If you’re keeping up with the most insightful social media blogs and marketing podcasts, then you’ve probably heard that Snapchat is one of the most popular social media platforms for businesses these days. Why? There are plenty of unique opportunities for brands on Snapchat, from Snapchat video to creating custom geofilters to engage your audience and grow your following.
If you’re just thinking about getting into the Snapchat game, though, you’re probably wondering what you should be doing first. Before you dive right in feet first, there’s some crucial information Snapchat newbies need to now. To help you get started on the right foot, we reached out to a panel of Snapchat experts and asked them to answer this question:
“What is the most important first step in setting up an effective Snapchat for business account?”
Meet Our Panel of Social Media Pros & Snapchat Marketing Experts:
Jen is the Strategy Director at Kick Point, a marketing agency in Edmonton, Alberta. She hates wasting budget on things that aren’t being tracked, so she’s always pushing clients and teams towards goal setting and better reporting.
“The best first step on a list of numbered steps for effective Snapchat for businesses is more of a step zero: goal setting. Which of your overall organizational goals are you using Snapchat as a tool to help you meet? How will you track the impact of Snapchat? Does your data and analytics plan make it easy for you to track the impact Snapchat will have on your goals? If you skip this step zero, you risk throwing a bunch of time and money at something you cannot track.”
Evan Roberts is a real estate agent and owner of Dependable Homebuyers in Washington, DC.
“Snapchat is all about telling stories. To create traction for your business the first thing you need to do is come up with a compelling story about your brand.
- What motivates you?
- What brought on that ah ha moment?
- How do you want to change the world?
- What makes you stand out from the other businesses in your niche?
Kim Smith is the Content Marketing Manager with GoodFirms based out of Washington, DC. GoodFirms is a B2B research and review platform to help businesses find the best agencies, software or consultants to tackle their business challenges. Kim’s efforts have been featured in SEMRush, Business2Community, JeffBullas, and several other leading platforms.
“Snapchat is all about Stories, Lens and Filters – a USP in its own genre, which made Snapchat an instant hit. With the help of Augmented Reality, people can create and share fun photos with lenses. Leveraging this popularity, brands can sponsor product based lens – that users can show off, which encourages brand awareness. With augmented characters, advertising has become much more interesting as brand-mascots and brand-filters encourage users to interact with the content. Geofilters helps local businesses to connect with a local community, luring customers to their doorsteps for services and fun. With so much to offer, business marketers need to create and align their campaigns with the social media before setting up an account on Snapchat. Content efforts should include creating and sponsoring really cool AR images on Snapchat which go with the brand image and culture.”
Brandon Chopp is the Digital Manager for iHeartRaves, curators of all over print clothing and world leaders in festival fashion. Their eCommerce store currently grosses over $20M a year and has been featured in the Inc. 5000 four years in a row.
“The most important first step in setting up an effective Snapchat for business is keeping your Snapchat name consistent with your brand. Once you select a username, it can never be changed again, so it’s important to pick wisely. Also, you don’t want the account tied to one specific person at the company, as that could prevent access for future employees who need it. Once you have your account set up, there are many ways to utilize Snapchat for business. For example, you can connect with your audience geographically by creating custom Geo Stories. You can also implement Snapcodes in order to attract viewers back to your website. There’s also Snap Ads, if you prefer to use a paid option.”
“Step 1: Make sure you’re a good fit for Snapchat. Ask yourself whether your business is suited to Snapchat’s format. Dynamic, regularly changing businesses like coffee carts, fashion designers, and florists generate engaging content during their day to day. If your business doesn’t organically generate Snapchat content, you’ll likely burn out trying to fabricate enough original content each day.
“Before you even sign up for your business Snapchat account, take a hard look at your business and assess whether Snapchat will add value to your marketing goals. Businesses like event planning, cafés, and food trucks are uniquely suited for Snapchat as they cover several locations in a day and the dynamic nature of their day to day makes for engaging original snaps. On the flip side, a desk-based business like an accountancy firm would struggle to record interesting content (unless their office features a Google slide), and they would see better results on other social media platforms.
