Over the past five years it’s become one of the most popular social media apps among Millennials yet surprisingly it remains one of the most underutilized by businesses. Whenever our Kingston Webworks team asks a business owner what social media platforms they use, we often hear: Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Whatever the reason small businesses have been avoiding Snapchat, it’s time for a change. By introducing Snapchat into your social media marketing strategy, you can begin to build a following, share your story and why you’re different, and ultimately get a leg up on your competition. If you’re primarily a B2C business, Snapchat could be the tool that takes your business to the next level.

At Kingston Webworks we understand social media marketing and preach our philosophy to our clients. It’s pretty simple, whatever social media channel your audience is interacting with each other on, your business needs to be on it.

Why Should Small Businesses Be On Snapchat?

Have you ever wondered how everyday people become famous on social media? It’s usually because they were some of the earliest adopters of it. Over time they’ve built a following and gotten better at creating content and engaging their fans.

While more and more multinational companies have started using Snapchat, many small businesses continue to avoid it. You don’t want to be the last one to the party so now is the time to get started before every other small business in the area has jumped on the bandwagon. If we’ve learned anything it’s that people try to replicate success. Before small businesses were on Facebook, companies like Coke and Apple were. When business owners see larger companies having success with something, they copy it. Plain and simple. Why do think a McDonald’s always pops up first and soon after a Burger King or Wendy’s is built beside it?

If you don’t get on Snapchat soon, your competitors will, and they’re going to get the followers you could have if you had been more proactive.

How Can Small Business’s Use Snapchat Effectively

Show What Happens Behind-The-Scenes

If there’s one thing people love, it’s learning about something before anyone else. By using Snapchat’s story feature you can provide a glimpse of your newest product, show how it’s made, or what your staff is doing to improve the service at your store.

By showing behind-the-scenes of your business, you create brand transparency and show people the real-time process of how they get the products they love. Behind-the-scenes also gives you a chance to show off your company culture and the personality of your employees customers might not otherwise see.

Use Geofilters To Get People Engaged

A geofilter is a great low-cost way to essentially have consumers advertise for you. With some creative custom design work, you can create a custom geofilter and have it appear for a specific length of time.

All you have to do is design the geofilter, submit it to Snapchat, set you geofence for the area you want it available in, select how long it will be available, and finally pay a fee. In Kingston there are events on all summer, why not select an area where you know people are going to be taking photos and pay to have your custom geofilter featured there. Check out the picture below, for less than $100 you can have a business geofilter available throughout the heart of downtown Kingston for 72 hours straight.

Photo C/O Snapchat

 Varsity properties are one such company that has utilized this approach successfully in the past. During St. Patrick’s Day 2016 they created a custom geofilter for people to use that showcased their logo. While pretty much everyone used it because it said St Patrick’s Day, thousands of people were still shown the Varisty Properties logo.

C/O Places4Students.com

According to Places4Students, the geofilter was used a total of 651 times and reached an estimated 43,000 impressions. For such a low cost, it surprising that more businesses haven’t begun using this around Kingston to get people engaged.

Influencer Takeovers

Much like pretty much every other social media platform has influencers, Snapchat does too. By partnering with social media influencers, you can have them expose your company or product to their followers. There are two main ways you can leverage social influencers.

The first way is to have them promote their products to their followers. This might come in a series of posts where they talk about your product or can be seen using it.

The second way is through an account takeover. This is when you give them access to your account for a day or week and have them post on it. Before and during the takeover, the influencer will post on their own account telling everyone to go follow your account because they will be posting on it for the day. The goal is to have people from your audience connect with your account and help build brand awareness and a following for you.

For example, if you own a clothing store downtown, consider partnering with a local fashion blogger like closettcandyy.com. By allowing her to take over your Snapchat account, she could tell her audience that she’s going to be showing a day in the life or her favourite places to go downtown on the weekend to find deals. If her fans want to check it out, they’re going to have to add your business’ Snapchat account. If you own a health store, maybe a local athlete is who you need. Just make sure that the influencer is someone who would actually use your product or service.

It should be noted that whichever route you take with an influencer; it won’t be free. Whether it’s in the form of money, free products, or free services you’re going to have to give them something of value if they’re going to help you.

Get It Before Its Gone

One of the great things about Snapchat is that when you post a picture to your story, it goes away after 24 hours. This is something you can use to your advantage to create a sense of urgency, engage users, and get them to check back constantly for your snaps.

My suggestion is offering a daily deal on your story. By posting an image that offers a code or special deal that isn’t advertised anywhere else, the people who follow your account and engage with it will be rewarded.

The deal doesn’t have to be anything major either, something as simple as 10% off when you spend X amount of dollars on something or 20% off all drinks between 1-5 are two examples of simple promotions you can run for free on your Snapchat account. By offering a daily deal, users will have to check your account every day if they want to get in on the rewards because once the snap disappears, so does the deal.

Final Thoughts

In today’s digital age, if you’re not up to date with the latest technology and social trends, Millennials are going to consider your business stale and old rather than fresh and young. Businesses need to adapt to the times and keep themselves current with the latest trends if they want to succeed. If you fail to take part in the digital age, it’s unfortunate but your business isn’t going to last. However, if you start taking advantage of the power of social media, you can see a great ROI through an increase in customers, sales, and profits.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to use Snapchat effectively for small business or any of our other proven social media marketing strategies, our Kingston Webworks team would be happy to meet with you. Contact us today to book a free 30-minute consultation.