How Snapchat is Changing the Way We do Business

Many of us view Snapchat as a passing fad for younger generations, but it is apparent that this (formerly controversial) app is making us re-evaluate the way we look at and use Social Media.

Snapchat started as a photo-messaging app that allowed users to take photos and videos, add text and drawings and send them to a chosen group of recipients. In the past 18 months, Snapchat has upped their interactive game, launching their Stories and Discover platforms.  These platforms have proven to be fresh ground for companies to market and brand themselves. With Stories, users can upload longer content that can be viewed for 24 hours (as opposed to the standard “one-and-done” viewing option available previously). Discover is a 24-hour broadcast of your story, not only to your followers but also to the entire Snapchat audience[i].

Brands identify a new audience

With about 100 million active daily users[ii], Snapchat has become a marketer’s dream tool. Many big brands have joined Snapchat’s Discover platform including CNN, BuzzFeed, iHeartRadio and National Geographic, just to name a few.  These companies are using Snapchat as a connector to Millennials by using lightweight advertising and content-driven branding that is visually appealing and easily accessible.  This platform is forcing brands to change how they advertise, distribute content and engage their audiences.

Used effectively, Snapchat can be an impressive tool for marketing strategies. For example, companies like Taco Bell and McDonald’s are using Snapchat to hold contests for their customers.  By asking customers to take a photo or video using their products for a chance at a reward, companies are interacting with their audience and making their customers feel more connected to the brand. As the first advertiser to pay for ad space within Snapchat, film industry giant Universal Studios became a prime example of measurable success with the app. The powerhouse studio used Snapchat Stories to produce two 20-second ads for the films Ouija and Furious 7.  Ouija saw a 60% approval rating, which is three times the norm. Snapchatters who watched the ad of Furious 7 were three times more likely to actually see the film[iii].

Hospitality companies connect with influencers

Snapchat is changing the way we travel, too. The tourism and traveling industry is one with highly visual selling points. Marriott Hotels was one of the first pioneer hotel brands to jump on Snapchat for more than simply advertising.  In 2014, Marriott started a campaign to send four social media influencers around the world to various Marriott locations to document their journeys. Marriott then showcased their content on their official Snapchat channel. The influencers created a two-way conversation with their followers about the hotel and the destination city where it resides.

The influencers were talking to their own followers, but Marriott was facilitating and helping to tell the story. By doing so, Marriott was able to engage the younger demographic relying more on mobile technology to determine where and when they should travel. By using these influencers, Marriott was hoping to gain a new audience and more followers for their hotel brand. “The majority of brands are using Snapchat to push out ads, we’re actually partnering with influencers to co-create content, said David Beebe, a spokesperson for Marriott’s creative content marketing. “Our overall strategy is first content, then community, and both of those lead to commerce. Commerce can mean a lot of things. But ultimately our goal is giving consumers what they want, and they will in turn give value back to us.”[iv]

Recruiters reach out on Snapchat

Additionally, Snapchat is a great example of a non-traditional platform for companies looking to hire new candidates. With 71% of users under the age of 25[v], Snapchat is allowing companies to connect with their applicants and offer them space for creativity when pitching for a position instead of simply submitting resumes through the standard “black hole” job board. It also serves as a great way to assess the communication skills of a candidate.  However, companies using this as a recruitment tool must know their targeted audience; using Snapchat for hiring is ideal if you are ultimately looking for young, creative types or marketing and social media professionals.

Snapchat has proven to be a valuable tool for brands and businesses seeking more creative ways to speak directly to consumers and potential employees.  In under two years, Snapchat has gone from rogue photo app and scandal starter to a legitimate content creation and sharing platform for the always elusive Millennial demographic – and companies are getting the hint.

Looking forward

2016 just may be the year of Snapchat for brands. The social media platform already has 36 brands to date under their discovery umbrella, and we should expect many more to jump on the band wagon. Snapchat will help elevate brands into their next marketing and advertising chapters as well as reach a new, younger audience.  So the next time you’re enjoying happy hour at a networking event, mention the “Why Snapchat?” question – it may even land you a new job.

[i] Signs that it’s time to get your brand on Snapchat;

[ii] Why Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel is our Digital Executive of the Year;

[iii] How Snapchats impact is felt in three different industries;


[v] A Recruiter’s Handbook Guide to Snapchat;


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