content that is, at the same time, educational and entertaining. Red Bull uses the story feature to live stream (albeit in 10 second clips) events that coincide with the lifestyle that the company promotes. Both companies effectively leverage the casual nature of the app and take it into account when creating their Snapchat content.


As you can see below, the content Taco Bell sends out is not overly promotional.They know that their core demographic would likely be turned off by content that comes across as hard selling. Taco Bell has cleverly managed to create content that still features their products but is more fun than forceful.

Screen_Shot_2016-01-08_at_11.29.51_AM.pngAdditionally, companies as varied as 16 Handles, Boomba Racing, and even the World Wildlife Fund provide more creative examples of how to effectively use the platform. 16 Handles uses the time sensitivity of the app to send its followers exclusive offers, a strategy that a small business of any nature could adopt. The following image is an excellent example of a typical offer by 16 Handles. This type of promotion could easily be tweaked to fit the individual nuances of your company.

Boomba Racing offers exclusive sneak peaks into their R&D process as well as any general hooliganism that happens at their production facility. Their content humanizes the brand and differentiates it from competing automotive performance companies. Lastly, the World Wildlife Fund raises awareness of endangered species with pictures of animals along with the caption “Don’t let this be my last selfie.”


While many of these companies may be much larger than the business you are operating, it is still possible to glean valuable strategic insights that can be applied on a smaller level. All of the companies recognize the casual nature of the app and leverage it. This is something you should also be doing. Source user-generated content through the app by holding contests. Offer exclusive content that can only be found on Snapchat. 


Providing content perceived as valuable will net you more engaged followers. For a small business, this could be as simple as a bakery sending out pics of a delicious new creation. Take notes from 16 Handles and Boomba Racing and provide time sensitive offers that will drive traffic to your location. Most importantly, be authentic and show your Snapchat followers who you really are.



If you're looking for more tips to maximize your social media impact, check out the Likeable Local Resource Center.

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