The power of snapchat as a marketing tool


Snapchat has absolutely exploded!

Sharing pictures with all of your closest friends and viewing their stories in a micro setting has become embedded in our daily lives. The next big thing is here, and it has already created a massive rippling effect for marketers everywhere. That’s right. Snapchat has evolved rapidly to the point where you can use it to build up your business – as long as you use it properly.

Wait, what is Snapchat? 

If you’re not as tech-savvy as your Millennial counterpart, Snapchat is a mobile-based photo-messaging app that lets you take videos or photos and send them to anyone on your friend list. These snaps last a maximum of 10 seconds once opened and are then deleted forever.

“We have to fit an advertisement into 10 seconds? That’s impossible!”

Think again.

A study from the University of Hannover and the University of Hamburg proves that over 50 % of Internet users stay on a webpage for less than 10 seconds anyways. The way to keep your audience engaged is to keep your micro-content persuasive, concise and clever.

Think of it this way, micro-content is equal to the first minute of a sitcom before the theme song comes on. It draws you in just enough to want to watch the program for the next half hour, but not overly informative that it gives away the overall plot line. 

Growing power and influence

Since its creation in 2011, Snapchat has grown to have 100 million daily users. Quite an audience base for marketers to tap into. The majority of users’ age ranges between 19 and 29, and users are found to start snapping at just 13 years old.


Still not convinced that this app is one to integrate into your marketing strategy?

Snapchat was the fastest growing social media platform in 2014 with 57%. Since only 1% of marketers are actually taking advantage of this audience, it provides businesses like yours to get ahead of the pack— but it’s important to use Snapchat as a brand enhancer and not a promotional tool. 

Enhance your brand with Snapchat

Your target audience is not going to buy your product or even add your snapchat if all they are going to do is get overloaded with promotions. “Buy this device. Try out this product today.” That’s like having a channel full of commercials — everyone is going to change the channel to something better. It has to organically fit into the culture of Snapchat – not commercially.

The key reason to use Snapchat in your marketing strategy is to enhance your brand… not hinder it.

Provide unique content to your audience rather than just regurgitating images used on your other social media platforms. But do keep in mind that Snapchat doesn’t fit every brand strategy. If your target audience isn’t between the age of 13-34, and more specifically those under 25, than you may want to rethink where your manpower is headed.

How to utilize Snapchat like the big leagues

Now you know you’re getting really good at utilizing Snapchat when you execute content like the 3 brands that we have highlighted below. Each brand has used Snapchat in a creative way to enhance their brand and showcase a more personal side to their audience.

  1. National Basketball Association (NBA)

The 2014 NBA Draft provided a different side of the draft from what the fans would typically see through their television screens. Fans got to see exclusive behind-the-scenes of the event such as players arriving on the NBA bus. During the Finals the same year, the league posted videos from between the games that couldn’t be viewed anywhere else.


The use of Snapchat works for the NBA brand since sports are already a social gathering to begin with. Everyone has their favourite team and maybe even a favourite player — and Snapchat is leveraging the fact that players are hard to access due to their celebrity status.

The use of Snapchat helps the league to build and retain a young fanbase, and by pairing the coverage of events with collaborating with the star players for videos… the possibilities really are endless.

  1. GrubHub

For those of you that aren’t aware, GrubHub is an online food ordering company that is featured in over 900 cities and has access to ordering from 35,000 restaurants.

Snapchat works for this brand because it’s revolved around food. GrubHub has used Snapchat to find themselves summer interns with “Snapchat Skillz.” They posted a six-image slideshow story explaining to interested candidates how to apply and when the deadline was.


This definitely was a smart reach-out method as the people interested in the position would be in Snapchat’s main user age. By adding the picture and doodle element as a requirement to the application, it showcased a fun and personable side their brand.

  1. Free People

Free People is a Bohemian clothing store that uses Snapchat to give their fans sneak peaks at new collections and allows them behind- the-scenes in the company office. The also optimize their audience-company interaction by asking about their weekend plans or on Question Wednesdays, they send out the most pressing questions such as “If you were an alien, what would you look like?”

So why does this technique work? Free People’s snaps are exclusive and provide unique engagement that helps strengthen the bond between the brand and the fans.

How Snapchat can be spliced into your marketing arsenal this year 

You can use Snapchat in many different ways, it all just depends on what fits into your business’ branding strategy.

Here are 4 ways to use Snapchat for your business:

  1. Provide Access to Live Events

Real-time social media marketing is made possible with Snapchat as it can provide your audience with direct access to live events. The use of Snapchat gets your audience excited since you are providing a unique and authentic view of what is going on at an event. This type of treatment could be used when you are at trade shows or fundraisers and even for little victories like reaching the 1,000th customer to shop in your store.

  1. Deliver Private Content 

When you use Snapchat you have to make sure that you provide unique content that isn’t just repurposed from your Facebook or LinkedIn page. You have to convince them that viewing your stories will be worth their time. Think of something exclusive to surprise your community and that will ultimately gain you more followers.

  1. Take People Behind the Curtain

Behind-the-scenes content is all the rage within the multimedia community. This simple technique of bringing your audience behind the curtain helps create and engage a strong following. It allows your brand to differentiate itself from competitors with your company culture. A few ideas to get you started include company outings, what the office is like on a Friday afternoon or even birthday parties for one of your staff members.

  1. Partner With Influencers 

In order to spread awareness to your targeted demographic, you can first consider partnering with an influencer. This type of practice can be seen on Instagram and other social media channels. With this partnership you are able to expand you brand awareness and reach. Be sure to pick your influencers carefully since you want to make sure they fit to your brand but, remember that they are an influencer for a reason and their video or picture content can further enhance your company’s personality and voice overall.

If you are interested in taking your company to the next level by integrating Snapchat into your social media strategy, then following the tips provided will send you well on your way. Emphasizing your company’s culture in new, fun ways keeps your audience coming back for more. The culture of your content is important but so is the culture of your company’s content.

We can help with that! Download our free eBook for tips to reignite and further your brand’s digital presence.


Julie Ford

About Julie Ford

Julie founded and leads Glance Marketing in downtown Toronto and has been a content marketer for more than 10 years.

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