“Bottom Line: Are your business and Snapchat two peas in a pod? Make sure your business organically generates enough content on a daily basis to share via Snapchat. If not, you’ll likely burn out while trying to fabricate original content each day.”
Brittany Gamble is the Social Media Expert at MyCorporation.com.
“Before creating a Snapchat account for your business, it is essential that you identify how exactly you’re going to use the platform. Are you going to use this platform for solely product/service promotion, or are you going to lean towards a mixture of self-promotion and content that interests your audience?
“It’s also important to do research before you create your account and see if this platform is right for your industry. Depending on the industry and your audience, it may be a waste of time to spend hours developing content for Snapchat when your audience is on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.”
James Robinson is a Marketing Adviser with Iconic Genius who teaches small business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs how to generate high-quality leads for a living.
“The most important step is understanding your target audience. Are they even on Snapchat? Once you have that figured out the next step is having a really good graphic designer.
“It’s all about the graphics, and Snapchat’s free templates are not that great. So, hire a good graphic designer first.
“I also did a video a while back about how to get customers with Snapchat.”
Alyssa Mariano, assistant marketing manager for Kingspan, has been working in corporate communications and marketing in New York City and Dubai for over 7 years. Her expertise lies in public relations, employee engagement programs, and external communications / marketing.
“The most important first step in setting up an effective Snapchat for business account is undoubtedly choosing a username that not only works for your business in the present, but will continue to work for the business in the future. It’s important to choose a username that is very similar, if not the exact name, of your business, which will make it easier for customers to find and follow you, and engage with the account in the future.”
Jeff Miller is a real estate agent and owner of AE Home Group in Maryland.
“The number one thing that kills the growth of a business Snapchat account is a lack of fresh content. Even if you start strong, momentum is quickly lost if you don’t keep your audience engaged. Take some time and plan out the next 90 days of postings. This ensures you keep your account active during the most critical time you’re trying to grow.
“Pro Tip: Come up with a creative category for every day of the week. For example, you could use:
- Employee Highlight Sunday
- Motivational Monday
- Throwback Tuesday
- Local News Wednesday
- Transformation Thursday
- TGIF Friday
- Trivia Saturday
Elizabeth Bradshaw owns a boutique online wall art store. As a homebody, her philosophy is simple – curating a space that you love to come home to should be simple and enjoyable.
“The most important first step in setting up an effective Snapchat account for a business is determining if your audience is on Snapchat to begin with. Most Snapchat users are 18-30 years old – if your target demographic does not line up with that age range, this isn’t the platform for your business. In that case, it’s best to evaluate platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest before investing time in marketing to people that aren’t your ideal customers from the get-go.”
David Mitroff, Ph.D. is a business consultant, marketing expert and keynote speaker who founded Piedmont Avenue Consulting, Inc., where he advises on leveraging new technology to create brand awareness, strengthen loyalty, and streamline processes with proven results.
“Having an effective marketing campaign on Snapchat is all about recognizing your target audience.
“When it comes to business, Snapchat is a relatively new way to effectively market your product or service with quick results. Since the lifespan of a Snapchat public post, also known as a story, is 24 hours, businesses can leverage exposure due to high levels of user interaction. In other words, Snapchatters don’t want to miss a story, so they check their app more frequently to make sure they don’t skip a beat. This high level of user interaction is why Snapchat is so enticing to business owners and social media experts.
“The most important first step a business can take to utilize the effectiveness of Snapchat is recognizing their target audience. For starters, Snapchat is, without a doubt, used by Millennials and Generation Z the most. With that being said, your post campaigns should be targeted to more of a younger audience, preferably under 30. Therefore, the content companies are sharing on their Snapchat account need to be focused at that specific audience and what they are looking for. Make sure the content is appealing to he audience and make a content they can identify with.
“A huge mistake that companies make is that they target the wrong age demographic on Snapchat. By targeting the correct user age range, companies can increase their effectiveness by reaching more potential customers. Snapchat business accounts that are directed to latter age ranges may be enticing to the owner, but the campaigns themselves simply would not be effective.”
