snapchat: for brands!

A lot of people have heard of Snapchat, but might not necessarily understand how it works. Essentially, it is a phone application that allows users to send each other photos and messages that only appear for a maximum of ten seconds, and then “disappear.”(Users can screenshot images sent to them, although it can be difficult, and senders will receive notice that their image has been captured.) This application has received a lot of criticism, especially since a security breach this month which released millions of user phone numbers onto the internet. (Read about how they are improving security here.)

The app has gained a lot of traction over the past year, turning down multi-billion offers from Facebook and Google, and becoming one of the most popular iPhone apps among younger generations. As with most new technologies, marketers and advertisers are looking for new ways to use the app to their advantage.

HBO was quick to jump on the Snapchat train this month with an account for their hit show “Girls.” The show’s target market is primarily girls in their 20’s, making Snapchat an ideal platform to appeal to new and loyal viewers. Snapchats from the account encourage prolonged engagement with the show’s characters and plot lines, and Snapchat users have screenshotted and shared images from the account on multiple platforms, giving the posts more reach.

Other brands have made good use of the platform as well, including Taco Bell, and 16 Handles. Instagram has implemented a similar feature, “Direct,” which allows users to send messages directly to one another instead of sharing with all of their followers, but it doesn’t have the same “disappearing” effect. Snapchat allows brands to engage with their fan base on a personal level, and the time restrictions force people to get creative.  (The release of the Snapchat Stories allows for longer time slots, but stories still only appear for 24 hours after they are recorded, and many users are deterred by longer videos and images.) The platform is ideal for a targeted, precise marketing approach, and most of all, it’s fun!

Is Snapchat the right platform for your brand? Still not convinced? Take a look at some of these hilarious and awesome Snapchats and consider adding to your social media repertoire!