by John Rampton
While you may be participating in social media through channels like Twitter and Facebook, your small to medium-sized business might be missing out on opportunities on the social media platforms that are growing rapidly in popularity—like Instagram and even Snapchat. Only launched in 2011, Snapchat has rapidly gained a following and now has become a platform of interest for many brands.
Bloomberg reported that Snapchat has more than seven billion video clips that are shared each day among 100 million users, which comes close to Facebook’s eight billion videos per day shared. However, the difference is the fact that the long-standing social media giant—Facebook—has 1.55 billion users.
That’s an incredible statistic when you consider that Snapchat has a fraction of users, plus the fact that Snapchat users have to actually click on a video to watch versus Facebook’s autoplay feature, which shows the intent of Snapchat users. Besides Facebook, Snapchat is also giving the video giant YouTube some serious competition.
While you may have thought Snapchat was just a fun social media site that teenagers used, think again. There are ways that you could be getting more visibility with your customers and target audience by engaging with them on Snapchat.
- Answer audience questions that have been submitted through any of your social media sites, blog, or website contact form. By sharing the answer to these questions on Snapchat, you may be answering for other people out there that had not yet asked or would just simply appreciate the additional information about your company and how it works.
- Use Snapchat’s stories app, which provides you a way to have a longer conversation beyond just sending a snap to your customers. In this time period, you can create a replayable story made of multiple snaps to relay some type of narrative to your audience. It actually stays visible for 24 hours, which increases your chances of reaching more people than just through singular snaps. Taco Bell used this tactic to announce the return of a product to its menu, while others have also turned the story feature into a way to announce a new product or show how people are benefitting from using their products or service.
- Announce a contest, including sharing rules and prize information. You can then use the snap or stories feature to provide updates on how the contest is doing and highlight the winners when it ends. This is another way to build excitement among your followers while also encouraging them to regularly see what you are up to, especially if they have signed-up for the contest themselves.
- Send out coupons as snaps to your customers or to prospects that show an interest in your brand. They can then take this coupon and use it in an offline or online store. Just make sure customers understand to open the coupon once they are ready to actually redeem it. 16 Handles, a New York City yogurt shop experienced incredible success with this tactic.
- Offer a sense of exclusivity to those followers on Snapchat. By showing your Snapchat followers something that no one on any other channel has seen creates excitement and leads to more people actually viewing the snap as carmaker Acura found. However, they did use Twitter to announce that there was an exclusive look at a new model on Snapchat to funnel their audience to that platform and encourage the addition of new followers. You can also offer exclusive deals as well that generate the same fervor among your Snapchat audience.
- Share an inside look at your company, which humanizes your brand. This tactic shows how you work, your culture, and the type of talent you have working to develop a solution for your audience. Your customers and prospects want to see whom they are working with and what has gone into making what they are thinking of buying.
- Create snaps of an event you are hosting or participating in. From a conference and store grand opening to a community event and trade show, you can take many pictures from the event and turn them into snaps to share with your followers and add captions to reinforce what your company is doing at this particular event. It could focus on a message about industry leadership, social responsibility, or brand attributes while relying primarily on visual images to make an emotional connection.
- Beat your competition that may be slow to adopt new social media channels. Whatever you use and share on Snapchat, consider the fact that your competition may not have figured out the benefits of using this particular new social media channel. This gives you the prime mover advantage to leverage new features first and differentiate yourself from the competition. The idea that you are on Snapchat and your competition isn’t can translate in the minds of your followers that you are more innovative and in touch with trends and preferred communication channels. They will most likely be impressed that you went the extra mile to find and interact with them rather than just relying on the typical social media platforms where every other brand now seems to live.
In the process of trying these tactics and features on Snapchat, don’t forget to share that you are on Snapchat by adding your Snapcode to your website and other social media channels so audience members can quickly add you. When you do get up and running on Snapchat and have the budget available, you may even want to consider placing digital ads on this popular social media channel. For now, stick to these tactics that show you how to leverage this popular social media platform for little or no money just as major brands have done, garnering new customers and greater revenue as a freelancer or small business owner.
John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor, online marketing guru and startup enthusiast. He is founder of the payments company Due.