Since its debut in 2011, Snapchat has cemented itself as a major social platform player, especially with millennials and Generation Z. 60 percent of Instagram’s users are under 25, and nearly a quarter have not yet graduated from high school, making its largest age demographic 18-24 year olds. As for gender, in 2013, The Wall Street Journal reported that nearly 70% of users were women. Who (mostly) runs the Snapchat world? Girls.
Snapchat provides more of an unscripted dialogue with consumers compared to Facebook or Instagram. It’s a marketing playground, where creativity and engagement roam free. Eric Steele, the creative director at Wieden + Kennedy, a renowned ad agency with many successful Snapchat campaigns under its belt, nails the point well: “A lot of [brands] are using it as another broadcasting medium. Knowing the way people organically use Snapchat, it’s much more of a two-way conversation.” Snapchat is a busy marketing platform, but introducing the Stories feature has dramatically upped its marketing ante. In 2013, Taco Bell jumped on the friendly ghost’s bandwagon and became the first brand to use Stories for marketing. Three years later, they broke another milestone on the app.
When the fast food chain created a taco filter for Cinco de Mayo, suddenly millions of people could use a filter and turn their heads into giant tacos. Depending on how much you love Taco Bell, the overwhelming response was surprising: their taco takeover was the top campaign in Snapchat’s history; it was viewed 224 million times in ONE day. Taco Bell also notably used the platform to launch their Quesalupa (a cheese stuffed chalupa).
In other non-chalupa related news, big-time brands such as Sephora, the NBA and Starbucks also provide followers with invaluable content. While there are many ways you can engage and retain customers on the app, encouraging authentic interaction is a great way to begin.
Exclusive Rewards Satisfy All Stomachs
Most people who enjoy takeout/have access to the Internet, have heard of GrubHub, the online food ordering brand. In 2013, the company used their snapchat to promote a giveaway, while also promoting user generated content into their Stories. GrubHub reported a 20% increase in followers, which later boded well for their delicious Wall Street debut.
We’re guessing GrubHub is aware that many people order takeout to avoid human interactions, but on social media, the company’s followers can’t get enough of the pleasantries. Dialogue with followers is at the base of their strategy and they frequently ask users to respond to their snaps. One story asked followers to send a snap of a “food doodle” to win a prize. In return for their participation, GrubHub offers followers coupons, giveaways, contests and promotional codes.
Heineken is also in on the rewards program. They frequently provide users with exclusive content following interactions. During the 2014 Coachella, the brand held a “Heineken Snap Who” contest where followers had to correctly guess the artist performing at the Heineken House Stage.
Snapchatters received clues for the secret lineup of concerts, gaining access to who was performing on any given day. If the user correctly guessed the clue (which could be a cropped photo of an artist’s clothing), they officially got an early confirmation and unofficially, exclusive bragging rights over other music fans.
Snapchat isn’t for everyone. Before taking on another marketing channel, consider carefully whether your audience are spending their social network time on the platform. If you’re targeting the wearers of comfort shoes, you may want to hold off Snapchat marketing for a while. But if you’re invested in the coming-of-age population, take heed. GrubHub and Heineken may have millions of followers, but all companies can engage with their users if they just remember a few of golden rules of Snapchat:
- Commit to a less glossy and carefully manufactured channel of communication
- Encourage followers to snap you back
- Create a Geo filter users can play around with and taco bout (sorry)
- Ask customers to share their experiences with you and send photos or stories of themselves using your product
- Ask engaging questions. In one of their stories, Marriott International asked their followers: “If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?”
When using Snapchat, stay on top of your campaigns and look for opportunities for engagement on the fly. Use the app as a way to give a “no filter” (pun intended) look into your company and how you operate. Get creative when thinking of stories, contests, etc. Offer incentives for Snapchatters to snap you back, and above all, take some risks. The timed content that eventually disappears after a while is an ideal platform to test many different strategies. Customer engagement in a… okay, okay we won’t say it.