You may have heard the recent news about a $3 billion offer that was refused by a small company Facebook was trying to buy. That company is the maker of the Snapchat app, available on Android and IOS.
How is this news relevant to you? We’re here to help you establish if your brand can utilize this app with a successful business model that surrounds it, or if it is simply another venue to place advertising, much like what Twitter, Instagram, and Google Adwords has become.
First off, a quick synopsis, for those not in the know: Snapchat is a peer-to-peer photo sharing network. It’s the equivalent of sharing a Multimedia Messaging Service message (MMS or “texting a picture”) from one person to another (or to a group of people). Basically, user 1 can quickly snap a photograph and send it to user 2 (or a bunch of users at the same time). What makes this app unique is the architecture of the communication. Once the image is initially opened, it lasts for a total of 1-10 seconds. There’s no pausing it, and once it’s gone, c’est la vie. Additionally unique is the fact that you can’t send a photo to someone you haven’t agreed to be friends with. That means you can’t send them in bulk to strangers.
Snapchat has made some news based on the fact that it prides itself on privacy. In this new age where everything you do on the Internet is watched and recorded, Snapchat went in the opposite direction and built a system that was supposed to offer complete privacy. However, people were abusing Snapchat to send risqué or pornographic messages to each other without remembering that anything that can be viewed can be recorded by outside means. So while it isn’t completely private digitally speaking, it’s the closest we have to The Mission Impossible: “This message will self destruct in 10 seconds.”
So, how does a company take advantage of this exponentially growing user base? The only way you can use Snapchat is on a mobile device; desktops don’t cut it. Secondly, you have to start adding friends. The concept of friends is a two-way street; you both must agree to the relationship. Therefore, you have to be ready to offer a significant reward for signing up (Significant doesn’t mean expensive; it means meaningful).
Next, your establishments must be capable of handling a discount or promotion without a paper coupon. A simple flash of a phone must suffice. Whether you keep paper coupons under the counter, or you program your cash register to have a Snapchat button, you’ve got to make it easy for the customer.
Finally, you have to warn people. If you’re going to give a promotion through a Snapchat, the first message should be akin to, “WAIT FOR IT: The next Snapchat we send is your coupon, so don’t open it until you’re ready to use it!!” The last thing you want to have happen is someone receive a coupon, that self destructs before he or she can use it. Then, within five minutes of the first message, a second message should go out, with the actual coupon in it. The customer will then use that coupon on his or her next visit to your establishment.
Snapchat allows you to know when things are being opened and used. Therefore, you can see when your customers are most likely to take advantage of a promotion. This information may help you skew the types of discounts you run in the future.
Overall, Snapchat is a relatively new form of marketing, and is aimed mostly at the youth and the trendsetters. If you want to target these types of people, we recommend building a strategy around it. If you’re not sure how to start, contact us today. We’ve got the ideas.