Snapchat: A social media app for business?

With a prime audience, Snapchat's non-invasive social channel lets your business promote products straight to the palm of customers' hands

What is Snapchat?

Snapchat is essentially a messaging app that using images and videos as its core medium.

You can add text to your image by clicking and typing, or drawing and graffitiing your message, before sending to a friend.


Snap of Growing Business’      ‘Snapsterpiece’ of Growing Business’
Young Guns magazine,           Young Guns magazine.
easily edited with Snapchat’s   Highlight features with
drawing feature to create       Snapchat’s fun graffiti-like ability
new shareable content

Snapchat is perhaps a surprise hit. In a world where our whole lives are now documented online, it seems funny that an app only displaying photos or videos for between one and 10 seconds before they disappear into the abyss should take off. But the app has nearly 100 million daily active users and is now valued at $19bn after its latest round of funding.

How does Snapchat work?

You can take a ‘snap’ using your smartphone’s camera – including selfie-mode – to take a photo or short video that you send to your contacts.

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If you want to share your snap publicly, and have it displayed for longer than the obligatory maximum of 10 seconds, you add it to My Story where your messages will display for 24hrs.

Stories are popular with celebs like rapper and entrepreneur Lethal Bizzle, whose infamous Denchat story (follow to see him buying a new car in London or partying in Spain) inspired his Rari Workout single.

Live stories appear in this section too. From public events, such as The Boat Race (including the first modern day women’s race) and tennis at Wimbledon, to city-wide stories (based on users’ location), snaps are curated by a moderator and streamed along with other content in this story so that users can share the experience wherever they are.


Stories on Snapchat include       Snap of Djokovic match at      Snapchat creates special stickers
ones from friends, people or      Wimbledon from a                   for users contributing to live
brands that you follow, and       SnapChat user in the crowd   stories, such as Wimbledon
live events, such as Wimbledon

The Snapchat Discover feature is where brands can really get to work with Snapchat on creative advertising campaigns. Made for mobile, Snapchat has embraced content being consistently vertical/portrait to allow for easy scrolling.

Snapchat’s Discover is the brand hub where creative advertising campaigns have really embraced mobile


Snapchat Discover allows      Food Network’s Snapchat         Snapchat Discover lets brands
Food Network’s channel        Discover channel has easily       like Food Network share fun
endless scrolling galleries      editable features videos             with a social audience

Why should I use Snapchat for my business?

If your target audience is between 13-34 year olds then Snapchat is an ideal social channel. Stats show that this age group is moving from “traditional” social media platforms such as Facebook to Snapchat in their droves (there’s even a non-shareable Snapkidz version for under 13s).

You can create fun job ads, broadcast your events, and promote your products all straight to the palm of your customer’s hand, in one of the most non-invasive ways possible.

Who else is using Snapchat?

Brands around the world are opening up their marketing efforts to include Snapchat. Big fast-food brands such as McDonalds and Taco Bell (active since 2013) have signed up, and so have websites like Search Engine Land and The Verge. MTV uses Snapchat to report live from the red carpet to interview celebrities at awards events.

MTV snapchat      MTV snapchat 2     

MTV’s Snapchat Story from   MTV uses Snapchat’s text     MTV using Snapchat stories
the ‘Trainwreck’ world           functions to comment on       share quick vox-pop style
premiere                                  its own video and image       interviews with celebrities like
content                                    Tilda Swinton

Whatever the size of your company, whether you’re based on or offline, Snapchat offers the same benefits – a personalised and informal way of sharing your brand’s story.

Any drawbacks?

Beware the accidental instant selfie and resulting screenshots! Reputations may have been hurt in the making of the article when I accidentally added an unintentional selfie to My Story.

Holly Hathaway is the social media expert at The Internet Works, a boutique digital agency in London. For more information contact the TIW team.


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