SnapChat for Business: Can it be a viable marketing tool?

Feb 10, 2014
Jason Baumann


First of all, I would like to welcome you to the new blog of Boxless Media. We built our new site to be an online resource of the latest information about social media strategy, platforms and tactics. Today we talk about SnapChat – a social media platform that truly sparked my curiosity. I think I use SnapChat almost every day with some friends but have often wondered about its possibilities for business marketing. Contrary to my initial belief, I think there are some applications where SnapChat can be used to communicate quite effectively with clients.

Let’s start with a quick description of SnapChat for those who are not familiar. SnapChat is an app for Android or iOS operating system-enabled mobile devices that redefine how people share special moments. Take a picture or video, add a caption or doodle, and then send it to friends. You friend’s can view it for a set amount of time (up to 10 seconds) and then the content disappears forever. Recipients can take screen shots, but if they do, the sender is notified.

As the Android market describes it, “It’s about the moment, a connection between friends in the present, and not just a pretty picture.” The videos are rough, the picture quality is not the best, but the way SnapChat let’s you effortlessly share photos and videos and that makes it worth it. If you are quick with your phone, you can screenshot any important pics and save them to your phone’s image gallery.

SnapChat is insanely popular in young adults. 26% of young adults ages 18-29 reported using Snapchat, however the percentage plummets in users over 30.  As of December 2013, SnapChat had around 6o million installs, which was more than Instagram had when it was sold to Facebook. Of those 60 million installs, 30 million are considered to be active users. Of the active user, more than 50% or 15 million people use it every day. Each day more than 400 million snaps are shared. These are some very impressive numbers.

There are some organizations that are doing well on SnapChat.  I thought in order to show you how to succeed using this platform, I would take you through how those organizations are using snaps.

    1. Taco Bell. In April 2013, Taco Bell became one of the first consumer brands (and probably the largest) to join SnapChat. They tweeted a message to @SnapChat on Twitter, “We Should Chat.” SnapChat responded to @TacoBell, “Yes, we should. Just had a delicious Doritos locos taco last nite :)”. It was the beginning of a great relationship. Later that day, Taco Bell announced its screen name asking people to friend them and wait for another exciting announcement. The next day, they introduced the Beefy Crunch Burrito. For Taco Bell, it has become an effective way to make people think about Taco Bell and announce new products.


    1. New Orleans Saints. In October 2013, the New Orleans Saints created a SnapChat account only to use its Stories feature, but after seeing success, expanded its use for more frequent snaps. The team would send out behind-the-scenes footage and shout-outs from players, photos of new merchandise and pictures of uniforms that the Saints would be wearing that coming week. A social media specialist followed the team, took snaps, recorded practices and messages from players and staff and snapped them to their audience. It worked extremely well and SnapChat became an integral part of their social media strategy.


SnapChat is different and prides itself on being different. Sure it would easy to let pictures and video last forever, but it is not different. Sure it would be easy to build a way of connecting with new followers, but it is not different. Illustrating on top of your pictures is different. SnapChat is different and I think that is why it has done well. If your organization wants to be different and reach out to customers in a way that many others aren’t, SnapChat may be an option.


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