You have probably heard of many teens talk about Snap chat or seen those puppy filter’s around other social media platforms, but maybe aren’t sure if it’s for adults let alone a business or what it is or how it works.

Don’t freak out, Snapchat has been around since 2011, it has only started to catch the eye and attention of brands in the last few years. And most small businesses and companies have only now started to explore how to tap into this fast-growing social network.

Snapchat is a mobile messaging application used to share photos or videos that only last for a brief amount of time.

As Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel explains,

“Snapchat really has to do with the way photographs have changed. Historically photos have always been used to save really important memories: major life moments. But today… pictures are being used for talking.”

The social media app offers a sneak peek into the future of mobile marketing. Users can send texts or ‘snaps’ that arrive into the recipient’s inbox with a time limit. The sender decides how long the receiver has to view the content of the message (the time is between 1 to 10 seconds), after which the message self-destructs. This helps brands promote a sense of urgency (a cornerstone of sales) while providing consumers an air of exclusivity.

The urgency, experience, and channel of delivery makes Snapchat real fun to use.

Snapchat has shown that it can be really valuable to businesses who have the audience there and the right strategies in place. Because numbers can speak for themselves, here are some statistics that show the potential value of marketing on Snapchat:

  • An estimated 200 million monthly active users send 700 million photos or videos each day, with approximately 500 million views per day (this study is different than Snapchat’s which said there are 8+ billion video views a day).
  • Snapchat has approximately 100 million daily active users
  • Snapchat reaches11% of the US’s entire digital population. This might not seem like much, but when you consider how massive that population is, that’s still a decent reach.
  • Snapchat was always among the top 13 apps downloaded overall (and sometimes in the top 3 for photo and video apps) throughout the full year of 2015.
  • Snapchat was worth $16 billion as of May 2015.
  • Snapchat has more users than Twitterand grew as much in one year as Twitter did in four years total.
  • 76% of Snapchat user’s also online shoppers.
  • Snapchat’s daily users are spending an average of 30 minutes a day in the app.
We all love giveaways- so start here!

Snapchat’s time-limit feature makes it a great platform for giveaways because you can leverage urgency to engage your audience. Apart from promoting the giveaway on other social media platforms to gain new followers, you can use

Snapchat to directly ask your audience to participate by sending in their entries, and then reply to them directly to create one-on-one interaction.


You can create a series of snaps or sponsored stories to build anticipation for a giveaway. This would spread the word about your brand organically. You can ask followers to participate by:

  • Submitting their name and email
  • Inviting their friends to follow you on Snapchat
  • Answering a question
  • Entering a contest or scavenger hunt

Don’t forget to use emoji’s, something which is a major part of the texting language of the 18-35s age bracket. If you speak in the right language without seeming condescending or desperate, Snapchat users won’t mind engaging with your brand. You’d also want to use a hashtag to help the content gain traction. That’s because hashtags are easy to share and other users on Snapchat can start following your brand if it starts trending. Taco bell adds where a hit with this. According to

“Taco Bell’s Nicholas Tran said Snapchat followers are ‘crazy engaged.’ When the brand sends a Snap, 90 percent of friends who open a message view it in its entirety, and these can be five-minute-long digital photo-video collages, he added.”

We all love giveaways- so start here!

In a way, Snapchat echoes the early appeal of social media. Social media provided an avenue to connect with your customers in an unfiltered, unmediated way. Across the most populated platforms, the signal-to-noise ratio has become less favourable for brands, advertising has emerged as the top priority, and algorithms determine how much of your audience you can reach. Snapchat is personal and an intimate way to connect with the people that are interested in what you’re doing.

Businesses should not offer the same content on multiple platforms. The content you create on Facebook will usually be a bit more direct and informational. Instagram tends to be a bit more curated. The evanescent nature of Snapchat allows you to offer a look behind the scenes, or at works in progress, in order for people to get an insider look at how your business runs.

We all love giveaways- so start here!

As the platform is mainly used by a young audience, you need to relate to this demographic, many companies aren’t doing yet is to provide real time assistance or interactions in 2-10 second photos or videos.


Let’s say a user snaps you a photo of your product still in its packaging, saying it is too hard to unwrap. If there is a quick way to show them your product’s exclusive opener tab that makes it easy, a photo or video demonstrating it would be a great way to answer their question while also establishing your brand’s trust and dedication toward happy customers. It also doesn’t hurt to be proactive about it


The audience is more likely to engage with behind-the-scenes content because it isn’t planned or polished in advance as the content in a usual campaign. Instead, it shows your slice of life, with “this is who we are” type of snaps.

Behind-the-scenes content could be:

  • Images of staff having fun
  • Glimpse into the company culture
  • Teaser of a product launch
  • Guided tour of an event
We all love giveaways- so start here!

Snapchat allows you to send Snaps to your friends. Connect with your customers on Snapchat and offer them a coupon in the form of a Snap when they answer a call-to-action. Snapchat’s public facing tool to reach your entire audience is called Stories. Stories you create there will appear for 24 hours, to be replaced by the newest content you create over a 24hour time frame.

This keeps the mix exciting and focuses on spontaneity and moments over timelines and curated feeds. Try creating something for your Snapchat Story where you ask your customers to do something. Ask them to take a snap while using your product, or ask them to send you a snap with a funny doodle or caption with your product. In exchange, send them a coupon in the form of a Snap-send it directly to them. When doing your story, make sure it’s clear they know that they can’t look at it until they’re going to present the coupon to you (it will self-destruct once it’s viewed — though they will probably already know this as snappers). This means that they won’t know what the coupon is offering, so it’s up to you to make sure that it’s not a disappointing offer.

This would also be a great opportunity to cross-promote. You can mention (or even advertise) this offer on your other social media pages in order to grow your Snapchat following.

We all love giveaways- so start here!

The most important feature Snapchat has going for it is that not many companies are using it (though the numbers are increasing). If you jump start now, you will not only be a Snapchat pro by the time the rest of those in your field are still learning how to use it, but you’ll be able to exploit the latest features Snapchat releases, like building stories with multiple snaps, chat, and the ability to show breaking news (which is a feature Snapchat is currently working on).



Bonus: Preview new products

Once you have your fans and followers hooked, you have a chance to engage them with sneak peeks of new arrivals.

Generating hype about new collections and or products is a great way to ensure the sales fly high once the product is launched. Your Snapchat followers will be rushing into your store head-first to collect the latest items before anyone else does!


To “Snap” Out

Snapchat is a very different social platform compared to the rest. It provides businesses with a unique of reaching out to their target audience With a user base in the millions and a valuation of $10 billion, Snapchat is a viable social platform that shouldn’t be ignored by most businesses.

Download Snapchat today and get started!


Written by Prisha Debipersad, Prisha has a love for travel and has lived in Germany and Australia, gaining work and life experience along the way. Being proudly South African she is happy to be back on her home ground. She currently is completing her masters degree as well as providing valuable support to Prana as a Marketing Assistant. .