When I was asked to write this blog I had obviously heard of Snapchat but I didn't have an account yet. Realizing I would need the app to get a better understanding of the platform, I went to the App Store and downloaded it.

Formally, I criticized my friends for wasting time sharing foolish images with one another... I quickly found myself doing the same.

Snapchat allows you to connect instantly, sharing our experiences in real time rather than having to relive a moment later online.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel explains;

"Internet Everywhere means that our old conception of the world separated into an online and an offline space is no longer relevant. Traditional social media required that we live experiences in the offline world, record those experiences, and then post them online to recreate the experience and talk about it. We simply live and communicate at the same time."

Living in the age of "More-Personal Computer" as Spiegel puts it, it is hard to deny the truth of his statement. Social media platforms and share-friendly apps are making it easier and easier to connect with friends and family via the virtual world.

But what about for marketers?

If you're targeting 13-25 year-olds, Snapchat could be a pretty good bet. Sharing over 400 million images/messages each day, this is a generation that isn't afraid of exchanging a #ShamlessSelfie or two, and appears to be fairly open-minded when targeted with new marketing strategies. Being in their space and interacting the same way they do with friends (not to mention in a cost effective way), has to be a marketer's dream.

With a set time restriction only allowing users to view snaps for up to 10 seconds within a 24-hour time span, the images disappear once viewed, or so we hope.

So how does one go about using the (currently) most successful app for real-time communication? We've got some ideas:

Preview A New Product

Giving your following a sneak preview of a new product is a great way to generate buzz and create hype around a future offering that has yet to become available. Set your new product up for success by offering teasers leading to the products arrival or launch date.

Many successful food chains such as 16 Handles and Taco Bell have capitalized on using Snapchat as a fun way to let fans in on an exciting secret.


Offer Mobile Coupons Or Discounts

Pair your efforts with your other social platforms to share special offers and discounts. Encourage followers to send a snap of them enjoying using, eating, or sharing your product and reward them with a snap back that offers a limited time offer.

This will not only help build your online followings but create customer loyalty by offering value to exclusive customers only.

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Run A Contest

Similar to offering coupons or discounts, a chance to win can be a great opportunity to grow your following. Make your rules simple so it's easy for users to enter your contest and watch your engagement grow.

1. Ask followers to upload an image related to your brand

2. Create a hashtag for fans to use as part of your contest

3. Have followers tag their friends to help grow your following even more

Here's an example of what Chat Sports did in a recent campaign. They had users tag 3 friends along with their hashtag for a chance to win tickets to a sports game. Within 48 hours they received 150 responses!


Behind The Sceens

Offering a behind the sceens look at your brand is a another way to create fan loyalty. By sharing content that is available to a limited number of followers you'll create a feeling of exclusivity, and who doesn't love that?

Snapchat allows brands to send a combination of 5-second video and image, this is an easy way to add some personality to an otherwise boring industry and put a face behind your brand.


Holiday Sales And Savings

The holidays are obviously a great way to promote your products during such a busy season and help keep your brand on the minds of consumers.

With that said, don't forget that there are many lesser known holidays each month like Cheese Doodle Day or Pillow Fight Day. Send coupon codes or offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount.


Since the app can only generate snaps 10 seconds in length, use your other social platforms to increase the success and engagement your snaps receive.

Will you be using Snapchat as part of your marketing efforts? Let us know in the comments below!