Snapchat Marketing Basics for Small Business Owners

Even if you don't have an account yet, you're likely familiar with the video-sharing platform that garners 178 million daily users who spend an average of at least 30 minutes per day on the app. That's a lot of attention time, and savvy brands are using it to uniquely and creatively engage with their audiences, build brand awareness, and generate more customers.

While Snapchat can be a boon for businesses, it can also be tricky to figure out how to use it right (without sucking away all your time and budget). Furthermore, it can seem intimidating—especially for an app that's notoriously confusing according to users.

Let's look at some best practices and marketing strategies that can help your business see the most ROI on the platform.

Snap Regularly

Snapchat users open the app 25 times a day on average. They're looking for consistent engagement, so it's key for businesses to stay proactive and produce content regularly. Aiming for one snap a day is a good place to start for time-strapped entrepreneurs—since Snapchat stories disappear after 24 hours, this will ensure you always have content live for people to engage with.

Don't Stress About Making it Perfect

Remember: it doesn't need to be professional quality content. Part of the glory of Snapchat is the “homegrown" feel that places everyone on the same level. This can be a huge bonus for a small brand with a limited production budget, as you can engage your audience by using the platform the way they do—a smartphone camera in selfie mode! Use filters, the text editing and drawing options, and emojis to capture their attention and make it authentic.

Share Brand Milestones and Show Personality

You may not feel like you have enough content to share something every day, but the good news is that, on Snapchat, the name of the game is authenticity—so just sharing little bits of your every day is fair game. Since every snap is ephemeral, the platform is known to be quirky and fun. Keep users entertained while building a more intimate relationship to you and your brand through updates and “behind the scenes" content.

Interact and Respond to Other Users

This is one of the golden rules of social media engagement, and it doesn't stop at Snapchat. Make sure you're responding to every message and returning every photo snap—users want to know that there's a real person behind every account.

Promote Your Website with Short URLs

Drive traffic back to your site with short, easy-to-spell URLs. Speaker and business consultant Alex Charfen shared with HuffPost that by including her easy-to-remember URL in several snaps in a row, it drives the message home—to the point where users will often screenshot the URL after a few snaps. Snapchat also has a feature now where you can attach links to snaps, which is another way to drive people back to your site.

Consider Paid Advertising Options for Better Reach and Targeting

Depending on your goals and techniques, paid advertising can be a great extra boost. While some of the options—like Sponsored Lenses or Snap Ads on the Discover page—can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and are likely out of reach for small business owners, there are more affordable options to consider:

Sponsored Geofilters

These are a great starter, as they can cost as little as $5. Geofilters are static illustrations that can be placed on a photo or video. They can be used within a specific location, like a city, a block, or the location of your store! This can be a great option for events like a store opening, concert, or local festival. For example, AdEspresso created a Sponsored Geofilter that showed up for users in a UFC gym in Orlando (about 120,000 square feet). The geofilter ran for 28 hours and came out to only $54.04.

Snap Ads

You can also consider a Snap Ad, which is more “traditional" in that it's similar to ads you'd buy on social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter. It's a 10-second video that typically displays between snaps from a user's other contacts and includes the option for more info if users swipe up on their screen. Snap Ads start at around $1,000. This is steep for many solopreneurs and small brands, so it's recommended to invest only after you've been on Snapchat long enough to know that it's a good fit for your company.

For brands that know their audience and what makes them tick, there's a huge opportunity to build better relationships and drive more loyalty and revenue. It's important to get to know the platform and scope out your options to ensure you're making the most of your resources—and not losing out on good opportunities due to confusion over how it works!

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Monday, March 12, 2018