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Snapchat for Business 101: What, When, Why & How

Of all the current successful, widely-used social media platforms, Snapchat is probably one of the most confusing for non-users. Ironically, it’s also one of the simplest platforms to use. But before we get started, some of you might be wondering…

WHAT is Snapchat?

It’s a mobile-only app used to share pictures or a 10-second video. After a certain amount of time, the pictures/videos disappear. That’s it.

WHY use Snapchat?

Because it’s so simple, you might think it’s a waste of time to include Snapchat in your digital marketing. But it all depends on your business and who you’re trying to reach. Let’s take a look at some numbers:

  • Snapchat users: 100 million daily active users
  • Percentage of U.S. millennial internet users that access Snapchat regularly: 30%
  • Snapchat mobile app user growth from December 2013 to May 2014: 67%
  • Average amount of time spent on Snapchat daily by age range
    • 18-29: 20 minutes per day
    • 30-44: 9 minutes per day
    • 45-60: 13.6 minutes per day
    • 60+: 6 minutes per day

Are you trying to grab the attention of that elusive millennial generation? You might want to consider using Snapchat. However, like all social media platforms, you have to determine if it’s right for you and your business.

At a recent SMCKC breakfast, Luke Wade, founder and CEO of KC Crew Sports, discussed his experience and expertise using Snapchat to grow his local recreation sports group into the successful organization it is today. He also highlighted how he and his team use the app to promote their major events like the End of the World Pub Crawl (zombie pub crawl…what? It’s a thing) and the Downtown Open (chipping golf balls around downtown Kansas City).

HOW do I use Snapchat?

  1. Download the app
  2. Open the app and set up an account
  3. Tell your customers about your account and how to find you
  4. Take pictures and video of your surroundings or yourself (turn the camera around to selfie mode)
  5. Share with specific followers or add to your “story” and all of your followers will see it for the next 24 hours

At the breakfast, Wade first covered the pros and cons of using Snapchat for a brand or business.

Snapchat Negatives

  • Disappearing messages
  • Only 10 seconds to tell a story
  • No outgoing links
  • Hard to get new followers
  • Poor analytics that disappear

Snapchat Positives

  • It’s real
  • Intimate/one-on-one communication
  • Disappearing messages
  • Privacy/not invasive
  • It’s where the millennials are

Changing the way you approach Snapchat will remove a lot of the negatives. For example, you don’t actually want to have outgoing links on your snaps or your stories, because you want them to be real, one-to-one communication. Brands often use it to give their followers a less polished, behind-the-scenes look at their brand or business. With content like that, you don’t want a strategically scripted message with a link to your website.

As for getting new followers, it is true that it might be difficult to get new followers to your Snapchat profile right away. You can’t pay $20 to promote your page like you do on Facebook. Getting new Snapchat followers requires cross-promotion at first. You can promote your snapcode on other channels.

KC CREW SNAPCODEKC Crew Snapcode Users save or take a picture/screenshot of this code and then scan it
in the Snapchat app to find your profile and follow you.

You can also get new followers by sharing your pictures and your stories on your other social media channels. While pictures, videos and your stories eventually disappear from the Snapchat app, you can save them to your phone before they do. Show people what they’re missing by not following you. FOMO is real!

WHEN should I use Snapchat?

This is the most important question for brands and businesses to consider. You may want to attract more millennials to your business but does that mean you should use Snapchat? Maybe, maybe not. You shouldn’t jump on the Snapchat bandwagon if it doesn’t make sense for your brand or business.

If you can answer yes to these questions, you might consider using Snapchat in your social media marketing plan:

  • Do we have an employee (or employees) on site who will be able to maintain this account for us? (You cannot outsource this to somebody who isn’t physically at your business’ location(s) on a regular basis).
  • Are we interested in reaching a younger consumer base, like the millennial generation currently in their 20s and 30s?
  • Do we regularly have fun events where we can share moments in our snaps and stories?
  • Do we have interesting behind-the-scenes stories to share that can be summed up with a few pictures or a 10-second video?
  • Do we have entertaining or engaging people who can be the subject of these pictures and videos?

Again, if you can’t answer yes to the majority of these questions, Snapchat probably isn’t for you. But if you did answer yes to most of them, well…start snapping!


Why do I work at AWG? “I like working for a company that supports local, often times family-owned, businesses in everything they do in order to help them succeed and stay competitive. It’s great to interact with the stores on a daily basis and learn about their story and the communities they serve.” -Melanie