Social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, can help you increase your sales and grow your markets. And while these platforms are widely used in virtually every industry, Snapchat (now Snap) is another social networking site that is worth considering.

Snapchat may not work for all businesses, but it can be a powerful branding tool with 150 million users worldwide. Not kidding about the younger generations; we’re outside the Snap generation, and it took us a while to figure out just how to make a snap. We’re still learning features (mostly from our millennial and Gen Z kids) and continue to learn new ways to use the application every day. But the branding potential is off the charts for companies wanting to engage with loyal and/or local fans.

Custom Stories

Marketing Potential of Snap for Business


Event marketing lets you give your fans access to your events. Essentially, your users will do the advertising for you. This was something the NFL used last season, allowing Snapchat users to compile stories of individual games. The NFL has extended their partnership with Snapchat for several years. Link Snapchat to other social media platforms during live events, and you have a recipe for success.

Snap Ads & Geofilters

10-second ad spots appear between stories and are highly customizable to your audience (think: in-store sales, product highlights, event promotion). Geofilters can cost as little as $5. They are the little graphics that users can add to images. For example, we live in Bath, New York (607 area code). We can snap a picture and add the geofilter for our location; this can be a huge boon for local businesses from restaurants and gyms to hotels and casinos, to sports and entertainment venues. Sky Zone successfully used Snapchat to increase visibility and engagement with Snapchat. Even national parks can get in on the action and promote their location. Sponsored geofilters, which can cost hundreds, are great for national brands that want to increase engagement.

Snapchat Sponsored Lens

Snapchat sponsored lenses allow you to build brand awareness and engage with fans in a fun way. Whether through art graphics by location or an interactive snap, users are paying more attention to your brand while simultaneously advertising to others what they are doing or interested in. There is nothing more authentic than users documenting in the moment, and Snapchat is rolling out new features all the time. Starbucks had success using Snapchat filters, with a Starbucks-themed unicorn filter used to introduce its new flavor (something our daughter and granddaughter enjoyed immensely).

Factors to Consider when using Snap for Business

Quick, one-time images

Advertisers traditionally want to share print or digital images that can be seen and referenced repeatedly, so buying into the idea of messages that appear and almost-immediately disappear can be difficult. However, Snapchat users understand that the time to view the images is brief, so they tend to pay more attention when they first see them – and they tend to record the important points more often than on other social media sites. This active involvement with the marketing message may yield higher results for those who are interested in the product or service being marketed.

Once the snap is opened, it cannot be automatically saved. Audio or video can be replayed if necessary, but the “replay” feature is only available once per snap. A screenshot can be easily taken if the user is does so within the 10 seconds of the snap, but unless the user has downloaded a video recorder, the videos are not available to be saved. This goes beyond the ease of social media use, so it is unlikely that a Snapchat user will take the time to record every single video. However, if they choose to do so, users are able to differentiate a picture from a video, as a picture will show in your feed as a red box while a video will show as a purple box.  Despite the disadvantage, this is still slotted as a pro due to the “My story” feature within Snapchat. This will place your snaps in the “Stories” tab for 24 hours, able to be replayed by users an unlimited amount of times.

Quick-hitting video

More than any other social medium, Snapchat can take advantage of young consumers’ lack of desire to focus on extended messaging. It replaces the traditional commercial with a quick-hitting video snippet that grabs a user’s attention without making the user stop what he or she is doing for more than a few seconds. In an age of rampant multi-tasking, this can be a powerful plus. This is true, especially, if the video used is unique.

For example, you can use a time-lapse visual that shows creation of a product over time– or one that shows diverse employees describing your services in one-word soundbites – or highlights your social consciousness or compelling company culture – or any other approach that is geared toward consumers who see the world in visual snippets. Even quite savvy traditional ads can risk losing the attention of younger generations; Snapchat solves this issue extremely well.

New Audiences, New Features

From partnering with NBC to do a daily news show to Snap Maps, Snap continues to roll out new features to make it more attractive for marketing. The new Snap maps may prove to revolutionize local marketing, if done well.

A final thought on using Snap for business: authenticity is essential

The majority of Snapchat users are millennials and Gen Z. Marketing directly to these generations on their phones is one of the best ways to reach these tech savvy and cutting-edge consumers. But they, more than any other generations, demand authenticity. And Snap users in general love candid moments that are not produced.

Quick response times and a multitude of snaps are needed to properly establish a fanbase. The implementation and management of Snapchat may require a dedicated marketer to manage oversight, and you’ll want to encourage employees to take part in building your brand’s story, which may require social media policy development and strategy planning. Should CEOs jump on Snap? Maybe not. But marketing teams should consider the platform for engaging with specific markets.