Snapchat has been a wildly popular app among young folks (mostly millennials) for more than 5 years. In this post, I will explore how companies can engage its audience using Snapchat as a marketing tool. And, it makes total business sense. By pure definition, Snapchat is an image messaging mobile application. Its creators are Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown (developed by Snap Inc.). The differentiating quality of Snapchat among other messaging and social media tools is that the messages and pictures circulated through it are available only for a short time before they are permanently deleted (Wikipedia.com).
Now, why is this information relevant to me as a marketer? I revisited my marketing basic notes from my MBA program for the answer. In our introductory marketing class, we discussed a product life cycle where we specifically referenced the difference between style, fashion and fad. We looked at three separate graphs comparing sales in relation to time for products that were considered fad, fashion and style. Here is a snapshot of the graphs we discussed:
Now, I have to say this, during my MBA program, I did not even remotely consider ever using these graphs to understand the popularity of a Mobile Application! Now, the question is why would I digress into the theory of product marketing when speaking of Snapchat? The answer is simple, the core goal of the Snapchat product is to take advantage of the concept of ‘fad.’ A product is considered a fad if it's sale skyrockets during its introduction phase and it quickly declines after that. As a marketer the best way to exploit this concept is through the use of ‘Snapchat Geofilters.’ Now, for the sake of discussion, let’s consider a geofilter download and share a product sale. Once again, these geofilters typically exist for a short span of time. In essence, by the time the sales declines, the product life cycle is complete.
Style/Fashion/Fad graph Superimposed on the Product LifeCycle Graph:
Before digging deeper into the nuances of the product life cycle, let me steer you into the world of Snapchat geofilter and how as a marketer, you can realize its full potential. Geofilters are Snapchat overlays that appear on top of photos (snaps). Snapchat users may opt to use a geofilter available in their immediate area (Inc.). From personal experience, I can say that I have attended events that utilized this feature and it is an effective icebreaker at the event and a great way to promote your brand via social media. Geofilter sponsors (that are effectively branded) are not only reaching the immediate audience who are using the filters, but also their friends in their network. Marketers would unanimously agree that this is the perfect way to promote the brand organically.
There are some basic guidelines, do’s and don’ts for submitting a Snapchat geofilter. For instance, you’ll want to use business overlay and you will like to keep majority of the screen free so that the users can view their original photographs. There are some limitations for geofilter usage, which include not using photos of people, hashtags, lotteries, more than two lines of stylized text etc.
Here are some ways to use Snapchat geofilters for your business. This list is from socialmediaexaminer.com, click here for the entire article.
Announce New Product Launches: When you would like to catch the attention of your target audience for your new products, then create a Snapchat geofilter. This is another way for you as a marketer to allow your audience to make an emotional connection with your brand.
Everlane’s Elevate Summer used branded geofilters for its summer collection. The company also partnered with magazine editors for Snapchat takeovers.
Share Company Culture: This could be the Glassdoor for the selfie generation. Employees could be a company’s biggest digital advocates as they use the geofilter to share with their communities.
For Partner Day, HubSpot created a special geofilter using their signature orange hue. Employees and partners used the geofilter to highlight the best moments of the day.
Promote Charity Events: As I had mentioned earlier, Snapchat geofilters can be effectively used at events. This also includes charity events. A special Snapchat geofilter dedicated to a particular charity event will add an element of surprise and delight for its guests which will allow them to share the event happenings in real time. Once again, the audience will act as digital advocates for your non-profit.
Imprint.City, a non-profit focusing on cultivating community through art, hosted a masquerade charity event to raise awareness….Many community influencers used the filter, which helped spread the word about the organization and its cause.
Support Your Presence at Trade Shows: I think this option is an absolute must for tradeshow events and conferences. For instance have a Snapchat trade show scavenger hunt contest, where attendees have to capture specific snaps at the event and win prizes upon submission.
Support Your Personal Brand
Though this idea sounds like a revolutionary concept, I would equate it to creating your personal website a few decades back. This will absolutely work if your target audience uses Snapchat.
Up-and-coming musician Lance created a Snapchat geofilter for a concert where potential fans of his music would be. It ended up that major stars Diplo and Skrillex took a selfie on Diplo’s Snapchat account using Lance’s geofilter. The filter, which cost only $15, reached millions of Snapchat followers. In doing so, it spread the word about his album.
This is an ever expanding industry. Now, a formidable competitor – Instagram Story has entered the Snapchat market and a fierce battle is raging over market share.
In the 25 weeks since launch, Instagram Stories has reached 150 million daily users. That’s the same number of users that Snapchat’s whole app reportedly hit around June 2016…. “Overall, from August to November 2016, the average unique viewers per Snapchat Story has decreased about 40%,” says Nick Cicero, CEO of creative studio and social video analytics platform Delmondo
As lifewire.com rightfully states- plain old selfies are so last year! People seem to be having way too much fun using Snapchat that harnesses face-tracking technology to animate face in real time. This feature, of course, let’s you share via social media too. So what’s next in the world of selfie takers and social media? Here are some alternatives to Snapchat:
- Face Swap Live
Marketers keep an eye on these companies, the next fad might just erupt from one of these!
I am a marketing professional with more than 10 years’ experience. I currently work as a Design QC Specialist contractor with Chevron Creative Studio. I have worked in industries such as non-profit, healthcare, oil and gas, real estate, technology, education and consumer goods.
I recently earned my MBA from the University of Houston, BAUER School of Business with a focus in Marketing Analysis. Prior to that, I earned an Associates in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Houston and Masters in English Literature from Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, India.
I was born and raised in India but now consider Houston my home. I am Membership Officer with Prospanica-Houston chapter and Director of Special Events-Marketing with American Marketing Association-Houston chapter.
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