What is Snapchat?
“Swipe to use our Snapchat filter!” is the new norm for client events and marketing/advertising initiatives supported by geographic locations. Snapchat has flown to the top of the social media hierarchy to reach users in a cost-effective way, especially within the Millennial and Generation Z demographic.
For those who don’t know, Snapchat is an image messaging and multimedia mobile application created in 2011 by Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy, and Reggie Brown, former students at Stanford University. The original concept of Snapchat was that pictures and messages are only available for a short time before they become inaccessible.
Over the last few years, Snapchat has evolved into a mix of private messaging and public content, including brand networks, publications, live events such as sports and music and the latest “find my friends” mapping feature.
How Do PR Professionals Utilize Snapchat?
Companies and brands create their own Snapchat accounts to push their content beyond the typical social media outlets. Geo-filter creation and account takeovers are major ways to boost brand or event engagement. Here at Castle, we’ve put the power of Snapchat to work in partnership with local accounts with a major following! These lifestyle/news accounts allow companies and brands to “take over” their Snapchat for periods of time to promote their cause or event. The takeover window allows you to log in, snap, and connect with thousands of followers beyond your general audience.
How Castle Amplifies with Snapchat
One of Castle’s restaurant clients hosted an event with a local brewery. In addition to Castle manning traditional social media outlets during the event, incorporating a Snapchat takeover offered the opportunity to reach an additional 3K followers in a 2 hour window. A custom geo-filter put the event “on the map” and immediately engaged people at the event plus those following along at home.
A nonprofit fundraising event was another great Snapchat opportunity for a takeover, bringing viewers on the journey of the client’s annual fundraising walk and family fun day. Events with exciting visual elements with lots of activity to capture are the best material for a successful Snapchat story. Snapchat “stories” literally tell a story, so it’s important to engage the audience throughout the viewing process or they will be quick to skip through your messaging. Using Snapchat filters, text, stickers and geotags maximizes the opportunity to catch viewer attention and make them feel like they are there, even if they aren’t.
Even Castle corporate clients can benefit from Snapchat takeovers. A community event with a professional athlete offered the perfect opportunity to maximize photo opportunities to build an interactive “story.” Snapchat allows users to insert text to narrate what the viewer is seeing to better navigate the content. We relied on this to keep the event in sequence and give context to what was going on.
Snapchat Best Practices
- Create a visually appealing “story” with still photos, text, geo-filters and video components to maximize your information sharing ability.
- Vary your posts to keep the viewers engaged.
- Time your story well; long posts will disengage the viewer.
- Consider Snapchat a “behind the scenes” view of your brand or event. Show viewers a unique perspective to become a highly followed/engaged account.
- Unlike other social media channels that require daily/hourly posts, Snapchat can be used on an as-needed basis. Users determine how often and what to post. For some, this means a post every few hours, or this could mean Snapchat is designated solely for events or special announcements.
- Tag your brand, show logos and provide relevant information to stay connected long after your story ends.