Like Facebook and Twitter before it, what started out as a fun social media platform to help millennials connect has become the latest marketing tool. Snapchat introduced us to the digital version of burn after reading – you send photos and short videos to connections that can be viewed once before they are deleted from the system.

What started as a bit of fun among teens and young adults soon developed a bad reputation due to the often explicit images that some people enjoy sending after a few too many drinks. And because of its unique nature, many businesses are wary of creating a Snapchat profile, let alone using it to market their services.

However, Snapchat has become a hugely popular platform and businesses are now finding ways to tap into a new audience. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use Snapchat to win new business.

Know Your Audience

Snapchat has a very specific audience and it is probably not suitable for all businesses, but any business that has something to offer the younger generation should be using it. Hubspot reported in April 2016 that 45% of all Snapchat users are between 18 and 24. Also, 60% of smartphone users between 13 and 24 use Snapchat. These figures came as a huge surprise to many older marketing managers.

The biggest challenge is making sure the images you send out are not only seen, but also understood, by your audience. Because photos and videos are only displayed for a matter of seconds before vanishing, your message must be crystal clear and relevant.

Creating A Snapchat Strategy

The first decision to make is to choose a tone of voice for your marketing persona and stick to it. Your network will be put off if messages are constantly changing in style. Everything you share should also be extremely simple to understand, and ideally, they should be fun. Although it may be possible to trigger other emotional responses, fun is safer and less prone to misinterpretation.

Study Other Businesses

Look at how your competitors and other businesses are using Snapchat. One of the biggest corporations to use it is General Electric. They use it to show off their geeky personality. Their main method is to freely share fun scientific facts with their followers. They also invite people to ask them any question, which they will always strive to answer. It’s a great way to get young people interested in science as a career, rather than just something to study at school.

Gatorade, the sports hydration specialist, is also a keen Snapchat user. They sponsored a “lens” on Snapchat during the 2016 Super Bowl, which allowed any user to give themselves a Gatorade bath and send it to a friend. This simple, fun gimmick went viral, resulting in huge publicity for Gatorade, and considering that its target audience is young sport players and fitness fanatics, they reached their target audience. This was not a cheap bit of marketing though – they paid Snapchat around $450,000 a day to spread their message.

Another company succeeding with Snapchat, again a US one, is GrubHub. They adopted Snapchat in 2013 and have been sharing content weekly since. GrubHub uses Snapchat to communicate directly with people by sending messages that require a response. Messages include exclusive coupons, contents, giveaways and promo codes. This personal approach makes their customers feel very valued and ensure that they get a lot of repeat business.

One of the largest media outlets to use Snapchat is The New York Times. They have shared one of their fun videos on Youtube – they make fun of themselves for being new to Snapchat, while at the same time providing a handy tutorial on how to use it. The result – more brand awareness for The New York Times.


Because of the brief nature of Snapchat, many businesses are using it to tease customers with sneak previews of new products or promoting opening nights and other events. Snapchat can induce a feeling of urgency – act now or miss out! – which is one of the oldest sales tricks in the book.

How To Use Snapchat

We found AaronFPS’ video really useful, so we recommended you watch this first:

Location Based Snapchat

One feature of Snapchat allows you to find people local to you. This can work really well for shops and food outlets – imagine seeking people who pass by with Snapchat and connecting with them, and then sending photos of your delicious food, or the latest offers!

Is It Worth It?

If you have not reached your full potential market on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, then you should focus your efforts on these areas for now. But, if you feel that you have already reached your target audience through the other social media platforms, it is certainly worth giving Snapchat a go.

Image Credit: Adweek