Syed Farhan Raza
Syed Farhan Raza is a serial entrepreneur, growth hacker, and a keynote speaker. He also runs SFR Digital, a boutique growth marketing agency helping small businesses SCALE using cutting edge content marketing methodologies.
“The most important step before even setting up a business account on Snapchat is having the right PLAN. Create a laser sharp buyer’s persona. Know their pain points and problems. Brainstorm on the content types and funnel you are going to use on Snapchat to attract, engage, and convert customers on Snapchat, keeping the limitations and format of the medium under consideration.”
Gina Hutchings is the Head of Marketing Communications at WSA – The Communications Agency in Milton Keynes, UK. Gina has over 15 years’experience in marketing and specializes in digital and SEO. Gina has worked in several industries including finance, manufacturing, engineering, and the gambling and gaming sector both UK and worldwide.
“Snapchat is the media for generation Z. It is important to remember the target audience in setting up an account for business. The main demographic of users is age 13-37 years, 86% in fact. Ensure your target audience fall into this category. Will they be homeowners? Parents? Business directors?
“If your audience fit into the demographic, then you are good to go. If you are still not sure then look at the competition. What are other brands and similar companies doing? Do they have a Snapchat presence?
“I would also consider the time you can dedicate to the medium. Snapchat is a more personalized media. You can send real time video and images with personalization in the form of filters and text. This is what users generally like. How much time can your team dedicate to personalized posts?”
Nate Masterson is the CEO of Maple Holistics, a company dedicated to cruelty-free, natural, and sustainable personal care products.
“When we get a new social media tool we tend to use it in one of two ways. There are those who will post sporadically but otherwise not be active. Then there are those who will ferociously imbibe the app and figure out its ins and outs. Be the latter apps today are designed to be user-friendly, that means that figuring it out will be pretty simple. As a general rule with social media the more active you are, the more attention you’ll get. Most importantly, interact with individuals. Doing so will help humanize your brand, which will, in turn, make you easier to do business with.”
David Ambrogio is a strategist at Online Optimism, a digital marketing agency in New Orleans.
“The most important first step in setting up an effective Snapchat business account, by far, is choosing a username. Snapchat doesn’t have a profile feature unlike other social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, so your Snapchat name is the only thing you can do to distinguish your business’ account. Your username is also important because allows people to recognize and find your business and understand who you are.”
John Max Bolling
John Max is the Head of Marketing and Sales at Engine. He has worked across multiple million dollar brands as well as white labeling agencies in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. With a background in marketing and a passion for e-commerce, John is responsible for sharing Engine with the world.
“First and foremost, make sure you have identified your target audience is on Snapchat. I know in theory that sounds like a very simple thing to think about, but in practice, a lot of us will become too focused on what’s new and trying to be involved in every space when sometimes your consumers just aren’t there. Second, you need to understand where Snapchat belongs in your full funnel. Personally, we leverage influencers at the top of the funnel and then we use our own ad placements to drive clicks to the website itself. You need to find the influencers that are in front of your consumers on Snapchat and leverage their accounts to promote your brand.”
Andrew Selepak, PhD is a professor in the department of telecommunication at the University of Florida, and Director of the graduate program in social media.
“The most important consideration a company needs to make before setting up a Snapchat account is determining whether it will help them reach their customers. While it would be nice if a company had unlimited resources to dedicate to their marketing, and in particular to their social media marketing, this is not the case. So, a company must decide where to allocate their resources, and for most companies that is not Snapchat. The first issue is that Snapchat’s user base may already be decreasing as it showed a decrease in daily users from Quarter 1 in 2018 to Quarter 2, and only about 188-million now use it daily. At the same time, nearly three-fourths of Snapchat users are under the age of 34 and nearly three-fourths are female. This means that if a company’s target audience is not Millennial women, resources should be spent focusing on other social platforms.
“Snapchat is also poised for a potential public relations nightmare as a Saudi Prince invested $250 million in the company earlier this year, which may lead to negative publicity for the company after the news story of the death of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Embassy in Turkey. By contrast, Instagram, which also has Instagram Stories which are the equivalent of the ephemeral content that made Snapchat famous, has 500-million daily users, and nearly one-third of users are between the ages of 30 and 49. While Instagram users are also more likely to be female, the disparity is not as great as with Snapchat, and the user base is less than half that of Instagram. Instagram also provides better metrics for users than Snapchat, and while the number of Snapchat users is declining, the number of Instagram users is increasing. Before a company decides to start assigning resources for a Snapchat account, they have to determine if their users are even on Snapchat and if they are wasting time and money on a platform that might become the next MySpace.”
