How To Use Snapchat For Marketing

Can a mobile app skyrocket your website traffic, boost sales, engage your audience and transform your business success?

Well, if you’re talking about Snapchat, the answer is “Yes, very likely!”

What is Snapchat?

It’s a smartphone app you can use to share pictures (called a ‘snap’) or very short video clips that last for just a few seconds (called a ‘story’) with your friends. And they only stay online for a day, then they’re gone forever.

That’s right.

Once gone, these messages, pictures and recordings can never be seen again!

Snapchat isn’t new. It launched in late 2011 but has only gained traction more recently. In May 2017, around 255 million people used Snapchat every month. But more amazing is the fact that by early 2018, 178 million of these users are active on Snapchat DAILY.

  • They spend an average of 30 minutes on the app every day.
  • Post 400 million messages using it.
  • And they check it 25 or more times in any 24-hour period.

That kind of engagement is INSANE! It’s far greater than any other social media network, which is what makes Snapchat attractive to marketers and business owners as a referral engine for website traffic.

So Why is Snapchat Special?

Three good reasons:

1. Number of Users
2. Degree of Engagement
3. Uniqueness

What’s unique about Snapchat and its users?

Just this. The images and videos that Snapchat users share on the app have a limited lifespan.

You can add text, emoticons, special effects and filters to your photo or 10-second video, and send them to only specific recipients or make them broadly visible to all users on the network.

But when the content is viewed and the timer is up, your media vanishes. It’s wiped from Snapchat’s servers. Gone forever!

Why do that?

Paradoxical as it sounds, this makes the ‘snaps’ seem more important and special, urgent and relevant – because you won’t get another chance to view it. It’s why millions of users actively engage with the app – and your content on it – many times every day.

How Can ‘Vanishing Content’ Have Business Value?

There’s an interesting twist to the Snapchat tale. It’s called a ‘story’. When you post a ‘snap’ to your ‘story’, it can be viewed an unlimited number of times – for the next 24 hours.

And smart businesses are leveraging this functionality of Snapchat to attract website traffic, make more sales, and enhance their brand. We’ll discuss three ways to do this:

1. Special Offers
2. Go Behind the Scenes
3. Be Personal

Special Offers

Because they expire automatically after 24 hours, Snapchat stories are a great way to make time-limited deals or flash sales.

You can announce exclusive offers, giveaways and discounts that are only available to those who follow you on Snapchat.

Mention this on your other social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, to lure existing followers into what is clearly a more engaging channel. At the same time, you’ll quickly seed your Snapchat network if you’re just starting out.

Special offers work extremely well on Snapchat.

  • 65% of college students surveyed were more likely to buy if they received a coupon or special deal. One restaurant recently gave away a $50 gift card to winners of a Snapchat competition – and it boosted their following by 20%.
  • Run a contest for customers who watch your Snapchat story, in which you ask followers to like, share, comment, or visit your website to win a prize. This increases website traffic while also raising brand awareness.
  • Or you could try what a gelato chain did. They sent discount codes via Snapchat (for 25% off) to any of their followers who visited their store, took a selfie, and sent snaps showing them eating gelato. Happy customers could redeem the coupon at the cashier’s desk.

With some creative tweaks, you can improve followers’ engagement with your brand, by asking them to

  • watch your entire Snapchat story
  • send you a video comment in response
  • take a photo with your product, or in your store
  • visit your website to redeem a coupon


Snapchat giveaways not only energize and excite your present following, they can also bring in many new interested users. You could rope in friends and influencers to promote your giveaway to their followers.

The gift or prize you offer in a giveaway doesn’t have to be very flashy or expensive. Even a $100 bundle of relevant items of interest to your followers can work wonderfully well as a prize on Snapchat.

  • A blog about reading might offer a book.
  • An SEO website could throw in a free link building package.
  • A cosmetics vendor can gift a small makeup kit.

Whatever attracts your audience and is perceived as valuable will work.

Create a giveaway directly on Snapchat and then spread word about it across other social channels.

Using a third-party service like Gleam to host your giveaway is a simple way to make sure that all entries to your giveaway will follow you on Snapchat. These services also ensure compliance with your rules, and give you greater reach on outside platforms so that you can attract a larger group of prospects to your event.

It’s most effective when entrants are required to do something, like

  • answer a trivia question or
  • submit a caption for a photograph or
  • suggest a hashtag

Done well, Snapchat giveaways and special offers can draw a good number of followers into your circle and turn many of them into website visitors, email list subscribers and eventually, customers.

Go Behind The Scenes

Snapchat is excellent for sharing exclusive content with your customers, things that they won’t see on your other social media platforms. The sense of exclusivity gives them a reason to follow your Snapchat account and makes them feel more engaged with your brand and business.

To reinforce this, remind your followers that this is content which can’t be found on any of the other channels like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. It makes your Snapchat content sound more special.

  • Fashion designers might share photos of their new collection on Snapchat before they even make it to the runway.
  • Product creators could offer sneak peek preview snaps or ‘how we did it’ video clips on Snapchat for their upcoming new product launches.
  • Sports teams might show their players warming up before a big game – and give fans a chance to send favorite stars a message.
  • For customers who have already bought your latest product, you could share a guide on how to use it, or offer tips to get greater value from it.

The exclusive footage makes your followers feel special, gives them a sense of being a part of something bigger, and makes them part of an inner circle. And then, you can seal the deal by inviting them to visit your website and take some action to show that they watched the snap, like:

  • comment on your blog post
  • share your content with their friends
  • type in a code to claim a gift or bonus

Be Personal

In a cluttered, crowded online universe, your authenticity is like a shining beacon that shows your brand and business in good light. Being personal, transparent and ‘real’ on Snapchat can enhance this and make your business stronger and more profitable.

Blog content is usually carefully planned and scripted. Instagram pictures are often handpicked and curated to reflect your best presentation. Unedited Snapchat clips, on the other hand, are more raw and personal. They work at revealing a tiny part of the person behind the brand name.

You might do something as simple as sharing pictures from your life (drinking coffee, playing with pets, where you work). Or you may get a little more fancy, creating video clips and stories that are connected in some way to your recent blog post or product launch or latest content.

As always, invite your followers to snap you a comment, or drop by your blog to share it there.

You can

  • partner with the top influencers in your industry to boost your brand, or
  • co-create interesting content with them for your audience, or
  • interview experts and celebrities in your niche, or
  • even let a loyal follower ‘run’ your Snapchat for a day!

These creative ways to personalize your brand will get people talking, build engagement with your business and draw a flood of new website traffic.

Snapchat is a fantastic way to drive clients and fresh leads to your website. If you aren’t already using Snapchat as a part of your marketing strategy, it’s time to get started. This popular mobile app offers businesses a never-before opportunity to reach out directly to potential customers, engage with them personally, earn their trust and ultimately generate more sales.

The sense of urgency, immediacy and exclusivity that Snapchat offers make it ideal to run marketing campaigns which

  • offer a glimpse behind the curtain of your company
  • run special offers, giveaways and discounts
  • provide sneak-peek previews of upcoming launches
  • share your participation at events, shows and conferences

… and much more

Snapchat lets you personalize any brand, adopting a casual, fun style that people can relate to easily. By creatively deploying your marketing campaigns through Snapchat stories, you’ll set your brand apart and attract more people who are fascinated by the real you that shines through.


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