Cheat Sheet: Marketing with Snapchat

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By Honey Comer

Just under two weeks ago, Snapchat introduced advertising to the platform, and now brands can’t stop buzzing about the update. It’s the latest development for a social network that seems to be rapidly evolving, and many marketers are left wondering what it all means to their bottom lines.

To get you started, here’s a crash course on two of the newest features and practical ways to make them work for you.

Our Story

“We wanted to build something that offered a community perspective – lots of different points of view. After all, our friends often see the same things in totally different ways.” - Snapchat

What it is:

“Our Story” launched this past summer, giving users the first real opportunity to explore snaps from outside of their immediate circle of friends.  These collaborative stories allow multiple users at a single “event” to contribute to the snap. Past events have included music festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival and broader, multi-venue celebrations such as  "College Game Day".

How to use it:

This feature uses location services to ensure that users are actually at an event (or on a campus) before they can contribute to the narrative. It’s about telling a bigger story using very personal experiences, so avoid planting overt messaging that will disrupt this space. A better strategy might be to focus on creating a great moment, and then trusting fans to tell a powerful and earnest story about it.

Paid Advertising

We want to see if we can deliver an experience that’s fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted. It’s nice when all of the brilliant creative minds out there get our attention with terrific content.” - Snapchat

What it is:

For now, Snapchat’s pay-to-play space lives under the umbrella of “Stories,” an area that allows users to choose when (or if) they view a snap and for how long. This differs only slightly from traditional stories (where Taco Bell made an early splash), in that the message is shared with users who aren’t necessarily “friends” with a brand.

How to use it:

Spoiler alert: Content is everything.

Okay, so maybe this isn’t breaking news to seasoned social media folks, but in the world of Snapchat you’ll rarely get a second chance to get it right. While it’s exciting to think that curious users are actively choosing to play your snaps, they also have the ability to move on to the next thing with a quick lift of a finger (or ignore it all together). Reward those short attention spans with exclusive and engaging content the first time around, and they’ll be back for more.

BONUS: 7 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do on Snapchat

What are some other tips for using Snapchat as a marketer?  Tell us in the comments below!