Clever Ways To Use Snapchat As Part Of Your Marketing Strategy

Although Snapchat is one of the most downloaded apps, its perishable content platform has made it a not-so-coveted advertising tool among marketers. That is, until now.

What was it that pushed big brands like Audi, NBA and Taco Bell to include Snapchat in their marketing strategies?

Snapchat as an Advertising Platform

Snapchat became famous for its self-destructive photo and video messaging service. Users snap a photo or short clip and send it out to friends who can view it before it vanishes. However, most users fail to grasp the permanent nature of data exchange over the Internet. As Forbes stated, “What you post on social media–the good, the bad, the inappropriate–stays there forever.”

As such, the use of the app for marketing was an inconceivable idea back in 2011. However, now that “thinking outside the box” marketing strategies have flooded digital marketing, Snapchat has become an effective tool for brands to advertise products and services. With 700 million photo and video snaps being sent every day, it’s no wonder the numbers are tempting marketing managers. But how do businesses actually make use of it?

Snapchat for Marketing: the Basics


To start your Snapchat marketing campaign download the app on a smartphone or tablet, sign-up with your company’s name and start brainstorming about the kinds of snaps you want to send to your audience. Snapchat currently has over 150 million members, so planning your marketing in order to get enough attention is important.

Before we check out some of the creative techniques being used by famous brands, let’s first review how Snapchat can work for your marketing strategy.

#1 Understanding your audience

Snapchat is built for casual communication. While similar platforms for professional use may exist somewhere else, Snapchat is an app often used to send photos of meals, vacations, selfies and day-to-day activities. Before using Snapchat for your business, understand that you are dealing with an audience who seeks posts which:

  • are light and fun
  • contain short, easy to understand messages
  • appeal to audiences from varying walks of life

Your particular audience will of course depend on the product or service you are endorsing or selling.

#2 Using time limit to engage your audience

The time limit feature in Snapchat is everything. While it was once considered an annoyance or an obstacle to getting messages across, it has now become an advantage in a world where short attention spans and fast information exchange has become commonplace. Choosing a time limit between 1-10 seconds can be an opportunity for you to tease your audience and excite them.

Make time your leverage and use this to engage your audience.

#3 Using video

Your “snaps” are not limited to photos. Snapchat videos provide more valuable content, but again with a limited amount of time. If you use the video function wisely, a 20 second video can convey your message and convert your audience.

When creating videos, keep in mind they should be easy to follow and relatable. If it stirs emotion and approval from your audience it can create additional opportunities for your marketing strategy.

#4 Establishing your own personality

An established personality on this social media platform will give your audience a better chance of knowing and caring about your business, your products and anything else you offer. Even though you will be representing an inanimate product or a standard business name through Snapchat, tweaking your strategy to make your approach human can make a huge difference in audience engagement.

Don’t just post as a brand, give your audience a glimpse of the people behind your workforce.

#5 Avoid spamming

People use Snapchat because it’s an easy and quick messaging alternative and it holds no digital memory. Sending tonnes of snaps a day may turn fans off. So keep the snaps few, relatable and relevant.

One technique to avoid spamming is to use the My Story feature. The audience can control the snaps they view and when they view them. These snaps will be available to view for 24 hours without notifications before it vanishes.

Snapchat Creative Marketing Tips


Although Snapchat is still not on par with the reach to be gained from marketing on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, it is growing continuously and creating more opportunities for marketers, like the new Discover section.

Here are our best tips for using Snapchat as part of your marketing strategy:

#1 Use it as a teaser

Snapchat photos and videos are a good way to release a sneak peak of your latest products. For example, the clothing brand Free People used the social platform to show fans a teaser of their brand new collection, engaging audiences and encouraging them to buy when released.

Rebecca Minkoff also used Snapchat to reveal a teaser of their collection before it hit the runway back in 2013. Using Snapchat in this way adds a personal touch to marketing.

Taco Bell caused an uproar last year after announcing the company’s new Snapchat account would go live with a secret announcement. The next day, Snapchat fans got a glimpse of the Beefy Crunchy Burrito.

NARS, the makeup brand, gave fans a sneak peak of their Guy Bourdin colour cosmetics collection.

#2 Behind the scenes

There is nothing fans love more than getting a behind the scenes glimpse of their favourite brands and franchises. The New Orleans Saints use this trick frequently, giving fans a look into their locker rooms while keeping them updated about available merchandise.

Using the same technique, McDonald’s snapped photos of LeBron James and other athletes during filming for their new commercial. This has added value to the ad, the campaign and the brand’s social media presence.

The NBA also treated fans to some fun behind the scenes clips of 2014’s NBA Draft as well as exclusive game videos, while the car manufacturing company Acura sent its first 100 followers an exclusive teaser of the new NSX prototype.

#3 Mini movie

It seems like Taco Bell is always ahead of the game when it comes to Snapchat creative marketing tricks; the fast food company made use of a mini-movie series to tease fans. The mini movie was posted in less than 24 hours and was 6 minutes in total. The mini movie advertised Taco Bell’s new Spicy Chicken Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos (DLT). This is just one example of how brands are trying new and creative strategies on popular platforms to increase reach and engagement.

#4 Enlist an internet celebrity

Sour Patch Kids, a candy brand, had internet celebrity and Vine-famous Logan Paul take hold of their Snapchat account during a 5-day campaign to celebrate the company’s first step into the social media marketing realm. Paul’s humour attracted new fans as well as his already large fan base.

#5 Fun facts and puzzles

Nothing captures a viewer’s attention more than mind boggling puzzles designed to engage fans! Fans may answer questions by snapchatting back and in return the brand may offer coupons, promo codes and prizes.

Grub Hub, an online food delivery service, used this trick to challenge their followers. Followers replied and were given the chance to get free food delivered to them.

#6 Fun Questions

Free People, the clothing brand mentioned earlier, made use of “Question Wednesdays” in their marketing campaign to encourage audience interaction. Fans were asked to send questions to the brand’s employees for the sake of fun. The questions, including “if you were an alien, what would you look like?”, certainly generated a lot of buzz.

#7 Exclusivity

Fans feel important if they are one of the privileged few who get to access their favourite brand’s new products or offerings. For example, Acura, when teasing footage for the NSX prototype, offered the exclusive video to the first 100 followers only.


Should your brand use Snapchat?

Follow this outline from Shoutlet and decide.


Roelen Fernandez

Roelen researches, creates, tailors content for outreach and content promotion campaigns as well as social presence management. She likes poetry, blues and crime books.