4 Ways Brands Could Market on SnapChat

If you’re even slightly aware of Internet and smart phone app trends, you’ve probably heard of SnapChat. This social media app has gained quite a reputation for only being about two years old. So what is SnapChat?

The app allows you to send pictures and short videos to your friends. You can even draw a doodle or write a caption on your image. The real perk of SnapChat? Your recipient can only see the image for a few seconds before it disappears. Then it is lost to them forever.

As with any popular social media platform, brands have already jumped on. Taco Bell, the New Orleans Saints, Acura, and GrubHub have all jumped on the bandwagon. But how can a brand garner a following on an app meant mainly to transfer frivolous pictures between friends?

The app actually gives you the ability to post to your “story.” This means that anyone on your friends list can see your Snap. Pictures and videos can be viewed an endless amount of times within 24 hours, though the image still only appears for 10 seconds at a time. Instead of sending out messages to individual users, it’s possible to allow your entire following to see your creation.

Here are a few different ways that brands are using SnapChat right now:

  1. To share special promotions – Offer your customers a special discount or coupon code. They can take a screenshot of your Snap and bring it to your location, or enter a code online.
  2. To share exclusive content – Similar to Instagram, you can share behind-the-scenes videos or pictures of your latest production. The clothing brand Rebecca Minkoff debuted their entire Spring 2014 collection minutes before they hit the runway during the New York Fashion Week.
  3. To make a big announcement – Taco Bell SnapChat followers were the first to hear about the newest item on the menu: the Beefy Crunch Burrito.
  4. To ask trivia questions or host contests – Send out a picture of an item, place, person, etc. that relates to your business. Followers should Snap back the answer and receive a prize (possibly a coupon code …).

SnapChat is still uncharted territory for many brands. Unfortunately, there is no function for hashtags like there are on Instagram and Vine. Instead, brands have to rely on their current fans to create a following, or publicize their accounts on other social media outlets (such as Twitter). Because of this, SnapChat is a great way to keep and reward current customers – never a bad marketing goal.

SnapChat also stands out as far as social media goes. The app has already attracted the attention of Facebook and Google, who offered its creator, Evan Spiegal, $3 and $4 billion respectively; Spiegal spurned them both. So far, the creator is resistant to following the path tread by other social media giants, and instead wants to remain authentic. We’ll have to watch and see what this means for brands trying to use SnapChat for marketing purposes.

Do you use SnapChat? Would you follow a brand’s SnapChat account? Tell us all about it in the comments!


Ang, Sarah. “8 Brands Rocking Snapchat.” http://mashable.com/2013/12/05/snapchat-brands/#_. (23 Jan. 2014).

Heine, Christopher. “5 Great Snapchat Ideas for Big Brands.” http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/5-great-snapchat-ideas-big-brands-154134. (23 Jan. 2014).