How Local Businesses Can Use Snapchat to Grow

use snapchat to grow business They are between the ages of 18 and 34. They have tons of talent, travel in packs and tend not to trust mainstream media and traditional advertising. They're millennials, and your local business isn't likely to grow without them. The question is how to connect with them, convince them to give your brand or business a look and then convert them into customers. The answer is Snapchat.

Snap what?

If you haven't heard about Snapchat or don't use it, don't worry, it probably means that you are over the age of 34. It is, after all, a young person's social media platform, which is exactly why you need to be aware of it. Snapchat is a mobile app that lets users share videos and pictures that self-destruct a few seconds after they've been viewed. According to a survey of Snapchat users conducted by the University of Washington, people most commonly use the app to share pictures and videos of funny things, themselves, other people, what they're doing, where they are and what they're eating. They send the photo or video to their friends and ... poof ... a few seconds later, the content is gone. If you think that sending self-destructing marketing messages to millennials sounds counter-intuitive, think again. Today's most sought-after marketing demographic--people between the ages 18 and 34--are all about Snapchat.

Who's Snapchatting?

Snapchat may have been born in the shadows of Facebook and Twitter, but it didn't stay there long. In fact, it passed Twitter in daily usage just four years after Snapchat was officially released. The app debuted in 2012 and quickly built a devoted group of followers. Today, 41 percent of all millennials (people between the ages of 18 and 34) in the United States are using Snapchat--and they're using it a lot. According to the app company itself, 150 million people use Snapchat every day to send "Snaps" and share information with friends and family, find information from around the world and watch 10 billion videos. Yes, that's "billion" with a "B." And the app's users are incredibly active, with more than 80 million of them creating "Snaps" every day. This all adds up to an awful lot of marketing opportunities for local businesses that are looking to grow.

How local businesses can use Snapchat to grow

So you already know that the coveted millennials are all over Snapchat, but did you know that the competition is probably all over it, too (or soon to be)? That's right, like all other social media platforms that have stood the test of time, Snapchat has figured out how to offer advertising opportunities to local businesses in order to make money. And it's working. Starbucks, for example, is on Snapchat and offers users an opportunity to put a fun, Starbucks-branded filter over their photos and videos. The gargantuan coffee company has also used the app to promote special offers among its fans and followers, such as the "Snap it Forward" campaign. And it's all about branding and getting the people on Snapchat to share themselves interacting with and enjoying Starbucks. People love it. You don't have to go as big as Starbucks (and probably won't be able to), but you should be on it and use it to create buzz for your business and brand.

Using Snapchat to create some buzz

It's actually pretty easy to use Snapchat to create a little buzz and help your business grow. Here are five simple things you can do: 1) Announce a "flash sale" for Snapchat followers. You've got to give people a reason to care about your Snapchat account. And a special flash sale exclusively for your Snapchat followers does just that. Having a sale that's every bit as ephemeral as the Snap that you use to announce it is a great way to build some buzz about your business. 2) Go with an on-demand geo-filter. It's actually pretty easy to create a Snapchat filter, and the app's on-demand geo-filter is the perfect way to build excitement about your events. You can learn more about creating your very own geo-filter here--and then promote the on-demand filter feature to promote your next big event. 3) Give them an inside look. Everyone wants exclusive access. It's the reason the acronym "VIP" exists. Well now you can use Snapchat to make your followers feel like very important people by giving them quick little looks at the inner-workings of your business. And don't worry about making your video a polished product - it won't last long anyway. 4) Engage 'em with a question. Snapchat is perhaps the perfect product for engaging with your audience. All you have to do is ask them a question, solicit an opinion or makes them wonder what it is you're doing. They'll respond. And when they do, you've brought them further into your brand. 5) Give it up. There's a good chance one of your millennial employees has a Snapchat account and a ton of connections. To really make an impact, give your account up to that employee for a day and let him or her build your brand for you.

Akaash Prasad

Akaash Prasad is a UC Irvine alumnus who earned his bachelor's degree in Economics. As Digital Account Manager at GMR Web Team, he is responsible for a wide array of marketing activities from strategy development to implementation. In his free time, Akaash enjoys playing basketball, practicing photography, and reading.

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