How to use Snapchat to advertise your business

Snapchat on a phone

How to use Snapchat to advertise your business

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Since its inception in 2011, Snapchat has become one of the biggest social media platforms in the market, boasting a whopping 218 million daily active users worldwide.

Although the likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter continue to see more users each month, Snapchat offers a fresh marketing angle for small businesses looking to up their customer base - particularly if their target audience is younger generations of consumers.

Sound good? In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on Snapchat including the benefits it can offer and how you can use the platform to get your hands on them - let’s get to it. 

The benefits of Snapchat

Before we get stuck in it’s worth noting that Snapchat might not be the perfect platform for every business. It’ll depend on what you’re hoping to achieve with your social media marketing, and more importantly who you’re trying to attract.

If the following benefits sound right up your street though, chances are Snapchat could be a useful addition to your armoury.

1. Connect with younger consumers

The majority of Snapchat users, 82% in fact, are aged 34 or under, so if you’re looking to get down with the kids and reach Gen Z and millennial shoppers, Snapchat is the place to be.

Don’t be fooled into thinking you can reach these same consumers across other social platforms either, over a third of them can’t be found on Instagram, for example.

Engaging with younger audiences is increasingly important for businesses hoping to futureproof their nest egg, and Snapchat users spend on average 30 minutes engaging with the platform daily. 

2. Connect users with your business

A common misconception when it comes to Snapchat is that it’s purely a social platform, only used to connect with peers - wrong.

The ‘Discover’ tab allows users to find new businesses alongside interacting with their pals, and as many as 60% of Snapchat users are likely to make an impulse purchase while using the app.

Within Discover, Snapchatters will find content created by brands, and the stats show users are spending 35% more time in this section of the app each day. 

3. Showcase the fun side of your business

The whole purpose of Snapchat is to be playful and fun - you’ve no doubt seen the filters and lenses in action before. Modern consumers love to see the personal side of a business, in fact, it can play a big role in buying decisions. 

For businesses on the site, the aim of the game is to demonstrate authenticity not perfection, the platform has even coined itself the app for #realfriends. 

Besides the filters and lenses, Snapchat has recently launched cameos and 3D snaps as fresh ways for users and businesses alike to express their personality.

Sold? We’ll run through a super quick guide to setting up your Snapchat business account before we get to the good stuff - how to market and reap the rewards. 

Setting up a Snapchat business account

First things first - you need a business account - a standard user account is not going to cut the mustard for businesses of any size (even if you’re a one-man-band).

With a business account, you’ll get your hands on heaps more features to support your marketing efforts, including:

  • Advertising via Ads Manager
  • Age-targeting, and 
  • Location targeting

To create a business account you’ll first need to set up a Snapchat account if you don’t have one already. 

Next head to Ads Manager and pop your business details in, including your legal name, where you’ll be doing business, and in which currency. 

Voila, a business account will automatically be set up for you. 

Snapchat marketing tips for business

1. Spread the word

The more people who see your Snapchat content, the more effective it’s going to be, so the first thing you need to do is let your audience know you can now be found on Snapchat. 

Already have a loyal follower-base on other social sites? Tell them you’re on Snapchat.

Top tip: find your ‘add me’ URL by heading to Settings > Username. It’ll follow the format snapchat/add/yourusername. Once you’ve found it, share it. 

Remember, you’re not limited to social media when it comes to spreading the word, but you can use your website, emails, or printed materials too. 

2. Create a Snapcode

Snapcodes are akin to a QR code whereby users can scan the code with their smartphone or tablet and find your account in seconds. 

Getting your hands on your unique Snapcode is a doddle, simply:

  • Head to Settings within your business account. 
  • Click on Snapcodes from the dropdown menu.
  • Opt for ‘my Snapcodes’ to discover yours.

Just as with your URL, once you’ve got your Snapcode be sure to add it to your other feeds, website, and marketing materials. 

3. Include Snapchat in your social media strategy

As with all forms of marketing, it’s super important you have a clear plan of action for what you’ll do and what you hope to achieve - Snapchat is no different.

Set out your goals and objectives for using the platform, and use these to inform your content.

If you’re unsure where to start scope out what your competitors are up to on the platform to get your creative juices flowing. 

Top tip: if you don’t yet have a social media strategy, check out our tell-all guide to get the ball rolling. 

1. Measure your success

Metrics are mission-critical when it comes to social media marketing - they’ll show you tonnes of useful information like how many people are viewing your content, their demographics, what’s doing well, and which elements need work. 

Snapchat offers business account access to Snapchat Insights, their built-in analytics tool, so be sure to make use of the valuable information on offer.

2. Engage and maintain your presence

Snapchat works very differently than the other social media giants in that there’s a distinct separation between content from businesses and peers. 

This means when a user is on the app, they won’t inadvertently see your content while browsing their friends’ hilarious posts and makes it mega important you do what you can to keep them engaged with your business. 

Here are our top tips for nailing it:

  • Follow other accounts
  • View their posts and stories (they’ll see that you have)
  • View any content sent your way
  • Respond! 
  • Collaborate with others
  • Post regularly.

The ideal time to post on Snapchat will vary depending on your target audience, but Snapchat Insights should show you at what time your content performs best.

Depending on the resources you’ve got available you might consider posting multiple times per day to up engagement, as studies show 80% of Snapchat users view content 4-5 hours after it’s been posted. Posting regularly will provide a steady stream. 

3. Create great content

Simple, right? Do what you can to make your content stand out from the crowd, and the features on offer can help. For example, you might:

  • Add background music
  • Draw or annotate over snaps
  • Add lenses and filters
  • Collate multiple snaps to tell a story
  • Include polls in your posts. 

Besides the features, try and incorporate some user-generated content where possible - younger generations love it! Ask your followers to send you images for you to share to your account, it’ll foster feelings of engagement, loyalty, and belonging.

A great way to encourage this two-way interaction is by running a competition or contest - e.g. entry in exchange for an image.

4. Keep up with releases

Snapchat is constantly releasing new features for you to get your teeth into, so stay abreast of the latest updates and offer your followers the freshest content you can.

Recent releases include Bitmoji (where users can create their own avatars) and Snaps in 3D (bringing snaps to life) - both of which can be used to create the aforementioned great content. 

Good to know: Snapchat recently launched Swipe Up to Call and Swipe Up to Text in the US. They do exactly what they say on the tin and allow users to seamlessly contact a business while engaging with their content. Keep your eyes peeled for the UK release.  

5. Advertise

There are several ad formats available for business accounts on Snapchat:

  • Story ads
  • Snap ads
  • Collection ads, and 
  • Dynamic ads.

Whether or not you go down this route will depend on your business’ budget for paid advertising as well as how soon you want to see results. For quick wins, paid for ads on Snapchat could up awareness of your business as well as website visits and sales.

If you do go down this route, be sure to make use of the filters available for reaching specific audiences based on age, interests, and interactions with your business to ensure maximum success.

Good to know: Snapchat offers a ‘lookalike audience’ filter which allows you to target your ad at audiences who may be interested in your offering based on their similarity to your existing follower-base. 

Happy snapping! We hope this guide helps you conquer Snapchat and reap the rewards for your small business. For heaps more useful guides just like this one, head to our blog. 

Bryony Pearce

Bryony Pearce


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