Jonathan Jeffery is a digital marketing consultant focusing on helping companies deploy and maintain tactful content marketing strategies.
“Critically, regardless of whether or not you have an existing following on other accounts, you need to set up standard operating procedures on posting, formatting, and content for Snapchat. Define the type of content, daily posting goals (frequency), tone, engagement and growth plan, and reporting. Someone needs to own this; otherwise, what I’ve seen far too often is that a company will start posting frequently on Snapchat but then slowly lose the momentum. Snapchat takes time.
“It’s also important for companies to announce why following them on Snapchat is beneficial and brings value to the prospect. Whether in-store or via email/website, motivate them through exclusive ‘behind the scenes’ access.
“Lastly, make it personal. Snapchat is an awareness channel and should be treated like it. Snapchat allows you to retain personality and brand exposure, so don’t force conversions or do the weekly posting. Keep it value-based, keep it personal, and keep it consistent.”
Avinash Chandra is the CEO of BrandLoom Consulting.
“Snapchat is a great tool for increasing brand outreach. It is especially great at engaging with young people, who are more social media savvy and more relaxed about sharing images and videos online.
“The first thing you need to do for marketing via Snapchat is set up a business account. While setting up your business account, make sure it is public. Set the “View My Story” option to “Everyone.” Have some quality content/marketing campaigns ready – because without a hip, good concept, you cannot attract customers. Promoting an attractive inaugural offer is a great start, for example.
“Then simultaneously, start promoting your Snapchat account on other social media platforms. For example, hold contests or polls, or some viral video campaign to engage more people from multiple platforms, that will convince them to visit your Snapchat account.
“The most important step though, is setting up a tracking mechanism. Snapchat does not have great analytics tools, so the brand manager must maintain a spreadsheet or something similar where he can record the number of views the account and/or posts are getting. Next, look at whether people are looking at all the posts in the campaign or just the first few. If the latter are not as popular, you may have to adjust your campaign or start a new story. Finally, look at how many screenshots or mentions your posts/accounts are getting. Since on Snapchat there are no sharing features, people tend to take screenshots of content they really like. This way you can judge how popular your post is and how effective your marketing content has been.”
Gennady Litvin is an attorney at Moshes Law, a Law Firm in New York.
“The most important step in setting up an effective Snapchat for your business would be to define the type of content you’ll post. This is extremely important because you can have to best looking profile, the most relevant hashtags, and the most SEO optimized profile page ever, but if your content strategy sucks you won’t get far. Focus on what will benefit your market. Focus on what WILL benefit your market not what you THINK will benefit them. Watch the content your target market is already happily consuming that’s related to your industry and copy what works.”
Michael Tawiah is a Senior Emerging Paid Media Executive at MVF Global, one of the UK’s leading customer generation firms, and runs campaigns through Snapchat across a wide range of sectors.
“The most important first step when setting up an effective Snapchat for business account is to know what your purpose on the platform is. User behavior on Snapchat varies from the likes of Facebook and Instagram, and even within the channel as users alternate between the ‘Friends’ and ‘Discovery’ sections. Think about the actions you want users to take, as this will dictate where you choose to target them on the platform, and will make sure you use the best creative options to get the most out of your campaign.
“In the friends feed, you’ll want to engage the user really quickly with a clear call to action and encouraging an action to be taken within the first two seconds of the snap. In the discovery feed you have the option to create a ‘story’ which is a multi-paneled ad. You can use this opportunity to create more of a narrative to inform the user about what you’re offering, and utilize features like swiping up to a long-form video or to a web-page to help develop intent.”
Snapchat can be a highly useful marketing channel for businesses when it’s a fit with your target audience. Follow these expert tips to hit the ground running on the popular social media app, and be sure to add a Snapchat follow button to your site!