Chances are, you’ve heard of Snapchat. It’s also likely that Snapchat isn’t a platform you use yourself, meaning you might not know how your brand could benefit from having an account. Here we’re going to go over the basics of Snapchat and why you should include it in your marketing strategy.

Snapchat Basics

Let’s start with the basics. Snapchat is a platform for sharing pictures and videos, called “snaps”. Users can send them directly to their friends or post them to their story. Snapchat became popular because unlike other channels, it’s highly ephemeral. Snaps can be displayed for up to 10 seconds and they disappear after they’re viewed. If they’re posted directly to a story, they last for 24 hours. Snaps can be screenshotted, but the creator of the snap is notified when a screenshot is taken. In addition to individual stories, there are also featured stories based on popular events, holidays, or even location where users can post their snaps.

It’s important to note that content on Snapchat is less formalized than other platforms you might already be using. Most users choose to post content that shows their everyday life rather than big life events. Even though content appears less formalized, you should still create a strategy and treat it with the same level of integrity you would treat any of the other platforms your brand uses.

When creating snaps, users can choose filters. There are filters that the user can choose while taking the picture. These filters typically use facial recognition and augmented reality to go over the face. There are also filters that users can add after they’ve taken the picture or video. There is a wide variety of these, including filters that are always present like temperature and time, filters that change with the time of day and geofilters. As you can probably tell by the name, geofilters change based on the user’s location. They may reflect the city the user is in or even a more specific location. Depending on the size of your business, there may be a geofilter for it already.

How Can You Use Snapchat

Now, let’s talk about why you should include Snapchat in your marketing strategy. Snapchat has millions of active users each month and is used by a majority of millennials. It’s a great way to build connections with your millennial users and it requires minimal effort on your part for wide results. Here are two ways you can utilize Snapchat to build connections with your customers:

Sponsored filters: Both types of Snapchat filters allow for sponsorships. Geofilters are particularly great for this because they’re relatively inexpensive and you can get creative with the design. People like to use geofilters in their snaps to show off their location. When they use your filter, it shows up on their story and any location based stories they post to as well. To keep people checking back on your filter, you can continuously change them out and keep them fresh. If you’re having a special event at your business, you can even create a filter for that event. The people attending will be happy to show it off in their story to all their friends.

Maintaining an account: Creating your own Snapchat account is a great way to build connections with your customers. Because people tend to post more casually on snapchat, the platform lends itself to a more casual and relaxed feel. With your account, you can give your customers a “behind-the-scenes” look at things going on at your business. Do you have a new attraction opening? You can tease at it by showing short snippets or photos of it leading up to its opening. Does your business have an offseason? You can make your customers feel like they’re really in the park by showing clips of what goes on while guests aren’t roaming around. Whatever you choose to feature on your account, Snapchat is a great opportunity to give your customers an “exclusive” look into your business and make them feel more connected to you.

If we haven’t convinced you yet that Snapchat is important to your marketing strategy, we should also note that both Instagram and Facebook have added features similar to the Snapchat story. You could apply many of the same ideas from your Snapchat strategy to your Instagram or Facebook strategy. You could even use those features on Instagram or Facebook for cross-promoting and advertise for something big happening on your Snapchat channel.

These are just a few of the things you can do with Snapchat! There is room for creativity and large reach if you know how to effectively manage your channel. Happy snapping!